Grantham Town lose for first time this season
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0Whitby Town 4
Grantham Town suffered their first defeat of the season, going down 4-0 to Whitby Town – and finishing with 10 men.
The goal damage was all done in the first half, with the Gingerbreads the aggressors in the second half but gaining no reward for their battling efforts.
The game began in the murk following a sharp shower which made for slippery conditions.
The Seasiders showed their ambitions early on when Bradley Mills curled low to Bradley Fewster in the box, but Tom Ward was there to swiftly dispossess him.
However, a near-copycat move a minute later saw Mills curl in again, this time to Arran Wearmouth who teed up from the edge of the box and fired in past seemingly unsighted Grantham goalkeeper Tom Nicholson.
Still stunned from the early opener, the Gingerbreads were undone a second time two minutes later. Jassem Sukar 's corner kick was met by the darting Daniel Rowe who headed the ball into the ground and up into the back of the net.
Grantham's first real chance came in the 10th minute, but Gregg Smith's ambitious 25-yarder was never going to be a problem for Whitby keeper Shane Bland.
Home captain Danny Racchi also tried his luck a minute later, but fired over from the edge of the box.
The visitors went 3-0 up in the 18th minute. Fewster unlocked the Gingerbreads defence all too easily, turned and fired home.
Granthamhad a couple of opportunities in the 22nd minute. Ward's cross-cum-shot forced Bland to tip over the bar and Bland also got a hand to James Berrett's side-foot volley.
Smith had another chance six minutes later, quickly controlling a long ball, pirouetting and shooting just wide.
The Gingerbreads went 4-0 down under controversial circumstances in the 36th minute. To all but the officials, Fewster looked to be a mile offside when a long ball was delivered upfield to him. He fired in and the goal stood, despite protestations.
Three minutes later, at the other end, Bland dropped a catch and Craig Westcarr pounced, but his shot was blocked.
Westcarr had the ball in the net seconds later but this time an offside flag was swiftly administered.
The final kick of the half saw Wearmouth drive over the Grantham bar in the final second of the third minuteof added time.
AJ Adelekan came on for Westcarr at half time and created a chance immediately from a dangerous long throw into the Whitby box.
It was pretty much all Grantham going forward in the second period, but to no avail, with their next opportunity seeing Smith shoot over from the edge of the box in the 48th minute.
Ward and Wearmouth were both yellow carded after a bit of argy-bargy on the sideline in the 54th minute – and that would not be the last of it.
The Gingerbreads' next two chances were good ones and saw Ward drive a shot off the bar in the 55th minute and, in the 63rd minute, Smith head a Nicholson long free kick goalwards, only for Bland to dive and save at the post.
Smith headed wide again six minutes later, this time from Ward's high ball into the penalty area.
Grantham substitute Ryan Baldwin collected Smith's 71st minute back-heel beautifully, but then slipped on the damp grass just as he unleashed his shot, sending the ball crazily wide.
A rare second half Seasiders foray towards the Grantham goal saw Wearmouth fire wide from 25 yards in the 75th minute.
Wearmouth had been a thorn in Grantham's side throughout, as had several of his team-mates, deceiving naive referee Mr Ricardo time and again with their play-acting. Wearmouth finally got the ultimate reward for his theatrics and histrionics when he got Ward sent off in the 83rd minute.
Already on a yellow, as was Wearmouth from their previous altercation, Ward attempted to kick the ball from under the prostrate Ward. The Whitby number 10, by now unsurprisingly, reacted as though he had been struck with an electric cattle prod. Mr Ricardo was full of sympathy once more, and out came the red card.
The last real action saw Smith still hoping to get at least a consolation goal in the 89th minute, but his header from Baldwin's cross went straight into keeper Bland's arms.
Grantham Town: Nicholson, Green, McGovern, Atkinson (Broadhead 62), Ward, Racchi, Hall (Baldwin 65), Berrett, Westcarr (Adelekan 46), Smith, Baxendale. Subs not used: Tweed, Andrew. Att: 281.