A BEN Saunders hat trick formed the backbone of Grantham Town’s victory over Brigg Town at The Meres on Saturday.
Lincolnshire Senior Shield
Grantham Town 4
Brigg Town 0
The Gingerbreads went in front at the end of the first half and the visitors were completely undone after the break when Grantham hit the back of the net three times in seven minutes.
Grantham’s first chance came in the second minute. Sam Purcicoe squared to skipper Ben Saunders but he was unable to get a shot off. The ball was cleared only as far as Martin Ball but his effort was blocked.
Sam Saunders put in a good ball to brother Ben on the edge of the 6yd box but Brigg keeper Ryan Musselwhite was equal to his attempt on goal.
The visitors looked fit and full of running early on and gave the Gingerbreads a scare in the seventh minute. Grantham keeper Jimmy Lindley found himself stranded outside his 6yd box but Sam Saunders was there to clear Ryan Paczkowski’s shot off the line.
Lindley was called into action four minutes later when he had to dive to stretch to Liam Davis’s shot to the far post.
At the other end, Gio Carchedi put a good ball in to Paul Grimes in the box, but a Brigg defender stepped in before the Grantham number nine could react. Seconds later, Carchedi whipped in a dangerous corner kick across the face of the Brigg goal, but no Grantham player could get a touch.
Grimes shot from distance but Musselwhite stopped it short, and the Brigg stopper saved Carchedi’s 18th minute strike with his legs.
Ben Saunders’ 21st minute header beat Musselwhite but hit the post. Saunders got a touch to the rebound but put the ball wide of the far post.
Grimes forced a corner kick just before the half hour. Carchedi played it short to Lee Potts who returned it to the number 11. Carchedi found Phil Watt whose header came down on top of the Brigg crossbar.
Both goalkeepers were kept busy as first Lindley rose highest to catch Daniel Buttle’s dangerous corner kick at the second attempt, and Musselwhite did well to save Grimes’s 34th minute shot. The Brigg keeper then plucked Purcicoe’s cross from the air with Grimes lurking menacingly beside him.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 42nd minute when Ben Saunders nonchalantly headed over Musselwhite after a good build-up involving Ball.
The Gingerbreads doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half. A good ball into the box found Carchedi. Musselwhite smothered his initial effort but the ball ran free and Carchedi made sure with his second contact.
With hardly time to compose themselves, Brigg found themselves three down three minutes later when Ben Saunders added his second goal of the match.
Ben Saunders once again made sure he was in the right place at the right time to put his side 4-0 up and complete his hat trick on the hour mark.
The game became increasingly frenetic as Brigg raced to try and prevent complete humiliation, and the Gingerbreads overflowed with confidence. With the sun blazing down, Grantham’s strike force was replenished by substitutes Connor Higginson, Tony Battersby and Karl Demidh who helped up the pace and reinvigorate the home side’s efforts.
Grimes fired over the Brigg target in the 66th minute and Battersby almost scored the goal of the game 11 minutes later, but his spectacular volley flew just wide of the far post.
Musselwhite denied Grimes on the goal-line in the 80th minute after a sharp cut-back from Demidh.
Higginson was not far off the mark with his 87th minute pot shot from 25 yards and Grantham’s final attempt on goal saw him drive his effort into a Brigg defender.
Grantham Town: Lindley, Purcicoe, Potts (Demidh, 69), Jacklin, S. Saunders, Watt, Magee, Ball, Grimes, B. Saunders (Battersby, 66), Carchedi (Higginson, 60). Subs not used: McGhee, Robinson.