Grantham Town lose to league leaders
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
Farsley Celtic 4
Grantham Town were turned over by top-of-the-table Farsley who extended their lead to three points after South Shields could only manage a draw at home.
The score, however, did not convey the general balance of play which was, on the whole, shared equally.
The Gingerbreads certainly matched the Celts in the first half and were unlucky go into half time a goal down.
However, the scorer of that goal – James Spencer – made rapid work of completing his hat trick early in the second half to effectively put the game to bed with 40 minutes still to play.
Celtic were quickly down to the Grantham goal in the opening seconds, but Dave Syers fired over with the Gingerbreads looking somewhat stunned.
Grantham soon settled in though and Jamie Jackson made a solo break two minutes later, before shooting wide.
Town's next chance came in the 12th minute but Sam Cartwright could only head Danny Brooks' corner kick over the bar.
Four minutes later, at the other end, the Celts' men in orange watched Spencer's dangerous cross-cum-shot be saved by home goalkeeper Sam Andrew.
The match continued fairly evenly balanced and Grantham went close again in the 21st minute with Chris Dawson's corner kick curling into the Farsley goalmouth, however the visitors had a defender head the ball off the goal line.
The Gingerbreads went a goal down on 26 minutes when a defender's wayward header gifted the ball to Spencer who fired in past Andrew.
Grantham were unfazed and kept their composure, as Farsley began to look the more slicker side with their confidence boosted by the goal.
But then Town had their best chance of the match in the 35th minute but, just a few feet from goal, neither Akeel Francis or Jordan Adebayo-Smith could manage to get a shot off with Celts keeper Kyle Trenerry beaten – a golden opportunity to equalise squandered.
Grantham's last opportunity to level in the first half came in the 42nd minute after Francis was pulled back with his shirt by a Farsley defender. Jack McGovern stepped up to take the free kick but put his 25-yard effort over the bar.
Five minutes of madness at the start of the second period sewed the game up for the visitors and sealed Town's fate.
Two minutes in, Spencer was once again gifted the ball and he calmly slotted home.
Town's defence could only stand and watch three minutes later when Spencer curled a delightful shot into the top of the net from just outside the box for 3-0 and his hat trick.
Undaunted, the Gingerbreads fought on doggedly and their next chance came on the hour, but Jackson was just unable to get his head to Francis' cross.
Town continued to advance forward, as Celtic sat back for long periods.
Lively up front and looking most likely to score, neither Jackson, Francis or Adebayo-Smith managed to produce the goods on the day, as there were very few real chances at either end for most of the second half.
That is, until the 80th minute when the orange men marched forward and Chris Atkinson tapped in from a squared ball across the face of goal, following another Grantham defensive lapse.
The Gingerbreads had a couple of final opportunities to score a consolation goal, but it was not to be.
Jackson was unable to get the slight touch needed from a Niah Payne cross-cum-shot in the 83rd minute, the ball instead falling into the outstretched arms of Trenerry.
In the second of three minutes of added time, Trenerry was quickly out to intercept and deny Adebayo-Smith a shot, and then back in position to stop Jackson's shot just in time.
Referee Mr Jones blew his final whistle shortly after to bring some relief from the perishing cold to The Meres faithful.
Grantham Town: Andrew, Green (Payne 53), Bartle, Cartwright, Ward, Brooks (Tweed 50), Dawson (Hogg 57), McGovern, Jackson, Francis, Adebayo-Smith. Subs not used: Miller, Grouse. Att: 229.