FULL REPORT: Grantham Town hold league leaders to a draw

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Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Greg Smith headed in Grantham's goal in the second half, his 18th of the season. Photo: 1002D

Greg Smith headed in Grantham's goal in the second half, his 18th of the season. Photo: 1002D

Grantham Town 1

Chorley 1

A solid performance from Grantham, combined with excellent goalkeeping from Dan Haystead stopped the league leaders in their tracks, and it was only late in the game that Chorley got an equaliser to deny the Gingerbreads all three points.

Town faced a stiff breeze for the first half but kept Chorley at arm’s length for most of the 45 minutes. In the early minutes, Chorley seemed to have settled better but were off-target with their chances. Chris Almond saw his shot deflected out for a corner, then James Dean headed over the bar.

As the half wore on, Grantham continued to frustrate the visitors and began to create good chances of their own. Jack McGovern delivered a good free kick to the edge of the Chorley six-yard box. Michael Towey got across his defender but his first time effort lifted over the crossbar.

After 22 minutes, Towey played a good through-ball for Paul Grimes. He closed in on the Chorley goal but was denied by a good save from Sam Ashton. A good move a few minutes later worked the ball down the Grantham right. McGovern’s cross was only cleared to Lee Potts, but he could not keep his shot down.

Chorley finished the half strongest. Haystead had no problems with a header from Dean, but the Gingerbreads goalkeeper was alert to punch a corner off his goalline just before the break. Dean met a corner well, but a reaction save from Haystead denied him.

Just after the break, Grantham again worked the ball down the flank. This time Josh Lacey delivered a cross that flashed just in front of Greg Smith. Play swung to the other end and Chorley’s Jack Dorney fed Dean. He delivered a good cross into the Grantham six-yard box but, with no Chorley player there, Haystead let it roll out for a goal kick.

A quicker reaction from Greg Smith could have put Grantham in front after 59 minutes. A clever touch from Grimes on a cross from McGovern was wasted. Three minutes later, Smith made no such error. He chased on to a long clearance from Sam Purcicoe, held off a defender and headed the ball over a hesitant Ashton to put Town in front.

Chorley immediately threw on another forward in Adam Roscoe to try and get back into the game. Haystead made the first of a number of good saves on 68 minutes. Andrew Teague delivered the ball into the Grantham six-yard box. Dale Witham got his head to it, but was denied by Haystead flipping the ball over the crossbar. Witham was denied by Gary King from the corner as Chorley kept up the pressure.

The Gingerbreads were not completely on the back foot and Ashton made a sharp save from Grimes to keep his side in the game. As the match entered the last 10 minutes, Grantham showed determination at the back to keep in front. Paul Lister defended well, but had to concede what proved to be the first of a series of corners for the visitors.

The first flag kick saw Dean meet it at the near post, but Purcicoe and the Gingerbreads defence somehow kept the ball out. Purcicoe was in the right place again for the third corner to head Dean’s effort off the post.

With three minutes to go, Chorley got their equaliser. Paul Jarvis was able to deliver a deep cross for Adam Mather. He looped a header over Haystead to level scores.

Grimes almost gave Grantham an instant response. He got off a good shot but Ashton was equal to his effort.

Haystead equalled his opposite number twice in the last minute to earn a point for Grantham. He turned a drive from Jarvis round the post for a corner, and then got his body in the way of a shot from Teague.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Lacey, Meikle, Lister, Lewis (King, 62), McGovern, Towey, Grimes, G. Smith (Hawes, 90 mins), Potts. Subs not used: K. Smith, Jawanza, Scott. Att: 260.