Grantham Town bosses are looking to rebuild squad during summer
Already safe from relegation, Grantham Town’s defeat in the final game of the season at Stalybridge Celtic did no lasting damage.
A single goal just before half time was enough in the end for Celtic to send the Gingerbreads back home with nothing for their efforts.
It was a disappointing finale for the team, the supporters and joint managers Russ Cousins and Paul Rawden.
Rawden said: “It’s not how I wanted our season to end. I wanted a performance, I wanted players to show me why we should be looking at them for next season. We’ve gone out with a sizzle, rather than a bang and it’s disappointing.”
The match was played in poor, windy conditions with driving rain making quality football a difficult task.
Town’s best opportunity of the first half saw Jordan Adebayo-Smith take advantage of a poor back pass, but he was unable to find the target.
The Gingerbreads defended stoutly in general but were undone two minutes into first half added time when Andy Scott turned in a Scott Bakkor cross from close range.
Celtic had more of the chances after the break, when they came, with Town’s best equalising opportunity coming in the 80th minute when Chris Dawson eluded two defenders inside the box but put his shot over the cross bar.
Rawden said: “For the goal, we’ve switched off, they’ve taken a quick corner and instead of pressing them we’ve sat back in the box. It showed a lack of desire.
“As with previous weeks, we’ve not done enough to trouble the opposition keeper; we ain’t going to win games like that.
“But we’ve done what we set out to do and that’s stay in the division. Since coming in, I think we’ve played 10 out of the top 12 sides. And most of the top seven.”
With the campaign done and dusted, Rawden and Cousins know they now have a big and challenging job ahead of them to assemble a squad fit for purpose and ready for a proper assault on the league next season.
Rawden said: “When we came in, it was obvious we were going to need to rebuild. February is a difficult time to get a group together, to galvanise them, to get them playing fully how we want. We couldn’t also be chopping and changing too much, especially once the registration window closed.
“Over the summer, it shows we’ve got a big rebuilding job to do. The facts of the season don’t lie – most goals conceded, least goals scored. It shows we have to improve all over the pitch.
“There are some good lads in the squad that we’re hoping to keep, but we do need to go out and sign six or seven players which can help us.”
+ Following the Gingerbreads’ final home game on Easter Monday, the club held its end-of-season awards.
Grantham Town chair-man Nigel Wedgwood retitled the Supporters Player of the Season Award as the Frank Baxter Cup, named after the Gingerbreads’ former chairman and director from the most successful period in the club’s history. The first recipient of the trophy was skipper Tom Ward.
Mr Wedgwood also introduced the Jack Macartney Award for the top goalscorer of the season, dedicated to the club legend who scored 415 first team goals in 11 seasons. This season’s award went to Danny Durkin.
Ian De’ath received the George and Marge Freeston Award from club director Pete Railton for his tireless work for Grantham Town Supporters’ Club.