Grantham Town hold league leading Mariners to a draw
Northern Premier League Premier Division
South Shields 1
Grantham Town 1
Grantham Town worked hard for their point at league leaders South Shields on Saturday, playing in front of a crowd of more than 2,000.
Despite going behind in the first half, dogged determination kept Grantham in the game and allowed the Gingerbreads to earn a deserved point through Craig Westcarr's third goal in two games.
"We conceded once to their gameplan," said player-coach Francois Zoko. "But we kept to our game and deserved the point."
The Gingerbreads had two early chances to take the lead. Danny Racchi caused the home side problems with great delivery from corners. After six minutes, Rob Atkinson met a flag kick with a powerful header that hit the post, with South Shields goalkeeper Myles Boney beaten. From the next corner, James Berrett made space for a shot that forced Boney to save low to his left.
The Mariners scored during a good spell of pressure. Craig Baxter and Robert Briggs set up Oluwasanmi Odelusi, but he headed just wide. After 15 minutes, the home side took the lead.
Nathan Lowe turned away from the Gingerbreads midfield and exchanged passes with Jason Gilchrist. From the edge of the penalty area, Lowe fired past Town keeper Sam Andrew.
South Shields played a patient game, passing the ball well in front of the Gingerbreads.
A solid shape and determined work, as Grantham defended deep and in numbers, frustrated the home side. Despite dominating possession, South Shields could not create goalscoring opportunities.
Seven minutes before the break, Grantham almost nicked a goal. The Gingerbreads broke quickly from defence and Westcarr sent a through-ball for Remaye Campbell. The Gingerbreads striker was only just beaten to the ball by home goalkeeper Boney.
Andrew was called into action immediately after the break.
Two minutes into the second half, Lowe delivered a cross into the Gingerbreads six yard box that ricocheted off Atkinson. Andrew had to react quickly to keep the ball out of his net.
After 56 minutes, Westcarr and Adam Smith combined to send Campbell through again. Boney was quick off his line again to deny the Gingerbreads striker.
A minute later, it was Andrew's turn to deny the opposition's striker as Gilchrist set up Baxter. Andrew got down well to his right to keep the Gingerbreads in the game.
The second half developed the same way as the first. South Shields moved the ball around well, but could not break down resolute defending by the Gingerbreads. The home side got frustrated and Grantham took advantage.
With 17 minutes to go, the Gingerbreads equalised. A cross into the penalty area dropped for Westcarr. The Gingerbreads striker drilled his shot low into the corner of the net.
The Mariners immediately reacted and raised the temperature. Twice in two minutes, low crosses into the Gingerbreads six yard box caused problems for Grantham. Andrew got his body in the way of Lowe's delivery and wasteful shooting cleared the danger for Grantham.
Six minutes from time, Grantham almost snatched a winner. Declan Dunn won the ball and picked out Campbell. From a good position, Campbell put his shot wide of the target.
The home side had one more chance as the game moved into added time.
Substitutes Adam Thurston and Lee Mason combined to deliver a cross for David Foley. A combination of Tom Ward, Atkinson and Andrew blocked his shot and smuggled the ball out of danger to ensure the Gingerbreads took the point they deserved.
Report by Graham Cowell