Saunders header seals Grantham Town win

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GRANTHAM Town scrapped their way to all three points against a dogged Shepshed side on Wednesday night. Grantham always looked the more likely side to take the win and when Ben Saunders nodded the ball over the line with seven minutes to go, the Gingerbreads had more than enough to keep the home side out.

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Division One South

Shepshed Dynamo 1

Grantham Town 2

The first quarter of an hour was pretty poor stuff from both sides. As rain sheeted across the pitch, neither side were able to put passes together and chances were few and far between. Gio Carchedi got on to a flick from Ben Saunders and put Jamie McGhee free on the right. His cross went just in front of Martin Ball.

Ben Saunders then went on to put three half-chances just wide of the mark as Grantham had the better of play without stretching Ayden Duffy in the Shepshed goal. On the rare occasion when the home side did threaten James Mountain in the Grantham goal, Paul Gamble’s cross was headed wide by Steve Chaplin.

Carchedi caused problems for Shepshed late in the first half. From wide on the right, he found enough space to deliver a good cross. Duffy did well to punch it clear under pressure. Five minutes before the break, a good through-ball almost got Carchedi in, but he could not bring the ball under control quickly enough and the chance was gone.

Mountain did well to keep scores level going into half time. Shepshed won a free kick on the edge of the Grantham penalty area. Chris White got a touch on the near post delivery but Mountain was well positioned to take the ball comfortably.

After the break, Grantham continued to dominate the game but showed a bit more quality to their play. Ten minutes after the break, Sam Saunders picked out his brother Ben. Ben turned well but his effort was blocked. Duffy was called into action almost straight after. A cross-field ball from Ball for Lee Potts picked the wing back out superbly. His shot dipped late and Duffy did well to tip it over the crossbar.

Ball was next to test the Shepshed goalkeeper. Referee Mr Dexter gave Grantham a free kick for the second of three fouls on Sam Purcicoe, 10 yards further out than the third challenge. Ball’s free kick again saw Duffy stretching to turn the ball over the top.

Just before the hour mark, Grantham got the goal they deserved. Ball got his head to a corner and the ball fell to Purcicoe. His first drive was blocked but when the ball came back to him, he put it in the bottom corner of the Shepshed net.

Carchedi turned the home defence inside the Shepshed penalty area on 67 minutes. His shorts were pulled but he stayed on his feet and Mr Dexter ignored the penalty appeal.

Nine minutes from time, the home side levelled the game. With Grantham expecting a near-post corner, Shepshed delivered the ball to the far post. Paul Gamble came in unmarked to head home.

The scores were only level for two minutes. Grantham went straight at Shepshed and won a corner. Duffy failed to deal well with a delivery underneath his crossbar and Ben Saunders nodded the ball home from a yard out.

The home side had nothing left with which to come back at Grantham. It was the Gingerbreads who went closest to another goal in injury time when Tris Whitman crossed for Rob Norris. Norris fed Rhys Lewis but under pressure from the home defence, he shot wide.

Grantham Town: Mountain, Purcicoe, Potts, Brindley, S. Saunders, Watt, Lewis, Ball, McGhee (Norris, 61), B. Saunders, Carchedi (Whitman, 87). Subs not used: Asher, Maddison, O’Rafferty. Att: 159.