GRANTHAM Town edged a point closer to the league title with their third consecutive Saturday draw at Newcastle Town, but also in the process dropped two points to title rivals Ilkeston who won.
Newcastle Town 0
Grantham Town 0
Both Grantham and Newcastle struggled to make their opponents’ goalkeeper work hard in a game that petered out into stalemate.
The game took a while to get going, the only half-chance of the first 10 minutes saw a low cross from the Newcastle right whipped in to the near post, but Leon Ashman lifted his shot over the crossbar. At the other end, Jamie McGhee ran at the home defence and took a return pass, but headed wide of the mark.
Rob Murray did enough to keep the scores level on 17 minutes. Ashman was played through the Grantham defence but Murray narrowed the angle and forced the striker to shoot wide.
The Gingerbreads seemed to be getting on top of the game midway through the first half. Grant Brindley cleared his lines to Ben Saunders who flicked the ball on for Lee Potts, but his shot was straight at Dave Parton.
A minute later, Chris Glarvey and Rhys Lewis combined to get Potts in on the Grantham left. Ben Saunders got a head to his cross but Parton was in the right place to gather comfortably. The Gingerbreads’ rhythm was then disrupted when Ben Saunders limped off after only 27 minutes.
Newcastle’s Kyle Diskin began to make a nuisance of himself, hitting a first time shot that Murray took to his left, then working the ball with Harry Clayton and James Askey to create a chance for Ashman, but he could get no power in his header.
Diskin again made things happen after the break for the home side. On 53 minutes, he and Askey made space for the latter to drive in a low cross that Murray beat away from goal. Parton made a good save from a low free kick driven to the foot of the post by McGhee, then at the other end Diskin beat Potts and played a one-two with Ashman before driving his low shot wide.
With 20 minutes to go, Newcastle put pressure on the Grantham defence, but the Gingerbreads held firm. Clayton ran at the Grantham defence but again Murray blocked his effort well.
The striker then hit a shot which Murray did well to take. His third chance came with 15 minutes left when Darren Twigg worked the ball on for him, but this time Clayton dragged his shot wide.
Despite Grantham keeping the pressure off their back line for the remaining 15 minutes, they were not able to break down a well organised Newcastle defence. Only a last minute shot from Tony Battersby gave Parton any cause for concern and his effort went straight at the goalkeeper.
Grantham Town: Murray, Purcicoe, Potts, Brindley, S. Saunders, Jacklin, Lewis, Glarvey (Magee, 63), Grimes (Cann, 85), B. Saunders (Battersby, 27), McGhee. Subs not used: Briers, Watt. Att: 107.