Grantham Town salvaged a point in the dying minutes to draw 2-2 at home to fellow play-off hopefuls Workington at The Meres on Saturday.
The match was spoiled, particularly in the first half, by strong wind gusting down the pitch at the Gingerbreads’ backs, making ball control nigh on impossible for both sides.
The early exchanges were battled out in midfield with no clear cut chances whatsoever, as the two teams tried to accustom themselves to the troublesome conditions.
Town goalkeeper Kieran Preston pulled off an impressive diving save to tip Nathan Waterston’s deflected shot round the post in the 13th minute and three minutes later, at the other end, visiting keeper Aaran Taylor managed to block Luke Shaw’s shot with his chest, with Lee Shaw unable to get a shot off from the rebound.
Grantham went behind in the 24th minute. Robert Wilson’s free kick from one side of the box found Joshua Calvert running in at the other, and he volleyed home from the edge of the six yard box, giving Preston no chance.
Harry Clifton, Lee Shaw and Michael Hollingsworth had scoring opportunities for the Gingerbreads before Lee Shaw grabbed an equaliser in the 37th minute, with his low strike bobbling past stricken keeper Taylor.
Clifton had another good chance in the 43rd minute, following a fine build-up involving Lee Shaw, Ellis Storey and Luke Shaw, but his effort went wide.
Workington caught Grantham napping two minutes after the break, with Calvert finding plenty of room to tee up a shot that flew past Preston between the sticks.
The visitors went down to 10 men on 50 minutes after captain Gari Rowntree received his second yellow card of the game.
Town had a good chance to level three minutes later. Clifton’s 40-yard free kick found Felipe Barcelos who rolled the ball goalwards, with a Workington defender cutting it out but almost putting it into his own net when his block ricocheted off the far post.
Both Lee Shaw and Sam Purcicoe had shots charged down in the 63rd minute, and the latter fired a sitter over the bar from about nine yards out.
Town substitute Danny Meadows looped a curling cross into the Workington box in the 74th minute, where Lee Shaw was just unable to get a touch to the ball.
The Gingerbreads continued to search in vain for an equaliser as the visitors sat back in numbers.
Another excellent Meadows ball across the face of goal saw Lee Shaw dive to it at the far post in the 87th minute, but contact somehow eluded him.
However, a copycat move a minute later proved more successful, with Rhys Lewis heading in Meadows’ cross with aplomb at the far post.
Grantham had a chance to snatch all three points two minutes into added time from yet another Meadows cross, but sub Jeremiah Dasaolu was just unable to to quite stretch for the header, and so a share of the spoils was Town’s reward for a battling performance on a difficult afternoon.
Grantham Town: Preston, Purcicoe (Wildin 73), Storey, Hollingsworth (Dasaolu 78), Galinski (c), Burrows, Clifton, Lewis, Barcelos, Lee Shaw, Luke Shaw (Meadows 60). Subs not used: Da Silva Bastos, Danny Martin. Att: 283.