Two first half goals are the undoing of Grantham Town against Ashton United

Grantham Town's Jamie McGhee (right) comes under pressure from an Ashton United defender at The Meres on Saturday. Photo: 872C
Grantham Town's Jamie McGhee (right) comes under pressure from an Ashton United defender at The Meres on Saturday. Photo: 872C
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Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Grantham Town 0

Ashton United 2

Grantham Town sank to fourth from bottom of the league, with two first half goals proving enough to give Ashton victory. The Gingerbreads enjoyed a lot of possession after the break but were unable to find the back of the net.

Town had a couple of very early half-chances, with Jamie McGhee trying his luck from distance and skipper Ben Saunders half-volleying to Ashton keeper Paul Philips.

The visitors struck in the third minute when the dangerous looking Matty Kosylo sliced through the Grantham defence. Town keeper James Martin closed him down but Kosylo slotted in with aplomb.

The Gingerbreads tried to find a way through. McGhee put in a good, curving ball into the box on seven minutes, forcing Philips to punch clear. Philips was alert to pluck Alex Troke’s volleyed cross into the box from the air, with Ben Saunders lurking close by.

Town had another opportunity on 21 minutes. Sam Saunders got a header to a long free kick, from which Rhys Lewis headed downwards at goal, but once again Philips had a safe pair of hands.

At the other end, Martin pulled off a good diving catch to deny Tom Baker in the 26th minute.

There was no Grantham player on the end of McGhee’s free kick into the box on the half hour mark, and Ben Saunders lobbed well over the United bar a minute later. Martin made another excellent save to deny Kosylo a second goal, just getting his fingertips to tip the ball wide of the target.

Thomas Moore fired his 39th minute free kick straight to Martin and, at the other end, Damien Magee had a go from 20-odd yards but pulled his effort wide.

Ashton doubled their lead on 42 minutes with a copycat goal, this time Scott Hogan scythed through Town’s midfield and defence before powering in stylishly.

The visitors had a couple of chances early in the second half, but both Baker and Matty Barlow saw their attempts go off target.

Under pressure from three Ashton defenders, Karl Demidh dragged his 51st minute shot wide. At the other end, Martin denied Ashton a third goal on the hour, saving from substitute Chris Denham’s close-range header.

The Gingerbreads enjoyed more possession as the second half wore on, but Ashton sat back and soaked up the pressure when it came.

McGhee sliced his 74th minute volley wide and Town looked like pulling a goal back two minutes later. Substitute Sam MacVicar broke away down the right and whipped a ball across the face of the Ashton goal, but Philips gathered before Ben Saunders could get to the ball.

Ben Saunders volleyed over in the 79th minute whilst his keeper Martin made an excellent save to prevent Baker getting on the scoresheet with nine minutes remaining.

Grantham had a couple more opportunities in the dying minutes. Philips plucked the ball from Ben Saunders’ head in the six-yard box with a minute of normal play remaining, and substitute Jermaine Hollis whipped the ball in across the face of goal, but MacVicar was unable to get any direction to his injury time header.

Grantham Town: Martin, Asher, Magee, Meikle, Watt, Troke (Nwadike, 71), Lewis (Hollis, 33), S. Saunders, Demidh (MacVicar, 65), B. Saunders, McGhee. Subs not used: Brindley, Hannigan. Att: 222.