Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 1
A stirring second half performance from Grantham earned them a point against Buxton.
After trailing at the break by a late first half goal, the Gingerbreads used the slope at Silverlands to their advantage to mount sustained pressure on the home side. Jordan Smith notched his first goal for the club for another point to move his side closer to Premier Division safety.
Both sides felt their way into the game with few chances in the opening exchanges. Buxton’s Kieran Lugsden got on the end of a through ball, but flashed his shot past the near post. At the other end, Jordan Smith used his pace to get beyond the Buxton defence, but shot at a well-positioned Ian Deakin.
Buxton began to control the game and Grantham had to defend well to stay on level terms. Two corners in quick succession from the home side ended with Jake Turner called on to make a good save from a free header by Ash Palmer. A minute later, Adie Hawes did well to clear a dangerous cross from Sam Duncum when he got space on the Grantham right.
Mark Reed had four great chances to give Buxton the lead as the half progressed. First he was perfectly positioned to meet a cross from Marc Roberts, but volleyed over the crossbar. Hawes denied him a second shooting chance, then a handball missed by referee Mr Thompson gave him another chance, but again he missed the target. His final chance again fell wide when his header from a hopeful ball into the Grantham penalty area failed to find the target.
Referee Mr Thompson drew anger from the Grantham bench and players on 29 minutes when he penalised Greg Smith and gave a yellow card in what appeared to be a 50:50 challenge with Buxton goalkeeper Deakin.
Mr Thompson rounded off a half of frustrating decisions for Grantham by adding extra stoppage time when none was needed. He indicated a minimum of one minute but the clock ran on and Buxton forced a corner. Poor marking at the far post by Grantham allowed Duncum to drive in a shot as the clock completed the second minute of added time.
With the slope in their favour in the second half, Grantham were a more potent attacking force. They took the game to Buxton from the first minute of the second period. Sam Purcicoe put a good ball in to Greg Smith. He laid it back to Elliott who drew a save from Deakin. Five minutes later, Ridley had a good chance from a free kick 25 yards out, but Deakin was well positioned to save his effort.
Grantham eventually beat the Buxton goalkeeper after 65 minutes. Hawes launched a long throw into the home penalty area. Buxton only cleared as far as Deon Meikle who lobbed the ball back into the danger zone. Jordan Smith reacted quickest and beat Deakin to the ball to hook it past him into the net.
Jordan Smith was quickest to react again five minutes later when he got to the ball first after a mistake by Buxton’s Jamie Green. His effort was saved by Deakin, and then the Buxton defence did well to block a follow-up effort from Greg Smith.
Buxton rarely threatened at this stage of the game. When Grantham did let them in, Sam Purcicoe worked hard to get back and put in a vital tackle to deny Duncum a shooting chance after Lugsden set him up.
Deakin continued to keep his side on level terms with two superb saves as Grantham looked for a winner. Twelve minutes from time, Buxton cleared a cross from Ridley as far as Meikle. He crashed in a volley that had Deakin flying to his left to turn round the post. Eight minutes later, it was Gio Carchedi’s turn to be denied by the Buxton goalkeeper. Elliot gave Carchedi the shooting chance from 25 yards out but, again, Deakin flung himself full stretch to make the save.
Buxton mounted a late surge to try and wrest a win from the game, but Grantham defended well under pressure.