Grantham Town dominate visitors to go second in league
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 4
Grantham Town completed a comprehensive victory over Stourbridge and, with other results going their way, returned to second in the league and closed the gap on the leaders.
The entertaining encounter saw the Gingerbreads pressing forward from the kick-off and their first real chance came in the 12th minute from Andrew Wright’s 25-yard attempt, but visiting goalkeeper Matt Gould was equal to it.
Jordan Hempenstall’s header was deflected wide a minute later whilst, at the other end, home keeper Kieran Preston was alert to make a great reaction save to deny Darryl Westlake’s shot success through a gaggle of legs.
Town’s star striker Lee Shaw watched his 16th minute header go just wide, and then saw his lob over Gould bounce up and ping off the woodwork.
The seemingly inevitable opening goal for Grantham came in the 22nd minute when Shaw cut the ball back in the box to Wright who drove it in off the leg of a defender.
For all the Gingerbreads’ early dominance, all their good work looked to be undone in the 33rd minute when Tom Potts was unfortunate to put the ball into his own net.
But that hiccup was quickly forgotten four minutes later. Fine work between Shaw and Samuel Osborne bore fruit when the ball ricocheted out to Danny Meadows who, in space, had time to pick his spot and fired his bobbling effort home past Gould.
Wright’s 39th minute strike was just tipped round the post by Gould, and Preston was sharp to save Luke Benbow’s effort four minutes later.
With the clock ticking down at the end of the first period, it looked to be too late for any more goals until after the half time suck of an orange – but there were two more just over the horizon.
As 45 minutes rolled over, Shaw got his head to a Meadows cross and the Gingerbreads were suddenly 3-1 to the good.
The third minute of time added on by referee Mr Guest saw Hempenstall denied by Gould, but the Stourbridge stopper was no match for Michael Hollingsworth who fired in from the rebound.
The action continued straight from the kick-off of the second half and two minutes in, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Mr Guest adjudged a foul to be just inside the 18-yard box.
Leon Broadhurst stepped up to take the spot kick but Preston pulled off a remarkable save to maintain his side’s three-goal cushion.
Grantham allowed Stourbridge to play a bit more football in the second period, but Preston confidently caught Kaiman Anderson’s 50th minute shot, and Conner Gater’s header struck the crossbar nine minutes later.
At the other end, Meadows’ 63rd minute header was repelled, whilst Osborne fired just wide two minutes later.
There were further chances at both ends as the Gingerbreads defiantly held on to their advantage. Preston tipped a Stourbridge free kick over, off the bar, in the 76th minute, whilst Hempenstall’s 78th minute header curled just wide and Hollingsworth’s 87th minute strike was only a fraction away from the visitors’ goal too.
Grantham’s final assault on the Stourbridge goal came on the stroke of 90 minutes after Shaw was fouled at the side of the box. Oliver Luto curled his free kick straight into the direction of the goalmouth, but Gould made a fine catch.
Once again, the goals looked to have dried up but there was just time for the visitors to pull one back in the final minute of added time when substitute Kyle Perry headed in from a corner kick. Mr Guest blew his final whistle a second after the restart.
Grantham Town: Preston, Potts, Luto, Lewis, Galinski (c), Hollingsworth, Meadows, Wright (Da Silva Bastos 90), Hempenstall (McMenemy 86), Shaw, Osborne (Hakeem 73). Subs not used: Thompson, Martin. Att: 256