Grantham Town’s FA Trophy dream cut short in dying minutes

Lee Shaw puts Grantham Town 3-1 up just before half time. Photo: Toby Roberts
Lee Shaw puts Grantham Town 3-1 up just before half time. Photo: Toby Roberts
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FA Trophy

Third Qualifying Round

Grantham Town keeper Kieran Preston punches a corner kick from danger. Photo: Toby Roberts

Grantham Town keeper Kieran Preston punches a corner kick from danger. Photo: Toby Roberts

Grantham Town 3

Chorley 4

Grantham Town’s hopes of a place in the draw for the first round proper of the FA Trophy were dashed when they cruelly conceded in the dying minutes of the game – having led 3-1 at half time which gave National League North side Chorley more than a scare.

The game set off apace and it was Chorley who had the early chances, with Josh Wilson first somehow unable to get a shot off in front of goal in the third minute and then bringing a top drawer one-handed save out of Gingerbreads keeper Kieran Preston a minute later. Preston denied Wilson a second time in the fifth minute, getting a hand to his dangerous downward header.

On the ball, Michael Hollingsworth for Grantham Town. Photo: Toby Roberts

On the ball, Michael Hollingsworth for Grantham Town. Photo: Toby Roberts

But it was the home side who took the lead four minutes later when Danny Meadows headed in past the post, after Lee Shaw had robbed the ball off Chorley defender Matt Challoner at the corner flag to set him up.

Shaw looked for a penalty in the 13th minute when he was blatantly tripped in the box, but referee Mr Rawcliffe was having none of it.

Grantham had further chances through Curtis Burrows, whose half volley was gathered by keeper Matt Urwin, and Shaw whose long run in on goal went just a stride too far and he was unable to get a shot in.

The visitors squared the game in the 19th minute when Jason Walker curled into the back of the net.

However, Town restored their lead in the 27th minute when Shaw broke away, picking up a long ball down the left and firing in past Urwin.

Shaw had an opportunity to double his tally in the 31st minute but he unselfishly passed to Jordan Hempenstall whose effort failed to trouble Urwin.

The Gingerbreads should have extended their advantage in the 34th minute but somehow Burrows, in front of goal, was unable to connect with Meadows’ cross.

Shaw had a go from 25 yards two minutes later but his effort rose over the bar, whilst Andrew Wright scuffed a chance in the 43rd minute, from a squared Shaw ball.

Grantham went into half time 3-1 up after Shaw struck a second time in the second minute of added time, again latching on to a long ball, on the right this time, and firing in over Urwin with practically his first touch.

The pace of the game did not relent after the break and Shaw could have completed his hat trick five minutes in, but he dragged his shot just wide of the far post.

At the other end, the troublesome Nick Haughton skied his effort when through on goal in the 51st minute.

Burrows’ 54th minute 25 yard free kick was on target but lacked the power to trouble Urwin.

Chorley pulled a goal back two minutes later when a defensive lapse let Wilson through and he slotted home.

Town managed to clear the ball in a desperate 63rd minute scramble in front of goal, but conceded a second time a minute later through Wilson’s bullet header in off the crossbar.

With the scores level at 3-3, it became a race to the finish line with both sides desperating searching for the winner.

Grantham’s best chance saw Rhys Lewis’s accurate, hard, low drive stopped by Urwin.

With the game looking like going to a replay, Chorley snatched the winner in the 89th minute following some indecision in the home defence, when Adam Blakeman drove in from the edge of the box, giving Preston little chance.

Mr Rawcliffe added several minutes on but they ticked down all too quickly for the Gingerbreads who found themselves out of the competition.

Grantham Town: Preston, Luto, Lewis, Galinski (c), Hollingsworth, Meadows, Wright, Batchelor, Hempenstall, Shaw, Burrows. Subs: McMenemy, Thompson, Curtis, Da Silva Bastos. Att:361.