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Grantham Town progress in the FA Trophy

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FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round

Mickleover 0

Grantham Town 1

GTFC (41161164)
GTFC (41161164)

By Graham Cowell

Playing against 10 men for 75 minutes, Grantham did enough to progress to the first round proper of the FA Trophy at Mickleover.

The Gingerbreads took advantage of the sending off of Pablo Mills to keep a clean sheet and see off the challenge of their league rivals.

On a new 3G surface, the game had a relatively slow tempo about it from the start. Both sides had early chances, Mickleover’s Kemy Augustien turned on the edge of the Grantham penalty area on five minutes but lifted his shot over the crossbar.

Mickleover goalkeeper Callum Hawkins was called into action a minute later. From a Josh Render goal kick, Jonathan Wafula headed on for Lee Shaw to run in on goal. Hawkins blocked the Grantham striker's effort and the home side cleared their lines.

The Gingerbreads looked the livelier in front of goal. From a corner, Finley Shrimpton delivered the ball back into the danger zone where Wafula volleyed narrowly over the bar.

Mills got his marching orders from referee Mr Davies after 14 minutes when Wafula beat the home defender and was dragged down as he went clear of Mills. Shrimpton fired the free kick on target, but again Hawkins denied Grantham.

Mickleover retained an attacking look to their line-up, keeping two forwards on the pitch and it was one of those, Augustien, who had a chance to put his side in front a minute after Mills was dismissed. A deep cross picked him out but his header went wide of the mark.

Grantham kept Hawkins busy as they looked to make the most of their one man advantage. Rod Orlando-Young had an impressive debut for the Gingerbreads and forced Hawkins to concede a corner with a shot from 22 yards out. Wafula again sent Shaw through on 21 minutes, but again the Mickleover goalkeeper was well placed to take Shaw’s shot.

The opening goal came on 29 minutes. A good deep cross to the far post by Ali Aydemir was headed back across goal by Wafula. Jake Wright had got away from his marker and had time to pick his spot before driving home to put Grantham in front.

The rest of the first half was a series of close-run efforts as both sides largely cancelled each other out. Wafula almost capitalised on hesitance between Hawkins and Will Robinson, but the home defence recovered. Render pawed away a cross from Roger Lee, the loose ball just evading Augustine, then Shaw headed over the top from Orlando-Young’s cross.

Mickleover made life difficult for Grantham after the break. They worked hard all round the pitch and kept the Gingerbreads largely at arm’s length. The tone of the half was set in the first 10 minutes. Mickleover forced three corners and created half chances for Augustien and Mason Warren but could not find the target.

Grantham were restricted to few opportunities inside the Mickleover penalty area. Orlando-Young continued to look dangerous on the left-hand side. A teasing cross just before the hour mark eluded both Wafula and Shaw.

Dexter Walters came into the game soon after, the Mickleover winger creating two chances in short succession. He ran at the Grantham defence and got the ball through to Stuart Beavon; Render was well positioned to save Beavon’s low shot.

The Grantham goalkeeper was on his toes again a minute later when Walters beat Aydemir and curled in a shot that would have crept under the crossbar but for a good save by Render.

Orlando-Young and goalscorer Wright combined with 13 minutes remaining to deliver another teasing cross. This time Wafula got to the ball but could not get his header on target.

The home side pressed hard for a late equaliser but good defending in the centre from Henry Eze and AJ Adelekan limited their chances.

As time began to run out, Ben Lewin put in a fine far post cross. Beavan had more time than he took and, with a free header, missed the goal.

Bobby Battison went past four challenges a minute late before Adelekan got a foot in to stop him and ensure a Grantham victory.

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