FOOTBALL: Foxes brush with leaders and triumph in Lions’ den

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Grantham & District Sunday League

Premier Division

Lions FC 0

Ropsley Fox 2

THE eagerly anticipated clash of the top two teams in the League did not disappoint.

Ropsley started on the font foot and created some good chances, including Billy Stubbs hitting over from a corner. Liam Warner then headed over before Drury saved well from a Nick Hardy header.

There was a turning point when the Foxes keeper got caught on the knee and had to go off. With no keeper on the bench striker Jay Harrison put on the gloves. This only seemed to spur the Foxes on and the chances kept coming as Barry Payne miscued from six yards with the goal at his mercy.

Ropsley were almost made to pay as a good counter attack from the Lions had the ball in the back of the net, but the referee spotted an offside and the game remained goalless at half time.

The second half started in pretty much the same fashion as Ropsley went in search of the opener. As Bradley and Warner started to dominate the midfield battle, the Lions midfield began to get frustrated, with Mayes, Harper and Radford all going in the ref’s book to join Smith and Jones.

A couple of good saves from Harrison kept the Lions at bay before the opening goal. John Currall carried the ball unchallenged for 20 yards before threading a defence-splitting through-ball that man-of-the-match Steve Young latched on to and smashed through the keeper’s legs.

Young then turned provider and he delivered a beautifully whipped corner that Greg Smith flicked on to the league’s top marksman Barry Payne who nodded home to seal the points for the visitors, who are now within touching distance of the title.

Lions: Drury, Parke, Jones, Gibson, Conboy, Radford, Harper, Lee, Mayes, Tunstall, Smith. Subs: Petrou, Wilson, Briers, O’Callaghan.

Foxes: Davies, Hardy, Stubbs, O’Connor, Currall, Clarke, Warner, Bradley, Young, Glencros, B.Payne. Subs: Harrison, R. Payne, Smith, Munton.

Grantham & District Saturday League

Grantham Hospital Charity Cup

AFC Croxton 4

Heckington Millers 3

CROXTON were looking to overhaul a league defeat but went behind after 15 minutes when Heckington’s second foray forward resulted in a Sam Elliott goal.

Croxton retaliated instantly and 60 seconds later Michael Burkitt floated a 40yd free kick over everyone to bring the game back level.

With the game settling down to tit-for-tat exchanges, another goal was not forthcoming until the final few minutes of the half when two successive attacks both resulted in rash challenges in the box by the Croxton defence. Two Adam Handy penalties gave the Millers a 3-1 half time lead.

The second half had more bite as both goalkeepers came under more pressure and it was only a succession of fine saves and last second blocks that kept the tallies unchanged. With goals looking inevitable for both sides, the crucial one came for Croxton when Konrad Adamiak and Tom Boyfield launched a joint attack on the Heckington defence which put the latter on the scoresheet.

The final 30 minutes of the game became all about the tactical substitutions with Croxton showing the passion and determination to take the game to the final kick. Steve Bagwell placed a left-footed strike with pinpoint perfection to leave the game all tied with just minutes to go.

Then with the last real kick of the game, Rafal Kolasa breached the backlines once more to put Croxton through to the next round.