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Grantham Town are thrashed at home by Dolly Blues

Northern Premier League Premier Division

Grantham Town 2

Lancaster City 7

Action from Grantham Town's defeat to Lancaster City at The Meres on Saturday. Photo: Toby Roberts (50521945)
Action from Grantham Town's defeat to Lancaster City at The Meres on Saturday. Photo: Toby Roberts (50521945)

By Graham Cowell

The Gingerbreads were second best all afternoon and ended up thrashed by a Lancaster City side who just had too much time throughout the 90 minutes.

The team performance from Grantham left manager Carlton Palmer fuming after the game.

“The level of performance is not acceptable,” said Palmer. “You can’t expect to win games if you don’t do the basics like working back, tackling and challenging. We were second to everything today and we could have been beaten by more. I’ve told the players that is not good enough. If they don’t do better, I will have no hesitation in moving them on and getting new players in. I won’t accept that.”

Lancaster pressed the Gingerbreads back from the first whistle. Liam Brockbank had the first shot after the visitors forced two corners in the first three minutes. His shot did not trouble Jim Pollard in the Grantham goal. Pollard was in action again after 11 minutes. Rhys Turner ran easily through the Grantham defence, but Pollard turned his shot round the post.

Grantham’s first attack led to the opening goal. A long throw from Adam Chapman was missed by Dolly Blues goalkeeper Matthew Alexander and fell nicely inside the six yard box for Brad Grayson to stab home.

The lead only lasted seven minutes. Brockbank beat Ollie Skinner to the ball and delivered a low cross to the edge of the Grantham six yard box. Sam Fishburn showed good control to make room to turn and shoot past Pollard.

Michael Williams had an effort turned round the post by Alexander a few minutes later. He gathered a pass from Skinner and hit a shot to the near post that Alexander got down well to turn away for a corner.

Both sides missed free headers around the half hour mark. Lancaster should have taken the lead on 27 minutes when Samuel Bailey took the ball wide on the Grantham right. His cross was perfect for Turner's run across the Grantham defence but, with no challenge, the Lancaster striker headed wide of the target.

Four minute later, AJ Adelekan arrived at the far post when a corner beat Alexander, but the Grantham defender also could not hit the target.

Finding the net began to be no problem for the visitors from five minutes before the break. Paul Dawson gave Lancaster the lead, Brockbank’s initial shot was deflected to him, and he fired fiercely past Pollard. Two minutes before half time, Brockbank got his goal. Chris Sloan played him through the Grantham defence to make it 3-1 at half time.

Two half time changes for Grantham were quickly followed by a third as Williams went off only four minutes into the second half with a hamstring pull.

The re-organised Gingerbreads quickly fell further behind on 53 minutes when Turner initially beat Adelekan, only for the Grantham defender to tackle as Turner shot. However, the ball only ran to Fishburn who slotted home comfortably.

Just after the hour, Grantham conceded again. A simple corner move was rolled towards the penalty spot. No-one picked up Dawson and he chose his spot for a fifth Lancaster goal.

Again, Grantham pulled a goal back with their first attack of the half. A deep free kick was headed back into the danger zone from beyond the far post. Nathan Modest was in the right place to pull one back for Grantham.

Two goals in two minutes completed the rout for Lancaster. A farcical own goal from Rory Coleman on 66 minutes made it six. Coleman was under no pressure inside his own penalty area but looped his header over a stranded Pollard.

Two minutes later, Fishburn completed his hat trick. A run across the Grantham defence to the near post was followed by a neat finish.

Lancaster could have added more goals in the last 20 minutes. Charlie Bailie had his shot cleared off the line after he was given the ball by Ali Ademir. Pollard made a good save to deny Fishburn his fourth, Ben Anderson just missing the target from the loose ball.

Nico De Girolamo did well to deny Fishburn when Bailey opened up the Gingerbreads again for the striker, and Bailie will think he should have done better, missing the target when he was allowed a run in on goal.

Grantham had hit the woodwork twice from two corners in the 78th minute. Jack Walters hit the post, then the crossbar denied the Gingerbreads, but the game was gone by that point.

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