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Grantham Town lose at home to 10-man Radcliffe

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Northern Premier League Premier Division

Grantham Town 1

Radcliffe 2

A Grantham Town home win remained elusive as they were defeated by the odd goal in three to 10-man Radcliffe who played the majority of the game without their regular goalkeeper after he was red carded early on.

The visitors showed more going forward in the opening exchanges but the Gingerbreads defence looked composed and in control.

Radcliffe had the first chance on goal in the fourth minute but Prince Haywood drove his effort over the target.

A mistake in Grantham's midfield gifted the ball to Radcliffe in the 10th minute, the consequent quick break ending with the visitors' top goal scorer Robert Grant firing just wide.

Town's first attempt on goal was an ambitious effort from Ricky Miller from more than 30 yards on 14 minutes.

A minute later, Grantham keeper Jim Pollard was swift to smother the ball before the onrushing Grant could get a boot to it.

The Gingerbreads had another opportunity in the 17th minute but Finley Shrimpton's shot was charged down.

Two minutes later and the visitors were down to 10 men after their keeper Cameron Belford pushed Miller over. Belford did not help his cause when he subsequently did the same to Greg Smith right in front of referee Mr Saunby who reached straight for his red card.

Radcliffe defender Tom Miller took over the gloves but rather confusingly was allowed to continue wearing an outfield shirt for the remainder of the match.

Down to 10 men, Radcliffe were still back on the attack in the 23rd minute, Matthew Crothers' 35-yard free kick bringing a catch from Pollard.

A minute later, at the other end, James Williamson put in a good ball to Ricky Miller at the far post, but he was only able to shunt the ball into the six-yard box where keeper Tom Miller was first to it.

As good a marksman as Radcliffe's Grant may be, most all of his attempts on goal missed by a country mile, including his 26th minute header from a Crothers ball.

Ricky Miller fired wide for the Gingerbreads half a minute later.

Shane Clarke was the first to really test Radcliffe's stand-in goalie, but Tom Miller safely gathered the dangerous bouncing ball.

Jack Moore thumped one over the Grantham bar in the 31st minute, whilst Tom Miller parried Ali Adeymir's 32nd minute shot, but only to Ricky Miller whose cross-cum-shot was deflected wide.

Clarke produced the Gingerbreads' last real chance of the first half on 36 minutes, but fired just wide of the target.

Two minutes later and 10-man Radcliffe went in front from Jack Baxter's 20-yard free kick which deflected off the wall and in past Pollard.

The second half began with Luca Navarro scuffing his shot wide of the Grantham goal from a Haywood cross.

Five minutes in and Ricky Miller powered a strike through a gaggle of players and, almost inevitably, the ball was deflected wide of the target.

Navarro broke quickly down the left for Radcliffe in the 53rd minute but fired his shot straight into the gloves of Pollard.

Gingerbreads fans were finally given a glimmer of hope three minutes later when they equalised through Greg Smith's nonchalant lob over the keeper.

Suddenly Grantham seemed to grow in stature with a new, confident air about them; Radcliffe sensed this possible change in fortunes and sat back and soaked up the pressure.

However, the visitors need not have worried as they restored their lead in the 61st minute. Pollard pulled off a fantastic reaction save only to see the rebound fall to Navarro who fired in an unstoppable close range strike.

Radcliffe broke again two minutes later but once more Grant blasted over the bar.

The Gingerbreads then enjoyed a good 25-minute spell with a flurry of opportunities.

Substitute Jonathan Wafula's 65th minute header was an easy save for Tom Miller, who three minutes later then caught Elliott Durell's cross-cum-shot at the far post. Town's best chance to draw level again came on 69 minutes but Tom Miller miraculously saved with his feet from Adeymir's low rocket of a shot.

Thomas Unwin headed wide from a Durell free kick in the 71st minute as Town continued to pressure, whilst Tom Miller was down quickly to smother Durell's shot after a promising solo run.

A minute later, Ricky Miller broke away and set up Durell but this time Tom Miller tipped the ball over the bar.

Grantham sub Lauric Diakiese had his 77th minute shot charged down at close range whilst a minute later, at the other end, Grant missed again, this time spectacularly from a sitter in the six-yard box, firing over the bar.

The Gingerbreads had another good chance to level on 80 minutes, but Wafula's thumping shot was met with an equally powerful header straight back out by a Radcliffe defender.

Another opportunity for Town came five minutes later, but Adeymir miskicked under pressure.

A 90th minute free kick from 25 yards set up Durell to be something of a hero, if only to rescue a point, but his impressive strike cracked against the bar.

The Gingerbreads had a couple more chances in added time but it was not to be their day.

Grantham Town: Pollard, Adeymir, Grant, Clarke, Unwin, Williamson, Durell, Shrimpton (Wafula 54), Smith (Diakiesse 66), Miller, Burkitt (Williams 83). Subs not used: Adebayo. Att: 268.

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