HOCKEY: Grantham taste defeat for first time this season

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Lincs East League

North West Division 6

Long Sutton 3rd 1

Grantham 0

GRANTHAM tasted defeat for the first time this season in a tight match with neither side able to grasp a firm control.

The decisive goal came early in the second half when a drag flick was powered past Grantham goalkeeper Will Leadenham from a short corner. Grantham were unable to break through and get an equaliser, although they probably deserved one for the effort they put in on another energy-sapping, hot day.

Leadenham marshalled his defence superbly throughout and made one outstanding close-range save as Grantham saw off a succession of short corners late in the second half and having weathered that heavy storm, they might have felt it was to be their day after all.

But it was not to be. From a short corner of their own late on, captain Mark Gray pushed a ball back across the circle only for it to slide wide by inches, while Long Sutton’s keeper twice denied Paul Hollingworth one-on-one, and then Ben Willey after a slick Grantham move down the right had created a good opportunity.

The game was largely played in the middle half with the midfield battle fiercely contested by both sides. Grantham’s midfield of Oli Phillips, Gray, Alex Clark and Nick Wraith put in an excellent shift to ensure that they gave as good as they got and provided forwards Hollingworth, Willey and Muzzamil Pirwani with enough ball to regularly test the Long Sutton defence.

Solid, calm defensive work from Andy Willey, Andy Nix, John Pennington and James Kerr meant that Long Sutton were mainly reduced to long balls which barely threatened Leadenham’s goal. Although useful from the set piece, they barely mustered a legal attempt from open play despite on one occasion having three players clear with only Leadenham to beat.

Grantham began to lose their cool and after a series of warnings to both teams, Nix was given a sin-bin following his reaction to what he thought was a wrong decision after a tackle by Pennington. Unbowed, Grantham stood firm and played as well with 10 men as they had with a full complement and although they finished the stronger of the two sides, they were not able to breach a solid defence and take any points home.

Pennington was named as Grantham’s man of the match with Clark in second place, while the result meanst they dropped to fourth place in what is becoming an intensely competitive league.

Grantham: Leadenham, Nix, Willey, Pennington, Kerr, Phillips, Gray (c), Clark, Wraith, Willey, Hollingworth, Pirwani.

Grantham Ladies 2

Louth Ladies 2nd 9

GRANTHAM started strongly against an experienced Louth team at the weekend. Able to field a full side with two substitutes, confidence was high for the home team.

Following some strong attacking play, striker Sasha Smith scored in the ninth minute to put Grantham in front, followed shortly after by a well-worked goal from Issy Brewin.

An inspired Louth team then stepped up a gear and scored three goals in 10 minutes to give them a 3-2 half time lead.

Grantham’s defence were put under pressure in the second half and despite showing great determination, they were overpowered by Louth who scored a further six goals before the final whistle.

Georgie Barratt was voted player of the match for her admirable defensive play.

Grantham: Barratt, Latter, Smith, Littlecott, Belcher, Charlton, Brewin, Preece, Bennett, Barney, Wade, Mower, Carr.