Grantham Town suffer first pre-season defeat at Stamford

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Stamford 2

Grantham Town 1

GRANTHAM suffered their first pre-season friendly defeat at Stamford.

It was Grantham who created the first real opportunity after nine minutes of hard fought football. Connor Higginson took a free kick centrally, about 20 yards out, but hit his effort comfortably for James Martin in the Stamford goal. Karl Demidh and Emeka Nwadike then both had chances but neither of them could hit the target.

Demidh had a better chance a few minutes later as Lee Potts sent a long clearance behind the Stamford defence. Demidh got there first and fired off a good shot, but Martin stood up well. Although Grantham had the better of the early exchanges, a quick free kick from Danny Brooks almost caught the Gingerbreads out. He rolled the ball into space for Gary King. Jimmy Lindley in the Grantham goal was out quickly to win the ball.

After a spell of football with no real shape to the game, Grantham took the lead. Demidh turned his defender on the right hand side and delivered a cross that came through to Higginson. He brought the ball across the face of the Stamford defence before cracking a shot into the top corner of the net.

Another free kick from Brooks tested Lindley shortly after Grantham took the lead.

This time, Lindley turned it over the top. After 28 minutes, a mistake at the back allowed Stamford to level. Lindley and Phil Watt hesitated over how they were going to make a clearance between the two of them. Watt ended up playing a short back pass and Greg Smith closed in on Lindley and challenged as the Grantham goalkeeper was about to clear. Smith came out with the ball and had the simple job of rolling it over the line.

After the equaliser, space opened up and the game became quite open. Demidh released Ash Robinson and his cross found Nwadike. The Gingerbreads midfielder had his shot blocked and when it fell to Watt, his distance shot thumped into the advertising boards.

Demidh was heavily involved, setting up Potts for a shot that flew over the top and then setting himself to hit a clean strike that beat Martin but rattled back off the crossbar.

Grantham finished the first half strongly. Good possession football saw Sam Saunders and Nwadike set up Higginson. His low shot was covered by Martin. With Grantham pressing as half time approached, Potts cut in from the left flank but shot just over.

A half time substitution from Stamford changed the game early in the second half. Former Gingerbread Sam Mullarkey got on the end of a clearance from the Stamford defence with the Gingerbreads defence caught sleeping. Mullarkey raced through with only Lindley to beat and slipped the ball past the Grantham goalkeeper.

Demidh got away from the Stamford defence again after 58 minutes. He laid a good cross back for Gio Carchedi, but his shot was blocked. Robinson latched on to the loose ball and brought a good save from Martin.

A series of substitutions stopped the flow of the game and when the dust settled, Grantham were stretched by some good play from Stamford. Eventually, King got away from Potts and cut in towards goal. Lindley stood his ground well and saved with his legs.

Despite seeing a lot of the ball, Grantham struggled to make much headway against a well organised Stamford defence. Too often the Gingerbreads tried to do too much and ended up losing possession.

At times, Grantham moves were stopped by heavy challenges from the Stamford defence and the game threatened to boil over. Demidh was chopped down just outside the Stamford penalty area, and Jamie McGhee’s free kick was deflected over the crossbar.

With five minutes to go, McGhee beat Paul Mayo as Grantham looked for the equaliser. His cross led to chances for both Demidh and Ben Saunders, but neither got a good strike in as time ran out for Grantham.

Grantham Town: Lindley, McGhee, Potts, Brindley, Watt, S. Saunders, Robinson (Lewis, 58), Nwadike, Demidh, Battersby (B. Saunders, 58), Higginson (Carchedi, 45). Subs not used: Ball, Magee.