Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
Ashton United 1
One second-half goal determined Grantham Town’s fate as they lost in a dour affair at The Meres on Saturday.
The first half started off fairly frenetic with a early chance for Town’s Greg Smith who found himself booked in the 19th minute after a mix-up with Ashton keeper Paul Phillips who over-balanced, hit the post and fell into his own goal with the ball in his arms. Referee Mr Plowright blamed Smith.
In the 25th minute, United’s Matthew Chadwick headed wide with Grantham keeper Dan Haystead stranded, and he was not far off with an overhead kick six minutes later.
Smith sent his 33rd minute header straight to Phillips while, at the other end, Grantham had another let-off when Dale Johnson fired wide with only Haystead to beat after a defensive lapse.
There were further chances at both ends for Smith and Chadwick, but the half ended goalless.
The stop-start nature of the game continued unabated after the break and made for a far from scintillating spectacle for the crowd.
The Gingerbreads went behind in the 58th minute. A good one-two between Gary Gee and Dale Johnson saw the former through on goal and he fired past Haystead with ease.
The visitors had another good chance four minutes later when Joe O’Neill swivelled and fired off a shot in the box, but Haystead was there to catch.
Town’s best chance to level did not come until and 79th minute. Good work down the left by substitute Jamie McGhee saw him make room to cross to Jamie Jackson in the box. Jackson laid the ball off to sub Romaine Graham but he scuffed his close range effort.
Ashton sub Martin Pilkington fired not far over in the 88th minute and the last real action came from a Grantham free kick. Lee Ridley raced through midfield towards the Ashton penalty area and was brought down. McGhee stepped up to take the free kick just outside the box and forced a good diving save from Phillips.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Ridley, Andrews, Miller, Lister, Foster, Burbeary (McGhee, 34), Nwadike (Lewis, 61), G. Smith, Jackson, Towey (Graham, 61). Subs not used: Meikle, Hawes. Att: 181