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Grantham Town slip closer to bottom of league after away defeat

Northern Premier League Premier Division

Mickleover Sports 4

Grantham Town 1

Grantham goalscorer Craig Westcarr. (27197911)
Grantham goalscorer Craig Westcarr. (27197911)

By Graham Cowell

Grantham Town slipped closer to the bottom of the table after a bright start faded away.

Although the Gingerbreads were good value for their first half lead, Mickleover Sports took control of the game and the Gingerbreads had no means to wrest it back.

“The first half hour was bright; inventive, we chased people down and played good football,” said joint manager Paul Rawden. “After that, we stopped doing the hard work, sat deeper and deeper and their equaliser was coming.

"We had a couple of injuries and had to re-organise, and completely switched off until 10 minutes from the end.”

The Gingerbreads could have taken the lead in the third minute. They closed down Mickleover and harried their hosts into a mistake. Goalkeeper Oliver Battersby was forced to hurry a clearance and put it to Jack Whitwick inside the penalty area, but he fired wide.

A positive Grantham side put in a good cross a few minutes later for Callum Coyle, but on his return to Grantham, his effort was blocked.

The home side settled and began to get into the game. On 21 minutes, Ryan Nesbitt and Stuart Beavon worked the ball for Patrick Webb at the far post. Keeper Worsnop covered a lot of ground to block Webb’s shot.

Eight minutes later, Grantham had the lead. A free kick into the Mickleover penalty area was flapped at by Battersby and dropped to Craig Westcarr. He controlled the ball well and slotted it past the Mickleover defence.

The home side dominated the game from that point on until the final few minutes. Grantham fell away and showed very little goal threat.

Mickleover passed and held the ball well and chased down Grantham to create goalscoring chances.

Two minutes before they equalised, Anam Verma crossed for Karel Tvaroh at the near post. He flicked the ball on but another good save from Worsnop turned Beavon’s shot on to the crossbar.

A similar move from the Grantham right led to the equaliser. Nesbitt delivered another cross that was flicked on for the unmarked Tvaroh to blast his shot past Worsnop.

An almost immediate reaction from the Gingerbreads could have put them back in front. A good move just before the break saw Whitwick deliver a cross to Westcarr, but this time Battersby did his job and kept Grantham out.

The home side came out after half time on the front foot and Grantham could not get into the game. Westcarr was outnumbered every time the Gingerbreads tried to attack, while Mickleover had time and space to move the ball around comfortably.

Former Gingerbread Andy Wright gave Mickleover the lead 10 minutes into the second half. Two weak defensive headers from a corner only put the ball on his foot 22 yards out under no pressure. A clean strike saw the ball fly into the top corner with Worsnop unable to do anything about it.

Henry Rollinson blocked an effort from Nesbitt and Verma volleyed wide as Mickleover pinned Grantham back, before two goals in two minutes ended the game as a contest.

After 67 minutes, Nesbitt got on to the end of a flick-on and beat Rollinson’s challenge before lifting the ball over Worsnop to make it 3-1.

Two minutes later, it was 4-1. Grantham lost the ball in their penalty area and Beavon fired a shot that took a deflection on its way to nestle just inside the post.

The home side could have added to their tally as Grantham posed no threat. Wright rode two challenges before shooting just wide, then forced another save from Worsnop with a 25 yard strike.

With six minutes left, substitute Lee Hughes beat the Grantham defence to a cross, but his header rolled just wide of the post as Grantham were beaten on the road again.

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