Gingerbreads back in top six after win number three
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 2
Mickleover Sports 1
Grantham Town recorded their third win of the season to move back up into the top six in the league.
It was no easy task as Mickleover arguably played the better football on the night, but the Gingerbreads' resilience paid off in the end as the visitors were frustrated in front of goal almost till the final whistle.
The game soon spooled up to a fast and furious pace with Town having the earliest chances in only the second minute. Tom Ward's header from a Jack McGovern corner kick was headed off the line. Max Watters got a shot off when the ball came back in but Mickleover goalkeeper Lewis King saved.
Six minutes later, at the other end, Grantham keeper Theo Richardson did well to deny Euan Garnet twice within a minute, and then Nathan Jarman.
The game changer came in the 25th minute after Town striker Ryan Oliver was pulled down whilst running on to a ball in the Sports box. Referee Mr Richardson immediately pointed to the spot from where Michael Hollingsworth struck sweetly into the bottom left hand corner.
But the visitors were awarded a penalty of their own eight minutes later after Ward fouled Garnet in the box, despite the Sports forward looking offside. Garnet took the spot kick himself, firing to the bottom left only to see Richardson dive in the same direction and tip the ball wide.
The closest Mickleover went to levelling in the first half came in the 42nd minute when Jarman flashed his header across the face of goal, just wide of the far post.
The visitors went closer still to equalising three minutes after the break. Jimmy Philips was gifted the ball in space outside the box from where he drove a cracking shot off the Grantham bar.
Tom Curtis was not far off with his 52nd minute low strike which rolled so tantalisingly close past the Sports post.
Mickleover's Jarman fired over the bar four minutes later whilst former Gingerbread Curtis Burrows' close range chance was cleared by his former team-mates' defence.
The Gingerbreads' talismanic giant of a captain Tom Batchelor was stretchered off with a leg injury in the 58th minute, being replaced by Ryley Thompson.
Sports had another opportunity to level in the 67th minute but Burrows directed his header straight into Richardson's arms.
That missed chance would have been rued four minutes later when Grantham doubled their advantage. A Cenk Acar shot from a free kick was deflected wide. The ball came back into the box from where Hollingsworth managed to get a clear shot off into the back of the Mickleover net.
Town held on to their two goal cushion until the 89th minute when Garnet, although flanked by two defenders, managed to run through into the penalty area and stroke the ball in past Richardson.
With Mr Richardson pinning on six minutes of added time, there was something of a nail-biting climax as the Gingerbreads sought to cling on to all three points.
Mickleover did keep Town pretty much penned in their own half, but stout defending and an alert Richardson hung in there to claim victory.
Grantham Town: Richardson, Barrows, Luto, McGovern, Ward, Batchelor (Thompson 61), Hollingsworth, Curtis (Everington 73), Oliver, Watters, Acar. Subs not used: Horton, Bastock. Att: 311.