HOCKEY: Hollingworth scores Grantham winner

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Grantham took their fourth win of the season, beating bottom side Nomads, with Paul Hollingworth scoring the winning goal.

East League 5

North (West)

Grantham 1

Cambridge Nomads 0

Whilst the home team was aware of the lowly league position of their opponents there was also nervousness before and during this must-win game. In the end, victory was just about limply grappled from the jaws of a disappointing draw. But only just.

It could have all been so different. Within the first few minutes, after Grantham had made a blistering start, eventual Harrison Green man-of-the-match Alex Clark’s shot hit the post after captain Benjie Groom’s pullback.

Shortly after, holding midfielder Mark Gray had an almost identical chance to break the deadlock, but this time the ball passed agonisingly just the wrong side of the post. The pressure was fairly relentless but Nomads to their credit did not give up space easily and the home side soon became frustrated.

But when the away side, youthful and full of running, were able to evade the midfield of Gray and Wraith, the defence of David Braunton, Mark Richardson and Graham Johnson were able to deal with most of the attacks, and Grantham keeper Will Leadenham was only called into action four times all game.

Home strikers Rob Buxton and Paul Hollingworth were denied by solid goalkeeping early in the second half, whilst Groom was unlucky with several reverse-stick shots.

Grantham got their reward with 10 minutes to play. Good shadowing and a well-timed tackle from Clark fed possession to Groom,who played the early ball to Hollingworth. His first attempt was saved but when the ball came back to him, Grantham’s front man had another shot which went through the keeper’s legs and thundered against the backboard, much to the delight of regular captain Oli Phillips, watching from the sidelines.

Grantham: Leadenham, Braunton, Richardson, Johnson, Wraith, Gray, Clark, Groom (c), Willey, Hill, Pearce, Buxton, Hollingworth.