Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 4
The chase for a play-off berth continued apace as Grantham Town moved up to fourth in the league after this solid victory.
And some other results also went the Gingerbreads’ way, with suprising defeats for fellow play-off contenders Warrington Town, Farsley Celtic and Shaw Lane.
Grantham had the better of the chances in the first half and took a slender 1-0 lead into the half time break, but they opened the goal taps in the second half to exert their authority for a deserved win.
Curtis Burrows, last Thursday night’s two-goal hero at Shaw Lane, had the ball in the Barwell box in the first 30 seconds, but his cross had no ready recipient.
Barwell also had an early opportunity, with Mitchel Piggon heading on to the roof of the net from a Ryan Nesbitt free kick in the second minute.
Town’s next chance saw skipper Stefan Galinski thump his header into the arms of Barwell keeper Liam Castle from a Burrows corner kick.
The game settled down a little, Barwell next troubling the home side in the 16th minute when keeper Kieran Preston pulled off a great save to just tip Nesbitt’s free kick over the bar.
At the other end, Burrows unleashed from 20 yards to bring an overhead catch from Castle in the 23rd minute. Burrows had another shot charged down following a scramble in the Barwell penalty area. Burrows’ 33rd minute free kick was driven straight into the Barwell wall.
The Gingerbreads were rewarded for their efforts four minutes later. Referee Mr Guest missed or chose to ignore another shirt pull and play carried on to allow on-loan Zayn Hakeem to turn in the box and shoot in past keeper Castle.
Town had an opportunity to double their lead on 41 minutes but Tom Batchelor’s header went straight to Castle.
Early Grantham pressure in the second half saw Danny Meadows strike the post five minutes in, whilst Batchelor’s thumping downward header beat the keeper but was headed off the line by a defender in the 52nd minute.
The Gingerbreads doubled their advantage a minute later when Hakeem’s curling cross from the left flank defeated keeper Castle and found Meadows who slotted home.
There were fewer chances in the following half an hour, the best being Town substitute Andrew Wright’s 64th minute scorcher over the bar and Barwell striker Matt Stenson’s effort that Preston gathered safely 10 minutes later.
Batchelor’s 80th minute header from a Samuel Osborne corner kick was deflected wide and, a minute later, Galinksi’s arcing header was met with another header off the goal line.
Town went 3-0 up in the 84th minute. Subsitute Osborne beat the offside and latched on to a long ball, confidently rounding the keeper before slotting in with some aplomb.
Somewhat against the run of play, the visitors scored what turned out to be something of a consolation goal in the 88th minute, Stenson cutting through the probably surprised but ultimately submissive Town defence like a ghost and firing in past Preston for 3-1.
However, Grantham restored their three-goal cushion in the first minute of added time. Oliver Luto crossed in the Barwell box to Meadows whose none too aggressive shot still beat Castle – just reward for the two Grantham players’ efforts throughout and a fine end to a dominant all-round performance from the Gingerbreads.
Grantham Town: Preston, Potts, Luto, Lewis (Wright 60), Galinski (c), Batchelor, Meadows, McGovern, Hakeem, Shaw (Hempenstall 84), Burrows (Osborne 71). Subs not used: Hollingsworth, Vince. Att: 319.