A goal in each half gives Grantham Town victory at Handsworth
By Graham Cowell
Handsworth 0 Grantham Town 2
Gingerbreads fans were able to watch their side for the first time since March as pre-season continued at Handsworth on Saturday.
Twenty-five travelling supporters saw a comfortable win with goals 13 minutes into the game and from the end.
“I thought we might still be a bit sluggish with it only being the second match,” said Town manager Martin McIntosh. “But they’ve really surprised me. We looked a lot sharper and it was a good workout.”
The Gingerbreads again used a large squad with second half substitutions changing the personnel, but not the style, after the break.
Grantham had the ball in the net after only two minutes. Remaye Campbell got on the end of a cross from the right. His shot was saved by Greaves in the home goal, the loose ball turned in by Ash Worsfold. An offside flag against Worsfold ruled the goal out.
From the word go, Grantham dominated the game against a very young Handsworth side. Crosses from both sides caused problems for the hosts, with Grantham hitting the bar before they took the lead after 13 minutes.
Campbell picked up a through-ball and spotted Greaves off his line. The Gingerbreads striker notched his second goal of pre-season with a delightful lob from 35 yards out.
Despite Grantham’s dominance at the back, Jan Budtz had to be alert to save from Hobson after seven minutes. He also had to come quickly off his line to snuff out the danger when Austin and Smith combined to release the former behind the Gingerbreads defence.
The first half evened out in terms of chances as half time approached. Worsfold brought another save from Greaves whilst, at the other end, Michael Hollingsworth blocked another effort from Austin.
A flurry of chances after the break could have seen both sides grabbing early goals.
Inside the first 10 minutes of the second period, Greaves saved smartly from a shot after a quick turn by Worsfold, and good work in midfield set up Campbell but he fired wide of the target.
At the other end, the Gingerbreads almost undid themselves. A mistake by Ben Middleton let Smith in and he laid the ball off to Howard. Good covering by the Grantham defence snuffed the chance out.
Austin was again involved in the best move by Handsworth. His interplay with Howard set up Smith, but he fired over the bar.
Substitutions took some edge off the game until Harry Middleton turned up the pressure on the home side. Grantham started to look dangerous with Liam Hardy and Luke Hinsley combining to release Shane Clarke, but Greaves was quickly off his line to gather the ball. Harry Middleton sent Hardy free, but the pass was just too long.
Thirteen minutes from the end, Harry Middleton took matters into his own hands. His driving run from midfield took him past two challenges inside the penalty area. He fired a low shot which may have gone just inside the far post with Greaves beaten, but in any case was turned into his one net by a desperate Handsworth defender.
After Howard scooped a shot over the Grantham crossbar, Middleton almost added a second. He went past a challenge again inside the penalty area and drove a fierce shot goalwards. This time Greaves made a great save to beat the ball away.