Grantham Town lose again but are safe from relegation
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
Gainsborough Trinity 2
Grantham Town suffered their second 2-0 defeat of the weekend on Monday, following their loss at Scarborough Athletic on Saturday.
Despite the Gingerbreads not picking up any points, they are safe from the drop as Mickleover Sports lost to Basford United and remain four points below them, with only three points apiece left to play for.
Gainsborough are still dangling off the play-off berths and brought a healthy travelling contingent to The Meres, such is their proximity to the end-of-season shoot-outs, swelling the gate to a season's best.
On a very warm day but with a strong wind across the pitch, the game got off to a fast and furious start with end-to-end action, the pace never really relenting despite the heat.
Grantham's first knock of the day was to Jack McGovern's head in the sixth minute following a clash, and he left the pitch with a large bump evident even from the top of the main stand, whilst Danny Brooks came on as replacement.
And Town's first chance came through Brooks, volleying over in the 10th minute following a long Connor Bartle throw-in.
Three minutes later, Grantham skipper Tom Ward headed another long throw over the bar.
Trinity's first real opportunity came when the skilful Alex Byrne finished off an impressive routine of defensive evasion with a bicycle kick that home goalkeeper Sam Andrew did well to spot early, especially with a Gainsborough attacker diving across his field of vision whilst attempting to connect with the ball first.
The Gingerbreads next came under pressure from a Byrne corner kick in the 25th minute but, somehow, the ball was repelled off the goal line.
Gainsborough were almost gifted a goal five minutes later after a defensive gaff, but Obaro Edobar and Andrew were able to recover the situation as Town fans held their breath.
That man Byrne again had a decent half-volley in the 38th minute, but once more Andrew had it well covered.
Trinity were certainly making the Gingerbreads earn their keep and the visitors finally went ahead through Ross Hannah from the penalty spot in the 44th minute, following an Adam Smith hand ball.
Supporters were barely back in their seats when the visitors doubled their lead in the opening seconds of the second half, a quick attack from kick-off ending with Byrne slotting home past Andrew and a dazed Grantham defence.
Both sides continued to have half-chances as the game swung from end to end.
Sam Grouse headed wide for Town in the 53rd minute and substitute Jordan Adebayo-Smith scuffed his shot five minutes later, with Jamie Jackson just unable to get a touch to finish it off.
Adebayo-Smith and Chris Dawson combined well for Grantham in the 71st minute, but the latter, whilst just feet from goal, was unable to get a shot off.
Trinity were back on the attack two minutes later, but Nathan Stainfield could only head Hannah's corner kick wide at the far post.
Andrew got a one glove punch to a ball to deny Hannah a sniff in the 80th minute whilst, at the other end, Grouse got a decent header to sub Luke Hogg's ball, but visiting keeper Joe Green gathered safely at the far post.
The Gingerbreads were awarded a free kick in the 84th minute, taken brilliantly by Dawson who curled in towards goal at the near post, forcing a diving save out of Green.
Two minutes later, Brooks' drive from just inside the 18-yard box went over, whilst Michael Tweed sent his 89th minute effort wide of the target.
Grantham keeper Andrew did well to catch Byrne's 90th minute cross-cum-shot high above his head on the goal line.
The last real action came in added time, with Brooks tripping Ashley Worsfold just outside the box. Alex Simmons whipped in a delightful free kick, only matched by Andrew tipping the dipping ball just over the bar.
Grantham Town: Andrew, Smith, Bartle, Edobar, Ward, Tweed, Dawson, McGovern (Brooks 7), Jackson (Hogg 62), Francis (Adebayo-Smith 53), Grouse. Subs not used: Payne, Briers. Att: 422.