FOOTBALL: Grantham Town impress with win over Stags
Grantham Town 3
Mansfield Town 1
Grantham Town put in arguably their best performance of the pre-season so far on Tuesday night, with a dominant display that saw them shock the visiting Stags with two goals in the opening 10 minutes.
Mansfield fielded basically an under-21s side, along with some trialists but, even so, the Gingerbreads impressed with a polished, thoughtful passing game.
Once again, new signing Danny Durkin left his mark on the game and scored Grantham’s opener in the fourth minute, opening up the Stags defence and placing his shot past keeper Alex Roughton and into the far right corner of the net.
Fleet-footed Jamie McGhee was not to be outdone and tried his luck from 20-plus yards two minutes later, but Roughton was equal to his effort. Undaunted, McGhee tried a similar tactic a minute later and this time his shot rocketed into the top left corner, leaving Roughton rooted to the spot.
The first half continued to be mostly Grantham’s, with Jack Beckett also trying his luck from distance on 15 minutes, and McGhee going close again with a quick turn and shot that went not far over three minutes later.
Mansfield’s best and practically only shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes saw Tyler Blake put his 20-yarder over the bar in the 23rd minute.
A wonderful Gingerbreads move on the half hour mark saw McGhee and Durkin link up with an artful one-two, ending with McGhee’s cross to Grant Ryan whose header just floated over the target.
But the Grantham number nine had better fortune six minutes later, collecting a good long ball and picking his spot with a shot into the bottom left for 3-0.
Gingerbreads boss Adam Stevens brought on his six substitutes in the second half and they all stepped up to the mark to continue a near-seemless performance.
Grantham’s first opportunity of the second half saw Lee Shaw scuff his left footed effort in the 56th minute after another good passing movement build-up.
The Stags had a few more half-chances of their own in the second period, with Eddie Samba miskicking his shot on 62 minutes and Blake having his strike charged down in the box two minutes later. Grantham keeper Jake Turner was equal to a Samba header seconds afterwards.
At the other end, Curtis Burrows curled in a cross to fellow sub Sam Hankin at the far post, and his header brought a nervous save from Roughton who managed to wrestle the ball to the ground on the goal line in the 72nd minute.
Mansfield caught the Gingerbreads on the hop two minutes later when Drew Rickets found himself in space at the side of the 18-yard box and somehow squeezed his shot between Turner and the post.
Grantham had a chance to cancel that setback out four minutes later after Luke Shaw was fouled in the box and referee Mr Chester pointed to the spot. Shaw dusted himself down and stepped up to take the penalty, but he blasted the ball over the bar.
Roughton did well to block Luke Shaw’s 87th minute thumper and the final action of the game came in the 90th minute when Lee Shaw picked up a ball on the left and crossed to Hankin, but his touch was not enough to fool Roughton.
Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicie, Storey, Carr, Galinski, Beckett, Meadows, Hollingsworth, Ryan, Durkin, McGhee. Subs: Saunders, Lee Shaw, Luke Shaw, Burrows, Kirby, Hankin. Att: 124.