Grantham Town extend pre-season winning run with victory over Grimsby Town

Grantham Town's Nathan Watson (left) keeps the ball out of reach from Grimsby in the Gingerbreads' victory at The Meres on Saturday. Photo: 382D
Grantham Town's Nathan Watson (left) keeps the ball out of reach from Grimsby in the Gingerbreads' victory at The Meres on Saturday. Photo: 382D
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Grantham Town 2

Grimsby Town 1

Grantham Town extended their pre-season winning run to seven games out of seven against Conference Premier side Grimsby Town at The Meres on Saturday, and gave an excellent account of themselves throughout.

At no stage did the Gingerbreads look the underdogs as they tried to dictate the pace. They started fast and furiously and had the Mariners on the back foot in the opening minute, with Grimsby preferring a slower game when they held possession.

Grantham’s first chance came in the sixth minute when Romaine Graham easily carved through the visitors’ defence, but his left foot shot was too soft and bounced just wide of the near post. Grimsby’s own number 10 found space at the other end two minutes later, swivelled and fired off a shot but it curled wide of the target too.

The Gingerbreads went in front in the 11th minute. Graham sliced through the Grimsby back line on the left and squared deftly to Jamie McGhee who turned and slotted past Jake McKewan with ease.

Grantham had a chance to double their lead on the quarter-hour mark but Sam Purcicoe’s shot was too easy for McKewan.

The home side’s defence and midfield continued to thwart Grimsby all over the pitch, with the visitors’ defence gifting McGhee a second opportunity but he scuffed his 27th minute effort.

The Gingerbreads went two-up on 37 minutes courtesy of Graham who had a simple tap-in with the Grimsby defence seemingly half asleep.

Against the run of play, the visitors pulled a goal back two minutes later from a free kick, Ross Hannah curling round the wall and past the outstretched Dan Haystead’s fingertips into the far bottom corner of the net.

Grantham’s last real chance of the first half came with three minutes remaining. Paolo Pillerio fired in a free kick to the six-yard box from the touchline, but Graham was somehow unable to get the slightest touch necessary.

The visitors started the second half in more determined mood, with Craig Disley’s 47th minute drive forcing substitute keeper Jake Turner to pull off an excellent save.

Grimsby’s Hannah, Paul Bignott and Joe Colbeck all had further chances, with the latter’s scorcher just rising over the bar from distance.

Former Gingerbread Alex Rodman was instrumental to the visitors’ offensive moves and his 63rd minute incisive run and shot was only matched by a good catch from the Grantham keeper.

Grimsby’s Hannah wasted an easy close-range header in the 70th minute and he did the same with a free kick two minutes later when he lofted woefully off target.

The game became increasingly scrappy as the second period wore on and tempers started to fray in the midday sun.

Home substitute Karl Demidh’s 80th minute cross-cum-shot was inches away from sneaking in at the far post, and Rodman was not too far off at the other end less than a minute later.

The Gingerbreads should have put the icing on the cake in the 86th minute when Demidh was brought down just inside the 18-yard box and referee Mr Bourne had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Demidh took the spot kick but, lacking the necessary oomph, his effort was safely pushed round the post by McKewan.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Ridley, Meikle, Hawes, Pillerio, Nwadike, Towey, McGhee, Graham, Watson. Subs: McDonald, Demidh, Kean, K. Smith, Turner, Chambers, Lewis.