A woeful decision by the referee’s assistant contributed to the defining moment of the game, but the Gingerbreads again had themselves to blame for not getting something from the game.
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
The opening exchanges set the tone for the game. A scrappy first 10 minutes produced half chances for both sides.
A nervy looking Marine defence were almost exposed by Conor Higginson in the sixth minute. He beat Danny Graham and delivered a cross that needed both Matty Brown and Paul Jones to get it clear. Higginson got in again a minute later, on to a long clearance, but it just evaded him and ran through to Ryan McMahon in the Marine goal. At the other end, Matty Devine tried to get Jonathan Goulding in, but his pass was too long and Jimmy Lindley got there first.
The home side got on top of the game after a quarter of an hour without really testing the Gingerbreads defence. A cross from Shaun Dowling was comfortably cleared by Damien Magee, and Lindley made a comfortable save from a Matty Brown header after a corner for the home side
The key moment in the game came on 24 minutes. Paul Grimes was put through and was clearly held by Paul Jones. As the two players went to ground, the referee’s assistant inexplicably gave the free kick to the home side. A simple ball down the side of the Gingerbreads defence seemed to catch Grantham unawares and with Phil Watt looking for an offside flag, Matty Devine ran on unchallenged and shot past Lindley and into the net.
Devine almost got in again four minutes later. He beat the Grantham defence but this time Lindley denied him a second goal.
Grantham gradually got back into the game. The best passing move of the match came after 32 minutes. Grimes, Higginson and Martin Ball worked a position for Ball to put Higginson in, but the final pass was too long.
Lee Potts had a great chance to level for Grantham 10 minutes before the break. Sam Purcicoe exchanged passes with Grimes and crossed to the far post. Potts rose above his defender, but from inside the six yard box, headed across goal and three yards wide.
Purcicoe did enough to avert danger just before the break as Devine again threatened to break clear of the Grantham defence.
Higginson had been taken down heavily just before half time and three minutes into the second half, still feeling the effects of the challenge, he was replaced by Ben Saunders. Grantham were then given an advantage 10 minutes into the second half when Matty Brown was sent off for the home side. Ben Saunders had sent Paul Grimes clear of the Marine defence and Brown hauled him down on the edge of the penalty area. Referee Mr Siddall had no hesitation in showing the red card. From the free kick, Potts’s chip hit the wall.
Grantham began to press with the man advantage and worked a good shooting position for Damien Magee after 61 minutes, but he shot over the top. A game that had produced few clear chances suddenly produced four in a few minutes.
A good cross from Shaun Dowling found Alan Burton, but he shot wide of the target. Grimes had Grantham’s best chance of the game when he got behind the Marine defence. With only McMahon to beat, Grimes pulled his shot well wide. Devine then beat the Grantham defence, but Lindley forced him wide and his low cross was behind his teammates. And finally Goulding got on the end of a deep cross, but he also failed to hit the target.
Grantham turned up the heat on Marine but a solid rearguard cleared everything the Gingerbreads threw at them. Ash Robinson’s long throw found Karl Demidh, but his header went straight at McMahon. The Marine goalkeeper then came quickly off his line to deny Ben Saunders.
Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe, Potts, Meikle, S. Saunders, Watt, Lewis (Robinson, 45), Ball (Demidh, 74), Grimes, higginson (B. Saunders, 48), Magee. Subs not used: Nwadike, Brindley.