Women’s Lincs League
Grantham Ladies 1
Skegness Ladies 4
GRANTHAM Ladies restarted the season, after a four week lay-off due to the weather, with a match against Skegness at The Meres.
Grantham found it difficult from the outset of the game with their defence kept busy in the first 20 minutes.
Skegness opened the scoring owing to defensive errors from the Grantham side, and they quickly consolidated their lead as the ball was not cleared from the circle swiftly and the visitors struck the backboard once more.
The second half saw a more assertive Grantham performance and the travelling side found the gaps harder to find, but the established Skegness side was still able to press home their advantage and score another two goals.
Grantham kept their heads up and Sarah Johnson’s tenaciousness was rewarded with a goal for Grantham. Several other chances were missed by a newly determined Grantham side.
The final score was no disgrace for Grantham as Skegness are in the top third of the league table.
Grantham: G. Barrett, C. Mawer, K. Sandell, R. Belcher (c), E. Johnson, S. Johnson, B. Satterley, C. Bennet, I. Charlton, K. Barney, S. Smith, S. Latter.
Division 6 (NW)
Horncastle 2nd 1
GRANTHAM men managed to eke out a draw away at Horncastle in their first game after freezing conditions kept them out of action for two weekends.
Their time away from the game showed and all the scoring in a scrappy game was in the first half, Horncastle quickly cancelling out Alex Clark’s opening goal within the first 20 minutes.
Horncastle had a goal disallowed in the second half and both goalkeepers were kept busy but there were no further goals. While the draw saw Grantham’s impressive eight-game winning streak come to an end, they ended the day nine points clear of Horncastle at the top of the table.
Grantham started the game shakily, taking time to dust off the cobwebs, and on a slippery pitch they literally failed to gain a good foothold in the match, allowing Horncastle some early chances which were cleared by keeper Will Leadenham.
Once Grantham settled, midfielders Oli Phillips, Mark Gray, Alex Clark and David Nix supplied forwards Benjie Groom and Paul Hollingworth with good ball and they fashioned opportunities before being denied by some good Horncastle defending, with luck deserting them in front of goal.
But they got some reward, taking the lead when a short corner routine was worked to Clark and he tucked the ball home into the bottom corner.
Almost immediately, the scores were level after Horncastle broke through on the left wing, outnumbering the defence and leaving Leadenham little chance to save from close range.
Grantham hit back and Nix might have done better with three chances in quick succession to put Grantham ahead. His final shot deflected off a Horncastle stick on to the head of Hollingworth, who bravely soldiered on and continued to cause Horncastle problems throughout the match, along with Groom and Will Hill up front.
Half-time offered Grantham the chance to regroup but instead they found themselves under pressure and struggling to clear their lines with Horncastle using long-ball tactics, their familiarity with conditions and the rub of the green to good effect.
Gradually the away team got into the half but when Hollingworth and Nix were given chances, they found either the goalkeeper equal to their efforts or their accuracy not quite sharp enough.
At the other end, a series of short corners were brilliantly blocked and cleared by Phillips, with strong work from Dave Braunton, John Pennington, Andy Nix, Jem Hill and Graham Johnson at the back keeping the scores level.
After a series of free hits in and around Grantham’s circle, Horncastle thought they had taken the lead only for the umpires to eventually overrule the goal, deciding that the ball had not travelled the required distance before entering the shooting area.
It was a reprieve for Grantham and although they pushed hard to get a winning goal, there was a sense of inevitability about them being unable to break through and the game ended all square.
Pennington was named as the man of the match for his efforts in keeping Grantham in the game.
Two more wins should be enough to see Grantham earn promotion at the first attempt, and seven points from their remaining four matches would guarantee it.
Grantham: Will Leadenham, Jem Hill, Graham Johnson, Andy Nix, John Pennington, David Braunton, Oli Phillips, Mark Gray (c), Alex Clark, David Nix, Paul Hollingworth, Benjie Groom, Will Hill.