Grantham Town draw with Blyth Spartans at Meres

Rhys Lewis (left) fires in Grantham Town's opener against Blyth Spartans on Saturday. Photo: 771C
Rhys Lewis (left) fires in Grantham Town's opener against Blyth Spartans on Saturday. Photo: 771C
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Grantham Town took a share of the spoils in an enjoyable 2-2 draw with Blyth Spartans at The Meres on Saturday.

The Gingerbreads were the better side in the first half and led by a single goal going into half time. A scintillating first 45 minutes saw Town generally play a neat passing game which was a joy to watch.

Spartans levelled after the break but Grantham regained the lead with 10 minutes remaining. Blyth denied Grantham the win when they equalised a second time with five minutes left on the clock.

The visitors were the first to have a shot on goal, but Ryan McGorrigan dragged his effort wide of the near post in the second minute of play.

Conor Higginson and Paul Grimes combined well in the sixth minute but the former was intercepted by a Blyth defender as he approached the goal. Rhys Lewis fired on target in the 19th minute but the ball went straight to Spartans keeper Conor Grant.

Two minutes later, Lewis put Town in front. Sam Purcicoe forced a corner kick, taken by Lee Potts, and Lewis was the recipient, stabbing in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Phil Airey broke away at the other end three minutes later, but his long pot shot rose over James Lindley’s goal.

Spartans had a good chance to equalise on the half hour mark. Neal Hooks’s corner kick found Robert Dale unmarked. He weaved a shot around Lindley but Grantham skipper Sam Saunders cleared from the edge of the six-yard box.

Lewis’s 34th minute header went into the side netting and Sam Saunders’ cross-cum-shot was only just smothered at the feet of Lewis on the goal line.

Grantham’s last scoring opportunity of the half saw Lewis dive in an attempt to get his head to Martin Ball’s whipped in cross, but he was unable to make contact.

Town had a scare two minutes into the second half. Lee Mason broke free and beat Lindley, but this time it was Potts who cleared off the line.

The visitors levelled on 50 minutes. McGorrigan found himself with enough time and space to tee up a chip. Lindley got a finger to the ball but it still went over his head and into the back of the net.

Higginson had a pop from 25 yards in the 53rd minute but fired wide and his 62nd minute effort was deflected wide.

Spartans’ McGorrigan forced a good reaction save by Lindley with his feet. The rebound was driven into a Town defender’s backside, and Lee Mason skied the second rebound over the bar.

Visiting keeper Grant denied Higginson a 70th minute header from a Sam Saunders ball. Grantham substitute Jamie McGhee had a good run down the right seven minutes later. He put a good cross to which Grant got a fist. Potts struck from the rebound but his shot was blocked.

The Gingerbreads regained the lead on 80 minutes. Sub Ben Saunders’ effort was blocked but the ball hung nicely in the air for Potts to float in a delicate header.

Five minutes later, the visitors were back on level terms. The Grantham defence was too easily unlocked and Daman Mullen slid the ball was Lindley.

Town had a few late chances to take all three points but it was not to be. Ben Saunders had two headers go wide of the mark, and Ball’s 89th minute 30-yard free kick was deflected wide.

Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe (B. Saunders, 71), Potts, Meikle, S. Saunders, Watt, Lewis, Ball, Grimes (Demidh, 82), Higginson (McGhee, 71), Magee. Subs not used: Robinson, Nwadike. Att: 255.