Northern Premier League
Ilkeston FC 0
Grantham Town 2
Grantham Town recorded their first win since the start of November and their first since the return of Jimmy Albans and Wayne Hallcro to the club.
The Gingerbreads were too strong across the 90 minutes for an Ilkeston side who hardly threatened Dan Haystead all afternoon.
Town started strongly and four corners in the first 10 minutes set the tone for the game. But despite having the more attacking intent to their play, Grantham did not stretch Ross Etheridge in the Ilkeston goal.
The first chance came after 12 minutes when Lee Ridley and Greg Smith played a one-two and Ridley set up Michael Towey. Etheridge was well positioned to save Towey’s effort.
The home side came more into the game midway through the first half, but it was still Grantham who caused more problems than their opponents. Smith and Paul Grimes were beginning to work well together, and the pair made a shooting chance for Smith but his effort went just wide.
The Gingerbreads defence was opened up by good play from Gary Ricketts and Tyrell Waite after 28 minutes. The pair set up a shooting opportunity for James Reid on the edge of the Grantham penalty area. His shot beat Dan Haystead but hit the crossbar. Haystead scrambled back to his goalline and was grateful to see Deon Meikle head the ball away from danger.
Grimes almost squeezed a shot past Etheridge 10 minutes before half time. Ilkeston failed to clear a free kick from Lee Potts and Grimes latched on to the loose ball. Etheridge made a full length stop to deny the Grantham striker.
The Grantham number nine was a problem to Ilkeston again in the last minute of the first half. He played a quick ball for Gary King who set up Potts, but his shot lacked power.
The Gingerbreads took control from the start of the second half with two early corners causing problems for the home side. A good near post delivery was scrambled away, and then Deon Meikle latched on to the ball, only to shoot over the top.
The turning point of the game came on 55 minutes. Grimes burst through the centre of the Ilkeston defence and was brought down by a chasing Mat Baker. Referee Mr Atkin sent off the Ilkeston defender and gave Grantham a free kick just outside the penalty area. Grimes took it himself and curled his effort round the wall and into the back of Etheridge’s net.
Etheridge kept Grantham to a single goal for some time. After 67 minutes, another corner fell to Smith. He poked a shot goalward, but the Ilkeston keeper turned his effort round the post.
Ilkeston showed some desire to get back on level terms, despite their one man disadvantage. Haystead was in the right place to gather Laurie Wilson’s shot when a cross from Cheye Alexander took a deflection. And Akil Wright volleyed well over the top of the crossbar when a corner was only cleared to the edge of the Grantham penalty area.
The Gingerbreads wrapped the game up five minutes from time. Smith took a quick throw on the Grantham left to Anton Foster. His cross found Paul Lister whose initial header was well saved by Etheridge, but Lister reacted first to force the ball home and ensure Grantham took home all three points.
Grantham Town: Haystead, Lacey, Ridley, Meikle, Lister, Lewis, King, Towey (Foster, 27), Grimes, G. Smith (Motson, 89), Potts. Subs not used: K. Smith, Hawes, Whyman. Att: 456.