Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
Mickleover Sports 3
Grantham Town’s fate in this game was ultimately decided in the third minute when they found themselves down to 10 men.
The match got off to the customary brisk start but skipper Stefan Galinski’s short back pass put his goalkeeper in a difficult situation. Kieran Preston could get only a boot to the ball on the edge of the area before tumbling over and then taking Mickleover’s last man down to prevent a sure goal.
Referee Mr Postin produced a straight red for Preston whilst midfielder Jack McGovern took over the number one shirt.
The resulting free kick was saved well by a diving McGovern but the loose ball fell to Jimmy Philips who made no mistake from a yard out.
No doubt shocked but not disheartened, the Gingerbreads continued to set about their job, with striker Lee Shaw’s seventh minute half volley bouncing across the face of goal and past the far post.
McGovern made several commendable saves and, at the other end, Danny Meadows’ 13th minute downward header bounced up and over the Mickleover crossbar.
But Town went further behind in the 19th minute when Jak Hickman beat the offside and dribbled in past McGovern for 2-0 to the visitors.
Sports’ flapping keeper Lewis King just managed to gain control to deny Shaw a sure goal on 25 minutes whilst, two minutes later, Philips’ lob was safely gathered by McGovern.
The visitors had a couple more chances through Louis Briscoe who struck the post in the 32nd minute and Hickman whose shot just rose over the bar seconds later.
Philips then wasted a good opportunity when one-on-one with McGovern, but he made no mistake on 44 minutes to put the Gingerbreads 3-0 down at half time.
Grantham manager Adam Stevens made three changes for the start of the second half, but it was Mickleover who had the first attempts on goal. Town’s first was a Galinski header over from a Meadows throw in.
McGovern continued to perform well between the sticks, saving his side from further embarrassment on numerous occasions.
The Gingerbreads’ assaults on goal became fewer, with Rhys Lewis heading over from a Sam Osborne corner on 72 minutes, and the latter having his shot blocked by King two minutes later.
The closest Grantham went to a consolation goal came in the 88th minute when Shaw’s cross-cum-shot went across the face of goal, finding Osborne whose effort did exactly the same thing.
Mr Postin’s final whistle came soon after to end an afternoon the Gingerbreads will want to forget as they continue their push for promotion.
Grantham remain third in the league, with second placed Warrington Town also losing, whilst Ashton United’s victory moved them to within a point of the Gingerbreads.
Grantham Town: Preston, Potts, Luto, Wright (Osborne 45), Galinski (c), Lewis, Meadows, McGovern, Hakeem (Vince 45), Shaw, Burrows (Hollingsworth 45). Subs not used: McMenemy, Thompson. Att: 377