Grantham Town's pre-season campaign begins to ramp up
Grantham Town's busy period of pre-season games continues with three matches in the space of five days this week.
Last weekend saw the Gingerbreads contest the inaugural South Kesteven Charity Cup competition, losing on penalties in the semi-finals to Harrowby United after the game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Town joint manager Paul Rawden said: “The first half on Saturday was nowhere near good enough from us.
"Yes, their keeper made some great saves, and questionable offside decisions, but we had big words at half time.
"Second half, we threw everything at it, we got the ball down, we moved it wide, we got the ball in, but we didn’t get any luck.
"We must give credit to Harrowby, though, they defended very well and put their bodies on the line.
"The movement for Rodrigo Silva for the goal was brilliant; he nipped round the defenders to flick it in. He’s young and very willing to learn from those around him. He’s a credit to the Academy.
"As we know penalties are a lottery, someone is going to lose. On Saturday it was us.”
Grantham were in action again on Tuesday night when they visited Newark Flowserve in a friendly.
The home side included a number of former Town players including Tom Potts, Danny Meadows and Kyle Dixon.
After going into half time trailing by two goals, Rawden and co-boss Russ Cousins made several changes.
Rawden said: “We partnered Rodrigo with Craig Westcarr this time, whereas on Saturday we tried him alongside Gregg Smith.”
The changes paid off as, by full time, the Gingerbreads had won 3-2. The opening goal came from some good hold-up play from Silva on the left-hand side of the box and his cross found Westcarr’s head to beat the Newark keeper.
The second came after the Gingerbreads had four or five chances from which Flowserve failed to clear. The ball fell to James Berrett at the edge of the box and he fired home.
The winner came after Silva was tripped over in the box, with Westcarr powering the penalty beyond the keeper.
Rawden said: “We again weren’t good enough in the first half.
"Westy and Rodrigo looked good together. We’re trying different things across pre-season as it’s all about finding the best combinations so we’re ready for the start of the season against FC United of Manchester. The club tell me we’re looking for a match sponsor that day, so if anyone is interested, get in touch.”
The Gingerbreads are in action tonight (Friday) and tomorrow. Tonight, a team mainly made up of those players who have played the least minutes, plus trialists, head to Nottingham Senior League side Cotgrave.
Tomorrow sees the third place play-off for the South Kesteven Charity Cup. Kick-off is 1pm at The Meres against Bourne Town.
Admission is £5 for all supporters and The Gingerbread Venue 1874 will be open from 11.30am.
Rawden said: “Both matches give us chance to see players get more minutes and to show us what they can do within a match.”
On Tuesday night, the Gingerbreads host Boston United in a pre-season friendly.
The National League North side have started their own pre-season with two wins out of two, the latest being 3-1 at Worksop Town on Monday night.
Rawden said: “Boston are going to be different type of opposition, they’re going to be stronger and fitter than what we’ll face at the weekend. They’ll be setting the standards we need to be aiming for.”
Season ticket holders will again be able to get in free to the match, if they bring a friend with them. The friend will get in free too.
Season tickets are still on sale and can be purchased by contacting Pat Nixon: firstname.lastname@example.org
More by this authorJohn Burgess