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Blow for Grantham Town as injury time double sees them out of the FA Trophy




Grantham Town 3 St Ives 4, report by Graham Cowell

The Gingerbreads led this FA Trophy tie twice by two goals and were in front for over 80 minutes. Despite going into added time at the end of the game in front, Grantham somehow conceded twice to crash out of this seasons’ competition.

“We looked comfortable at 3-2 and could have got a fourth or fifth," said Gingerbreads manager Martin McIntosh. “I’m not sure their equaliser should have been a penalty, but we should have shut up shop, instead, a mistake and we are out.”

Flags placed in the main stand as fans were not allowed in (43512810)
Flags placed in the main stand as fans were not allowed in (43512810)

The first half started well for Grantham. After an early St Ives corner, the Gingerbreads went on the offensive and deservedly opened the scoring after 9 minutes. Liam Hardy could have put Grantham in front two minutes earlier. He had a run at goal, but St Ives keeper Martin Conway turned his effort wide. From the corner, Ben Middleton’s effort was cleared off the post.

Michael Hollingsworth intercepted a pass in midfield to start the move the led to the opening goal. His pass picked out Hardy. The striker twisted and turned his way to the edge of the penalty area before firing in a left footed shot inside the post.

The Gingerbreads were on top of the game against a St Ives defence that looked slow out of the blocks. At the other end, the visitors were kept at arm’s length, but had a threat and claimed a penalty when Michael Harding went down under a challenge. Referee Mr Fryer on that occasion and a number of others at this stage of the game waved play on.

Michael Hollingsworth in possession (43512787)
Michael Hollingsworth in possession (43512787)

Half chances came and went with two headers from Ryan Holland crossing the six yard box but no final touch. Nathan Dyer stretched the visitors defence, but his cross was just too deep for the Gingerbreads front two.

Jan Budtz had been called into action after 17 minutes when Nathan Hicks played the ball back into the danger zone. Luke Howell rose highest and Budtz had to tip his effort away from goal for a corner.

Grantham took a two goal lead on the half hour mark when Jack Stobbs picked up a loose ball in midfield and fed Ash Worsfold.

Stobbs continued his run and Worsfold slid a return pass to him. From 35 yards out, Stobbs took advantage of Conway being off his line to roll the ball past him and into the net.

Liam Hardy netted twice (43512803)
Liam Hardy netted twice (43512803)

The two goal cushion did not last long, however. Just two minutes later, St Ives were given a penalty. Michael Gysasi turned away from the Grantham defence inside the penalty area and got a shot away that Budtz saved. Mr Fryer gave the visitors a second chance, deciding the challenge on Gysasi as he shot was a foul and awarding a penalty. St Ives skipper Mark Richards made no mistake from the spot.

Four minutes later, Grantham restored their two goal lead. Dyer played the ball in to Hardy who again ran at the St Ives defence, turning his man and hitting a right footed shot past Conway.

The visitors showed determination to get back into the game again with Budtz immediately forced to turn a curling effort from Dylan Williams round the post. Just as it looked that Grantham would take a two goal lead into half time, St Ives struck. Neat football spread play to Gysasi in acres of space on the Grantham right. He ran directly at the Gingerbreads penalty area and fired past Budtz from 15 yards out.

Ryan Holland looks to defend one v one (43512800)
Ryan Holland looks to defend one v one (43512800)

After the break, the Gingerbreads began to slow the game down as St Ives pressed forward for an equaliser. On the break, Grantham created the second half’s early chances. Dyer forced a save from Conway after 51 minutes and seven minutes later, Hardy set up Worsfold, but he was denied by a good challenge inside the penalty area.

The game became more stretched, but despite pressure from the away side, Grantham denied St Ives clear chances. But for desperate defending, Grantham could have restored a two goal lead on a number of occasions.

Stobbs crossed for Worsfold, but St Ives cleared from the far post, then Dyer drove wide and had an effort blocked as St Ives threw bodies in front of the ball. Hardy and Hollingsworth also had efforts blocked in the 64th minute as Grantham looked for their fourth goal.

Liam Hardy grabbed Town's opener before extending their lead to 3-1. (43512807)
Liam Hardy grabbed Town's opener before extending their lead to 3-1. (43512807)

Penalty clams from Grantham were turned down after 70 minutes. A big shout went up for handball as Hardy had yet another effort blocked inside the penalty area. After consulting with his assistant, Mr Fryer decided there was no offence.

St Ives piled on the pressure in the last twenty minutes as Grantham tried to hold on for the win. It looked as though they would do the job as the game went into injury time. However, when Gysasi went down again on the edge of the Grantham penalty area, Mr Fryer pointed straight to the spot despite being fifteen yards directly behind the offence. Grantham’s protestations that the foul was a yard or two outside the box were to no avail and Williams levelled scores from 12 yards.

The Gingerbreads immediately lobbed the ball forwards to try and get back in front in the remaining few minutes of injury time. They left themselves too open at the back as a result and Harding was able to play in Gysasi. His deep cross found an unmarked Edmund Hottor who put away the winning goal.

The match was played behind closed doors due to tier 3 restrictions (43512813)
The match was played behind closed doors due to tier 3 restrictions (43512813)


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