FULL REPORT: Witton Albion v Grantham Town

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Grantham travelled to Witton Albion on the back of a poor run of results and came away with a win. The Gingerbreads were the stronger, more determined side throughout the 90 minutes, and got their just rewards.

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Witton Albion 0

Grantham Town

From the opening minute, both sides were engaged in a hard battle to dominate the game. For the first 10 minutes, neither side got on top, but Grantham should have taken the lead with 12 minutes on the clock. Sam Purcicoe won a strong challenge on the halfway line and played the ball on for Conor Higginson. Higginson squared a pass for Grimes 12 yards out, but with a defender breathing down his neck, the number nine sidefooted his effort wide.

As the half wore on, Grantham dominated at the back and began to create chances at the other end. Play was halted after 20 minutes while referee Mr Roberts insisted Witton change their shirts as one of his assistants was struggling to tell the difference between the two striped kits.

The Gingerbreads brought good pressure to bear on the Witton goal around the half hour mark and ended up taking the lead. Higginson started things off with a free kick that Matthew Cooper in the Witton goal turned round the post.

From the corner, Sam Saunders headed over the bar, but Grantham were not done. Martin Ball and Grimes both won their headers to give Higginson the chance to cross again, this time it was sliced wide by the home defence. The corner was cleared, but Grimes got the loose ball and went into the Witton penalty area where he was tripped by Anthony Sheehan. Mr Roberts pointed to the spot and Grimes duly fired the penalty past Cooper’s dive.

Damien Magee and Higginson both had efforts blocked by some desperate Witton defending, then the home side got up the other end and had a penalty claim of their own denied. A free kick was delivered into the Grantham penalty area and as Phil Watt challenged to clear the ball, he appeared to knock it clear with his arm. Mr Roberts was well positioned and waved play on.

The hosts had a chance to equalise on the stroke of half time. Rory Fallon ran on to a through-ball and played it for Daniel Andrews. He took too much time and the chance was lost. The other side of half time, Shaun Tuck got away from the Grantham defence on the right, but a good tackle from Magee stopped him in his tracks.

Witton forced two corners straight away and from the second went close. Jimmy Lindley punched clear from under his crossbar, but the loose ball was put back into the danger zone. Sam Saunders headed against the Gingerbreads’ own crossbar and as Witton looked to scramble the ball over the line, Ben Harrison was penalised for a foul.

Straight away, Higginson saw an effort hit the bar at the other end. Magee played the ball to him 35 yards out. Higginson spotted Cooper off his line and hit a great shot that the keeper did equally as well to get back to and push up in the air. Cooper was grateful to see the ball fall on the top of the crossbar and go out for a corner.

The home side began to press hard for an equaliser. Anthony Gardner got clear of Magee and set up Sheehan, but he shot well wide. On 65 minutes, a free kick from Matthew Cross was allowed to travel a long way and ended up coming back off the far post and out. Grantham set up another attack when Grimes won a clearance from Lindley and headed on for Higginson. Only a good challenge from Ben Harrison denied the Grantham striker.

As the game wore on, Witton threw more and more men forward, but resolute defending from the Gingerbreads denied them any chances to draw level. Grantham could have extended their lead 10 minutes from time. Karl Demidh robbed Cross and only had Cooper to beat, but the Witton goalkeeper stood up well to block his shot.

Magee made a good block as time began to run out for the home side. Two minutes from the end, Ashley Stott broke down the Grantham right and beat Purcicoe before delivering a good cross for Ben Harrison. His flicked header fell wide of the mark.

Grantham had late chances to settle the game. Rhys Lewis burst into the Witton penalty area to get on the end of a Grimes header, but shot wide. Grantham killed the game in injury time. Grimes brought the ball away from a Witton corner and slipped a pass through for Demidh, just inside the Witton half. The Gingerbreads striker ran from the halfway line to just inside the home side’s penalty area before slipping the ball past Cooper to end Witton’s chances of a point.

Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe, Potts, Meikle, S. Saunders, Watt, Lewis, Ball, Grimes, Higginson (Demidh, 69), Magee. Subs not used: B. Saunders, Robinson, Nwadike, McGhee. Att: 429.