Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 1
Halesowen Town 2
Grantham Town suffered their second embarrassment this week, losing to the bottom-of-the-table side.
To be fair to the West Midlands outfit, they played better football than their lowly league position would suggest and improved as the match went on.
The game started at a frenetic pace with Grantham having the first shot on goal in the fourth minute through Jordan Hempenstall, whose volley was easy enough for Yeltz goalkeeper Daniel Platt to catch.
The Gingerbreads threatened again two minutes later when Lee Shaw picked up a long ball down the right flank and put in a blind cross-cum-shot past Platt, to where Hempenstall was just unable to poke in at the far post.
Halesowen’s on-loan Nigerian striker Daniel Udoh first made his presence known on 10 minutes when his close range shot was charged down.
But in general it remained all Grantham going forward, with further chances going awry through Hempenstall, Michael Hollingsworth, Stefan Galinski and Rhys Lewis, together with a succession of corner kicks which bore no fruit.
The visitors’ first corner of the game resulted in them taking the lead in the 36th minute. Cameron Steele’s flag kick was headed goalward by Dominic Smith. Grantham keeper Kieran Preston punched the ball out to Udoh who put it back in to Luke Shearer for a poke home.
But the Gingerbreads levelled two minutes later. Andrew Wright broke down the right and looked to have ran too far. However, he still managed to beat Platt and slotted acutely into the far bottom corner of the net.
Grantham had the first chance of the second half, with Luke Shaw’s low effort stopped at the foot of the post. At the other end, Preston blocked Udoh’s 53rd minute close range shot with his feet.
Just a touch from Lee Shaw, Wright or Danny Meadows could have put the home side in front around the hour mark, but all three were just unable to do so, with Smith at the other end equally unable to get his head to a dangerously swung in corner kick to the far post.
The Gingerbreads had a good opportunity in the 70th minute when Meadows slid in and curled a left foot strike just wide from a squared Lee Shaw ball into the box.
Five minutes later, Hempenstall’s effort came off the inside of the bar, the loose ball fallling to Meadows who cracked a dipper just over the target.
Preston did well to stand up to block Halesowen substitute Roland Agbor’s close range shot following a quick break in the 79th minute. But a minute later, the Grantham custodian was beaten by Udoh after a perfect set-up from Agbor.
The Gingerbreads had the ball in the net on 85 minutes through Meadows, but the linesman’s flag ruled that one out.
The always dangerous looking Udoh was through on the Grantham goal two minutes later and Tom Potts brought him down in the box. Referee Mr Tinsley pointed to the spot but Preston got the biggest cheer of the night when he saved Udoh’s penalty kick.
The Gingerbreads had several late corner kicks from which to try and salvage a share of the spoils, but they were unable to get the ball in the back of the net a second time.
Grantham Town: Preston, Potts, Luto, Lewis, Galinski (McMenemy 90), Hollingsworth, Meadows, Wright, Hempenstall, Lee Shaw, Luke Shaw. Subs not used: Burrows, Dasaolu, Baker, Purcicoe. Att: 175.