Grantham Town are defeated at league leading Buxton
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Grantham Town 0
By Graham Cowell
Saturday’s visit to league leaders Buxton ended with the Gingerbreads confirmed as finishing the season at the foot of the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
With three games to go, they cannot catch anyone in the league.
Caretaker Manager Matt Chatfield was left disappointed by the performance. “We spend all the week preparing the team for the opposition we are going to face,” Chatfield said. “We went through video showing what Buxton do and still on the day, we had four, five, six, who just didn’t do enough.
"They played their system well, but we have got to be more coy to things; we have experienced players, and they have to take the reins more on the pitch.”
The pattern for the game was set fairly early as the Bucks got early chances off the back of mistakes by Grantham.
A free kick was conceded in the opening minute that Tom Elliott delivered into the Grantham penalty area for Dan Cowan. Cowan could only direct his header at Towl goalkeeper Jim Pollard.
A few minutes later, a poor header from Ashton Hall gave Diego De Girolamo a sight of goal, but the Gingerbreads defence did enough to block him out at the expense of a corner.
Lee Shaw did manufacture an early chance for the Gingerbreads after eight minutes. He robbed Josh Granite and got a shot away, but covering defenders turned his effort wide of the goal.
There was no mistake from the home side on 11 minutes. They moved the ball quickly straight down the middle of the pitch. James Hardy played a through-ball for Ash Chambers. He went one-on-one with Pollard and slipped his shot past the Grantham keeper for the opening goal.
After Warren Clarke curled a shot wide of the Grantham goal, the Gingerbreads created a threat to the Buxton target. A quick break saw Jonathan Wafula feed Matthew McBride on the right. McBride put a cross into the Buxton penalty area, but there was no purple shirt there to make the most of the chance. A minute later, Elliott Durrell strode through the centre of the Buxton defence, but fired wide of the target.
Buxton came straight back at Grantham and doubled their lead. DeGirolamo saw a shot turned behind for a corner. He went for a short pass from the flag kick and controlled the ball inside the Grantham penalty area before slotting home his shot.
The Gingerbreads got some control of the game in their own third of the pitch for the remainder of the first half. They prevented Buxton from making the most of the possession they enjoyed, and Pollard was not tested further.
Chances on the back of this foundation were few. Buxton kept Grantham facing away from the goal and the Gingerbread only had crosses from McBride and Durrell that found no-one to show for their play.
After the break, Grantham slowly lost their foothold in the game. They gave possession away easily and Buxton spent a lot of time in the Gingerbreads half of the pitch. The Grantham defence worked hard to limit them to few shots, but around the hour mark the home side began to turn the screw, with Chambers and Matt Curley forcing Pollard into action.
De Girolamo got his second goal of the afternoon on 64 minutes. The Gingerbreads were beaten down the right-hand side and the cross into the Buxton top scorer was perfect for him to hit his shot into the back of the net.
With 12 minutes to go, De Girolamo could have had his hat trick. He got in again behind the Grantham defence and beat Pollard, but good covering from Hall saw the Grantham defender clear the ball off the line.
Pollard had to work hard to keep Buxton out as they looked for more goals. He made good saves from Nathan Fox and De Girolamo as the game drew to a close.
The Gingerbreads had a late chance for an equaliser. Inside the last five minutes, Ali Aydemir found some space inside the Buxton penalty area. He got a shot away, but Theo Richardson was in the right place to keep Grantham off the scoresheet again.