Grantham Town lose to injury time goal at FC United of Manchester

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A goal in injury time took a point away from Grantham in Ian Robinson and Gary Sucharewycz’s first game in charge. The Gingerbreads had defended solidly, but were undone at the death.

It took Grantham a while to settle and they almost conceded a goal in the opening minute. A free kick was given away on the Gingerbreads’ left hand side, out near the touchline. The ball was whipped into the danger zone and a header from Adam Jones flew over the crossbar.

Grantham settled to their task and although the home side continued to threaten, they were held at arm’s length by the Gingerbreads. At the other end, Rhys Lewis almost put Town in front after seven minutes. Damien Magee delivered a good cross from the left. Lewis got across his defender but steered his header wide of the mark.

Two minutes later, the FC United defence breathed another sigh of relief when Phil Watt got up highest to meet Martin Ball’s free kick to the near post. Watt put his header in almost the same place as Lewis had done earlier.

The home side put together some intricate play but the end product was not there. Winger Adam Dawson threatened on the FC United left but when he cut inside and let fly, his efforts were well off target.

A moment of hesitation in the Grantham defence almost cost the Gingerbreads after half an hour. Kyle Jacobs played Carlos Roca in down the FC United right. His cross was met by Watt but as the ball dropped, neither Watt nor Jimmy Lindley took command of the situation and Grantham were fortunate that when the ball hit Watt on the knee, it bounced right into Lindley’s arms.

Grantham started quickest after the break and were unlucky not to get a penalty five minutes into the half. Asher played a ball over the top of the FC United defence. Grimes appeared to be held back by the home defence as he raced for goal, but referee Mr Cunliffe gave nothing. Grantham kept up the pressure and Asher again was the provider as he hit a deep ball for Lee Potts. His fierce drive beat James Spencer in the United goal, but was hacked off the line.

The home side began to get into more dangerous positions. Jacobs started a move in the 52nd minute and when the ball came back to him, the FC United skipper fired wide. Grantham gave too much space to Mike Norton a few minutes later as he strode forward unchallenged. From 35 yards, he tried his luck and Lindley had to move quickly to turn his effort over the crossbar.

As the game swung to the other end, Watt set up Ball with a good chance. As he turned, the Grantham man got underneath his shot and hit it too high.

FC United turned the screw as the game entered the last 20 minutes and hit the woodwork at the end of a good move. Damien Magee was beaten by Greg Daniels who whipped a cross into the near post. Lindley was beaten to the ball by Norton whose header crashed back off the post. Shortly after, Carlos Roca shot wildly wide when he raced to get on the end of a Jacobs cross.

Dean Stott went on a 60 yard run with the ball inside the last 10 minutes, but found himself with no support and Grantham easily cleared. From the other side, Matthew Woolfenden fired over a high cross to the far post. Rhodri Giggs seemed to climb all over the Gingerbreads defence, but was allowed to see his header come back off the crossbar without a foul being blown.

Most of the penetration FC United tried to bring fell to pieces in the last third as over-hit passes or crosses ended good moves. Quick passing between Giggs and Norton threatened to open Grantham up just minutes from the end, but Lewis got back in time to clear the ball right over his own crossbar.

In the last minute, Grantham had a great chance to snatch the points. Ben Saunders held the ball up well for Karl Demidh. He picked out Sam Saunders with his cross, but his header lacked power.

That came back to haunt the Gingerbreads a minute into injury time. A good ball down the side of the defence allowed Norton to get behind Grantham. With options to shoot or cross, he selflessly played the ball square for Woolfenden to turn into the net.

Grantham Town: Lindley, Asher, Magee, Meikle, Watt, Ball, Lewis (McGhee, 90), Troke (S. Saunders, 72), Grimes (Demidh, 72), B. Saunders, Potts. Subs not used: Brindley, Purcicoe. Att: 1,539.