Grantham Town are frozen out in embarrassing 5-0 home defeat
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
Stafford Rangers 5
Grantham Town suffered an embarrassing defeat to lowly Stafford Rangers who had not won an away league game for three months.
The Gingerbreads were comprehensively beaten at a freezing cold Meres stadium, outplayed all over the park by a side whose ability and clinical finishing belied their position in the table.
It could perhaps all have been different for the home side if Chris Salt's second minute header from a Ross Barrows free kick had not been disallowed for offside.
Town fans' premature cheers turned to jeers when the visitors went in front eight minutes later. Rangers had three corner kicks in quick succession, with skipper Luke Jones finding the back of the net with a bullet header from the final one.
The goal immediately gave Stafford an air of confidence and Grantham were forced to absorb waves of pressure, whilst being unable to send enough traffic back to the opposite end of the pitch.
The Gingerbreads defence was in disarray when Rangers doubled their lead on 20 minutes, with Thomas Thorley heading in off the cross bar.
Town had a chance to pull a goal back when they were awarded a free kick in the 28th minute, but Barrows' 40-yard effort cleared everyone and landed in the arms of keeper Stafford Adam Siviter.
Grantham went 3-0 down a minute later when a long cross went over every defender and keeper Jordan Wright, from where Theodore Bailey-Jones floated in a header.
Town had several opportunities in the final five minutes of the first half. Their first corner kick of the game came to nothing, a Barrows free kick was punched clear by Siviter, Tom Ward's touch from a corner went to the keeper, whilst a final minute free kick also bore no fruit.
The Gingerbreads also had the first chance after the break, but substitute George McCartney's free kick flew straight to Siviter.
Grantham only had 10, instead of 11, men to face when Andrew Haworth received his second yellow card after a 55th minute contretempts with Barrows, who also received a yellow.
Town's next chance of a goal came four minutes later, but Siviter pulled off a great save to tip Charlie Ward's header from a free kick wide of the target.
Despite being a man short, Stafford continued their assault and scored a fourth time in the 65th minute, this time through sub Lewis Banks's header from a Joshua Green free kick.
Five minutes later, it was 5-0. The Gingerbreads failed to defend successfully in a goalmouth scramble after a Green corner kick, and Jake Charles was there to head home from close range.
Town keeper Wright prevented a sixth in the 77th minute, managing to stop Matthew Hill's 25-yard fizzer in its tracks.
Grantham had a couple of last gasp opportunities to get on the scoresheet, but to no avail. Danny Durkin's 86th minute ball set Ryley Thompson running into empty space, but he was adjudged to have been offside, whilst Siviter punched McCartney's dangerous corner kick clear in the final minute of normal time.
Two minutes of added time just added to the misery and cold for Gingerbreads fans, whilst the travelling Rangers supporters were in joyous mood when referee Mr Freeman blew for time.
Grantham Town: Wright, Barrows, Luto (McCartney 23), Bell-Toxtle (Yenibertz 66), C. Ward (c), Salt, Fortnam-Tomlinson (Gibbons 74), T. Ward, D. Durkin, T. Siddons, Thompson. Subs not used: Jaquite, Nassunculo. Att: 247.