Grantham Town topple high flyers Skelmersdale

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Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Skelmersdale United 1

Grantham Town 2

Grantham Town became the first side to take all three points from a trip to Skelmersdale this season.

Two first half goals put the Gingerbreads in the driving seat and although the home side put pressure on the Gingerbreads, solid defending saw the game out.

In the opening minutes, Grantham took the game to Skelmersdale. Paul Grimes had two early chances, but was just off target with both efforts. Skelmersdale began to get back into the game and opened up the Gingerbreads defence.

Chris Simm picked up a pass wide on the Grantham right and crossed to Connor McCarthy. McCarthy only had Grantham goalkeeper Dan Haystead to beat, but the Gingerbreads stopper stood his ground well to deny the Skelmersdale striker.

The home side began to get some control of the game for a while midway through the first half. Simm made a chance for himself after 21 minutes, but could not beat Haystead. A minute later, McCarthy hit a 20 yards yard effort that hit the outside of the post.

Grantham took the lead after 27 minutes. Jack McGovern played a ball for Grimes. He in turn laid a pass wide for Greg Smith. Smith looked up before looping a shot over Skelmersdale goalkeeper Zac Hibbert and into the top corner of the net for his 20th goal of the season.

Both sides created half chances, but neither Grimes nor McCarthy could take advantage. The Gingerbreads extended their lead from the spot after 39 minutes. A cross from Grimes was aimed at Greg Smith but he was hauled to the ground by Lewis Field. Referee Helen Byrne pointed to the spot and Grimes made no mistake to give Grantham a two goal lead.

Skelmersdale raised their game after half time, changed formation and put the Gingerbreads under more pressure than before the break. A deep cross from McCarthy was played back for Adam Morning. Good defending from Paul Lister denied Morning. After 51 minutes, Skelmersdale went close when Sean Miller was allowed space to deliver a cross into the Grantham penalty area. Morning arrived late to meet the cross with a header that went off the outside of the post.

Grantham soaked up pressure well and hit Skelmersdale on the break. McGovern played in Grimes who took on Hibbert, but the home goalkeeper did enough at the second attempt. Skelmersdale continued to raise their game and another save from Haystead maintained Grantham’s lead. Neil Prince hit a good volley but Haystead reacted quickly to keep the ball out.

Two minutes later, the home side pulled one back. The referee allowed Skelmersdale to take a throw while Lister was still on the ground. Skelmersdale took advantage and a good deep cross found McCarthy unmarked. His header was well placed to give Haystead no chance.

Grantham resisted continuing strong pressure from the home side. Morning looped a header on to the top of the Grantham net and Prince shot wide from a good position. The Gingerbreads continued to frustrate the home side and there were few chances for Skelmersdale to pull level and Tom Hardwick headed the best over the bar.

Kieran Walker had a good chance to add a third for Grantham in injury time, but Hibbert did well to deny him.

Grantham Town: Haystead, Purcicoe, Ridley, Meikle, Lister, Lewis, McGovern, Towey, Grimes (King, 90), G. Smith (Walker, 80), Potts. Subs not used: Lacey, K. Smith, Hawes. Att: 237.