GRANTHAM Town’s incredible 11-game winning streak finally came to an end on Saturday - but they bounced back immediately with a 2-0 win on Tuesday night.
The Gingerbreads returned to winning ways against Belper Town midweek thanks to cleverly crafted goals finished off by Paul Grimes and Rhys Lewis.
But a ‘sucker-punch’ is how co-manager Jimmy Albans described Saturday’s fifth and decisive goal at The Meres which ended his side’s 11-game winning run.
Having fallen two goals behind to Newcastle Town, Grantham hit back to level in two frantic minutes before the visitors won the game on the counter-attack.
Albans said: “You get yourself right back into the game, then we’ve been sucker-punched. I think it was probably one of only a few attacks they had in the second-half.”
The Grantham gaffer conceded that his side may have missed the suspended defender Grant Brindley. Albans said: “Grant is one of the main reasons why we defend so well. He wins his first headers, he wins his second headers, he scraps for every ball and he lets every centre-forward know that they have been in a game and maybe we missed his physical presence.”
Belper have been on a terrible run of form lately and were penalised early on when linesman Mr Green called the Belper goalkeeper for handball as he kicked the ball from his hands just outside his own box. However, Grantham wasted the chance, Paul Grimes smashing the free-kick high and wide.
But Grantham were soon ahead when Belper defender Charlie Weir put the finishing touch to an impressive Gingerbreads move on 14 minutes. Centre-back Sam Saunders got the attack started by sweeping up a Belper attack and releasing Lee Potts down the left. Potts drove down the wing before finding the run of Gio Carchedi with a cracking through-ball. Cutting in from the left, Carchedi swept the ball between the keeper and the Belper centre-backs for Paul Grimes, but Weir beat him to it for the own-goal.
Grantham almost went two up when a clearance from the back dropped over the Belper back-line for Paul Grimes to race on to. Cutting in from the right, Grimes was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, with Gio Carchedi looking for a square pass. Grimes went alone but saw the goalkeeper save his shot down low.
On the stroke of half-time Town doubled their lead with another clever move.
This time Lee Potts - who turned in two excellent performances this week - picked up the ball on the edge of the Belper box and scooped a delightful chip over the Belper defence. Central midfielder Rhys Lewis leapt for the ball with Belper keeper Andy Richmond. The sight was reminiscent of Maradona and Peter Shilton in the ’86 World Cup but Lewis went with head rather than hand and looped his header over the stranded keeper and into the net.
The second half was a much less entertaining affair as the wind picked up and both teams, Grantham especially, failed to deal with it. Belper probably created the better chances late on but never really looked like beating Rob Murray.
Ratings: Grantham Town: Murray 8, Purcicoe 7, Potts 9 (Journal Star Man), Brindley 7, S. Saunders 8, Watt 8, Lewis 8, Ball 7, Grimes 8, B. Saunders 8, Carchedi 9; subs - Whitman 7, Maddison 7, Melton 7.