Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 1
The Gingerbreads were their own worst enemies as defensive errors combined with an off day for too many players saw Buxton take advantage.
Grantham were second to things from the opening minutes. Paul Lister had to get a foot in to deny Liam Hardy when the ball broke for the home side. After seven minutes, Grantham had a slice of luck as Hardy and Neil Stevens played Matt Thornhill through. Thornhill’s shot beat Dan Haystead, but came back off the face of the post.
Town continued to struggle to put their usual game together as Buxton showed greater application and determination. The home side kept the Gingerbreads under pressure by winning a lot of the loose ball. Hardy and Craig King worked hard to keep possession and gave King the chance to shoot. Haystead made a good low save.
A scrappy first half only woke up after half an hour. Grantham created three quick chances. First Greg Smith headed just wide from a Lee Potts cross. Smith then curled a shot just past the angle of the goal with Andy Warrington beaten. Jack McGovern went close as well with a free kick; Warrington was grateful to see it hit the advertising hoardings.
Buxton responded with two efforts from Thornhill that were wasted before the game seemed to turn Grantham’s way. Three minutes before half time, Buxton captain Ash Palmer stuck out an arm to deflect a ball that had skidded past him for Smith. Although referee Mr Gibbons almost showed a yellow card to the wrong player, he eventually consulted with his assistant who confirmed Palmer as the offender. Already booked, it was inevitable that he would be sent off.
For the whole of the second half, the slope proved to be a bigger advantage than the extra man. Helped by some generous defending from the Gingerbreads, Buxton seized the initiative early on after the break and never gave it up. Both sides had half chances before Buxton took the lead.
Grantham only half cleared a corner and left Mark Reed unmarked. Reed gathered the ball when it was played in and had time to pick his spot to put the home side in front.
Reed and Hardy almost made a second for the home side, but Haystead saved well from Reed.
On 66 minutes, Grantham levelled. McGovern spread play to Potts who curled a cross in perfectly for Jordan Hempenstall to head firmly past Warrington.
The Gingerbreads were only level for two minutes before helping Buxton to retake the lead. Grantham could have cleared their lines three times on the edge of their penalty area. The final touch from Rhys Lewis only put the ball at Hardy’s feet. He did not need a second invite and drove his shot low past Haystead.
Neil Stevens carved out two chances as Buxton showed no concerns at their man disadvantage. Haystead saved bravely from Hardy when Stevens put him through, then the Buxton full back shot just wide.
Haystead contributed to the third goal for the home side with five minutes left on the clock. He was quickly out of his penalty area to snuff out the danger from a through-ball, but his clearance only found Josh Davies 45 yards out. He had time to control the ball and look up before lifting his effort over the stranded Haystead and into the net to wrap up a miserable afternoon for the Gingerbreads.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Ridley (Walker, 78), Meikle, Lister, Lewis (King, 78), McGovern, Towey, Hempenstall, Smith, Potts. Subs not used: Jacklin, Hawes, Grimes. Att: 230.