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Grantham Town lose game in first quarter of an hour

Northern Premier League Premier Division

FC United of Manchester 4

Grantham Town 0

Grantham Town goalkeeper Adnan Kanuric made some good saves but was beaten four times. (24990474)
Grantham Town goalkeeper Adnan Kanuric made some good saves but was beaten four times. (24990474)

FC United of Manchester completed a miserable year on the road for the Gingerbreads with an opening 15 minute blast that destroyed the
Gingerbreads’ tactical plan to nullify the league’s leading scorer.

A better performance for the last hour saw Grantham hold their hosts, but it was not enough as far as joint manager Paul Rawden was concerned.

“The players have to look at themselves.” Rawden said. “They have let the club down. When you give people jobs to do and they don’t do it, they have to look at themselves. The last goal summed up our season. We had the chance to clear the ball, but gave it back to them and conceded a goal. The players we have are good enough. On match days, it seems they freeze.”

Grantham employed a back three with AJ Adelekan given the job of following league top scorer Tunde Owolabi wherever he went.

FC United dominated the early exchanges and it only took seven minutes for Owolabi to get free of Adelekan. He raced into the penalty area and appeared to lose the ball. Grantham failed to clear their lines and Regan Lilley was able to deliver a low ball to the edge of the six yard box for an unmarked Owolabi to turn into the net.

Grantham were under continued pressure as they stood off their promotion-chasing opponents, conceding space inside their own half. FC United exploited that twice within two minutes around the 15 minute mark.

Alex Curran picked up the ball 2 5yards out and exchanged passes with Owolabi. Curran’s final touch gave his strike partner an easy job of tucking away his second goal of the game.

Two minutes later, Grantham were three goals down. Curran ran through the Grantham defence again. Although goalkeeper Adnan Kanuric did well to block Curran, Owolabi was able to lay the loose ball off for Mike Potts to score.

After half an hour, Grantham took off Adelekan and went to a 4-4-2, giving a more solid look to the Gingerbreads.

As half time approached, Grantham threatened to open their account. Craig Westcarr hit a 25 yard free kick just over the top of the FC United crossbar on 37 minutes and, a couple of minutes later, Francois Zoko got through one-on-one with Cameron Belford, but the FC United keeper saved well. As the half time whistle approached, Jack Whitwick hit a shot over the top of the FC United bar.

After the break, FC United continued to dom-inate possession, but a
combination of poor finish-ing, solid work at the back and an element of luck kept the score down. After 51 minutes, Linney drove at the Grantham defence from deep inside his own half. He floated through challenges, but hit the crossbar.

While Grantham limited efforts from the home side, they struggled to create much themselves. James Berrett shot over the bar from outside the penalty area on 69 minutes and, five minutes later, Whitwick found Remaye Campbell but his shot was deflected into the side netting by Belford.

The home side turned up the pressure in the last five minutes, forcing four corners in a couple of minutes, with Jordan Buckley firing across goal and Kanuric making a good save from Chris Doyle. Owolabi headed in from a corner, but the effort was ruled out for a foul on Kanuric.

The fourth goal came as the game went into injury time. Linney played a pass to Finlay Sinclair-Smith. He made space and fired a shot off the inside of the post. A weak clearance by Grantham gave the ball back to FC United and this time Linney’s cross was met by Aaron Morris with a firm strike into the roof of the Gingerbreads net to round off a miserable afternoon for Grantham.

Report by Graham Cowell

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