Ely City 3rd 1
After a two week snow-enforced break, Grantham travelled to Ely City, keen to do the double after a 4-2 win at home that also sidelined captain Oli Phillips with a broken leg.
On a cold and blustery afternoon, Grantham took to the field, keen to blow away any cobwebs that the two week lay-off had brought and using a revised 3-5-2 formation, made a good start, controlling the play and breaking down any attack Ely City could muster.
A centre midfield trio of Mark Gray, Sam McAllister and Joe Starks gave a firm foundation for a forward moving and progressive style of play, swiftly moving the ball from left to right and back.
On the odd occasion that Ely did break forward, the defence of Benjie Groom, Graham Johnson and Mark Richardson combined to let nothing through, indeed quickly passing to the midfield to turn defence back into attack.
A concerted period of Grantham pressure led to the opening goal and a deserved 1-0 lead. David Braunton cut in with the ball, reverse hitting across the top of the Ely circle and supplying it into the path of David Nix, who finished with aplomb with a carefully placed shot.
Grantham started the second half playing into the low winter sun. Ely started brightly and threw everything they could at the visitors. Eventually the home side secured a short corner, and from it made no mistake, a firmly struck shot beating Will Leadenham, who up until this point had very little to do.
Grantham managed to wrestle back control of the game through a series of short and long corners, and another reverse stick run across the top of the circle left the Ely defence bypassed, and a well-placed ball through to Nix gave him only the keeper to beat. After a couple of quick adjustments, he calmly slotted the ball into the empty goal.
Young Starks gave an accomplished performance to earn himself the Duncan & Toplis man of the match award.