Grantham Town 2
Nottingham Forest 2
In literally a game of two halves, the Gingerbreads and the Reds ended the match honours even at a balmy Meres on Tuesday night.
Forest fielded essentially an under-21s squad but they were more than a match for Grantham in the first half, with two goals the result of their endeavours.
Half time substitutions revitalised Town and they dominated the next 45 minutes and really deserved to sneak a winner to please the just shy of 1,000 crowd in attendance.
The young Forest side looked sharp from the opening minutes when both Ben Breton and Virgil Gomis missed sitters, with the Gingerbreads defence too easily undone.
Inspired by his team-mates, Ryan Yates tried his luck from 20 yards in the sixth minute and beat Jake Turner in the Grantham goal.
Town had a chance of their own four minutes later, but Danny Durkin’s touch from Jamie McGhee’s free kick went straight to keeper Dimita Emtiov.
Breton fired over again for Forest on 21 minutes and Yates miskicked the chance of doubling his and Forest’s tally two minutes later.
Grantham defender Ellis Storey denied Kieron Hayes a close range strike in the 27th minute, diving low to head the ball to Turner.
But Town found themselves two goals down two minutes later when James Thorne knocked in Breton’s cross, with the home defence again too easily unlocked.
The Gingerbreads had a couple of opportunities to reply late in the first half. Durkin headed just wide from a Danny Meadows free kick in the 41st minute, whilst McGhee and Grant Ryan were denied a touch to Durkin’s cross a minute before half time.
With a sprinkling of substitutions, Grantham looked a different side in the second half.
Luke Shaw quickly showed his intention, losing his defender and curling a shot just wide in the 53rd minute.
Four minutes after, Sam Purcicoe got his head to a Curtis Burrows ball, but it lacked power, whilst Ben Saunders’ first touch shot failed to fool Emtiov a minute later.
With the majority of play in the Forest half, the Gingerbreads were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 70th minute when a lapse in the visitors’ defence gifted Luke Shaw the ball and he slotted home with aplomb.
Grantham levelled two minutes later when Forest made it too easy for Lee Shaw to steal the ball and lob into the back of the net.
Burrows and Lee Shaw both forced saves from Forest substitute keeper Jake Taylor whilst, at the other end, Breton fired wide in the 82nd minute and Joe Re’s shot deflected wide of the target off Breton’s heel.
Town had a couple of chances to pinch the victory in the dying minutes. Luke Shaw ran free again but his strike ricocheted off a defender and into a grateful Taylor’s gloves, and Stefan Galinski’s effort was deflected wide with a minute remaining.
Grantham Town: Turner, Purcicoe, Storey, Carr, Galinksi, Hollingsworth, Meadows, Beckett, Ryan, Durkin, McGhee. Subs: Lee Shaw, Luke Shaw, Burrows, Saunders, Kirby, Hankin, Bilyk.