Grantham Town forced to settle for a share of the spoils
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 1
Ashton United 1
Grantham Town were forced to be generous in Christmas spirit after they shared the points with their visitors on Saturday.
The Gingerbreads dominated for much of the game, with countless chances going unrewarded. Town finally went in front in the second half after the goalless stalemate had started to look like ending that way, but they conceded with 10 minutes remaining and so dropped two points.
The game started apace, dictated by Grantham, at a sun-drenched Meres and Town had their first chance three minutes in when Lee Shaw had his shot repelled. Shaw headed the ball in the net two minutes later but the goal was ruled outside for offside.
Ashton first posed a rare threat in the 18th minute but Town keeper Kieran Preston was equal to Nicky Platt’s dangerous cross and plucked the ball from the air at the far post. Preston was in action again 10 minutes later to tip Nick Evangelinos’ effort around the post.
Otherwise, it was mainly Grantham on the offensive. One of their best chances of the match was somehow squandered, with Shaw just unable to guide Danny Meadows’ shot on target on 35 minutes.
Tom Batchelor headed wide for the Gingerbreads in the 39th minute, whilst their last opportunity of the half saw Shaw’s shot deflect off a defender with five minutes remaining.
The temperature plummeted after half time but Grantham kept the pace hot, only foiled by some exemplary defending by Ashton.
John Pritchard curled in a dangerous free kick for the visitors in the 59th minute, but Preston rose majestically to punch the ball clear from danger.
Town continued to pump wave after wave of attacks but still with no reward.
Shaw’s 70th minute strike somehow rose over the bar, but three minutes later he put the Gingerbreads in front, latching on to a Jordan Hempenstall ball and firing home from the centre of the box.
With Ashton never really looking like scoring throughout, Gingerbreads fans might quite reasonably have thought that all three points were as good as in the bag – but they were not.
Ashton broke from the right flank and Preston made an excellent reaction save to repel Evangelinos’ close range header, but the Grantham keeper was beaten by the same player who got the result from his boot this time.
There were 10 minutes remaining, plus four more added on by referee Mr Dadley, during which Town’s best chance of stealing victory came in the 89th minute and saw substitute Rhys Lewis’ shot blocked following a good solo break into the box by Shaw.
The final minutes ticked down all too quickly for the Gingerbreads who had to be content with half of the spoils.
Grantham Town: Preston, Potts, Luto, Batchelor, Galinski, Hollingsworth (Lewis 70), Meadows, Wright, Hempenstall (McMenemy 76), Shaw, Burrows. Subs not used: Thompson, Curtis, Da Bastos Silva. Att: 287.
l Grantham Town’s Boxing Day match was called off due to a waterlogged pitch at Shaw Lane.