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Grantham Town lose for first time this year

Northern Premier League Premier Division

Grantham Town 0

Lancaster City 3

All hands to the pump as Grantham Town, in black and white, attack the Lancaster City goal. Photo: Toby Roberts (26495534)
All hands to the pump as Grantham Town, in black and white, attack the Lancaster City goal. Photo: Toby Roberts (26495534)

Grantham Town suffered their first defeat of 2020 against title-chasing Lancaster City at The Meres on Saturday.

The two sides looked well matched in the first half, with a single goal to the visitors being the only difference, as City showed preciouos little of how they have achieved their lofty position.

However, the Dolly Blues had a real determination in them after the break, which was rewarded with two more goals to which Grantham had no reply.

A strong wind played a major part in the game and the Gingerbreads had it behind them in the first half.

There was some confusion in the Grantham box in the third minute following a Lancaster free kick, with goalkeeper Jon Worsnop missing with his punch and Rob Atkinson finally clearing the danger at the expense of a corner kick.

Two minutes later, at the other end, Town had a good chance but neither of two players was able to get a touch to Remaye Campbell's squared ball.

Connor Bartle's long throw-ins caused City some consternation throughout, one such throw being headed goalwards by Rob Atkinson in the sixth minute, only for keeper Sam Ashton to tip the ball over the bar.

The Gingerbreads continued to have more going forwards, with skipper Craig Westcarr's 12th minute snap shot forcing a save out of Ashton.

In the 18th minute, Declan Dunn's curling corner kick landed on the roof of the City net thanks to the gusting wind.

Dunn conceded a corner four minutes later. Taken by Robert Wilson, his opposite number Atkinson headed the ball clear.

Another Bartle throw, in the 28th minute, dropped right into the Lancaster six yard box, but Ashton was quick to snaffle the ball.

A short spell of City pressure slowly dissected the Grantham defence and in the 29th minute Bartle conceded a corner. Taken by Wilson again, it was poked home by Matt Blinkhorn in a goalmouth scramble to give the visitors the lead.

Town defender Adam Smith's 32nd minute free kick was caught by Ashton whilst, two minutes later, Westcarr blasted his half volley over from close range.

Both sides had several half-chances apiece as the remainder of the half ran down, with still little to choose between the two teams.

However, Lancaster came out for the second half with some real verve and vitality, and obviously did not want to settle for just 1-0.

But the first opportunity of the half went to the Gingerbreads five minutes in, Westcarr putting in a cross towards Jacob Green, only for a defender to stick his foot out and block just in time.

Town keeper Worsnop pulled off a good save in the 56th minute to stop Davis Norris's close range blast.

Exacerbated by playing into the wind, Grantham began to struggle to keep possession, especially with their unrelenting insistence on playing long, high ball tactics.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the 63rd minute. Worsnop saved an initial shot but failed to hold on to the ball. Brad Carsley was first to it and fired home.

Town's heads did not drop and they were next to have a chance three minutes later but Green's shot from the left was cleared off the line. Jack Broadhead then went close with a backwards header which Ashton caught. Substitute Jack Wightwick was beaten to the ball by Ashton from a good Green cross on 76 minutes.

A minute later, at the other end, Worsnop was equal to Norris's 25 yard rocket and saved impressively.

Wightwick had another opportunity in the 82nd minute but he miskicked his effort from the edge of the City box.

The Dolly Blues sealed the three points in the 86th minute. Grantham were caught unawares by a quick break, with Carsley picking up a long ball and firing home when one-on-one with Worsnop.

Grantham Town: Worsnop, Smith, Bartle, Atkinson, McGowan, Dunn (Baxter 90), Berrett, Broadhead, Westcarr (Zoko 84), Campbell (Wightwick 64), Green. Subs not used: Johnson, Rollinson. Att: 202.

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