Grantham Town go through to league cup semis on penalties
Grantham Town eased themselves through to the last four of the Northern Premier League Integro Cup competition at The Meres on Tuesday night.
The Gingerbreads won with the literally the last kick of the game – a fifth and deciding penalty after 90 minutes of play left themselves and Basford United tied at 1-1.
After what seems to becoming a customary frantic start to the game, Grantham dominated play and exuded the confidence of a Premier Division side over their First Division South rivals.
Town front men Luke Shaw, Felipe Barcelos and Jeremiah Dasaolu impressed with a string of moves that showed promise in the first half.
However, the Nottingham side increasingly looked dangerous on the counter-attack and got their reward on the stroke of half time when former Gingerbread Kyle Dixon came back to haunt them, threading his way through the home defence and slotting in past Town custodian Kieran Preston.
Basford continued apace after the break and Preston had to be alert in the opening minute of the second half to safely catch Mason Coy’s dangerous header.
The game again became fast and furious, ping-ponging from end to end, with both sides having chances aplenty.
Grantham began to exert their superiority again around the hour mark, and with top striker Lee Shaw coming on for Dasaolu, the Gingerbreads displayed a renewed alacrity up front, with Danny Meadows feeding the substitute forward out wide.
The pair teamed up well in the 77th minute, with Lee Shaw flying into the six yard box to try and head Meadows’ cross-cum-shot, which was somehow cleared off the United goal-line in the melee.
Lee Shaw’s pace and dexterity frustrated the visitors to the extent that they were punished with a penalty after the Grantham striker was tripped in the penalty area a minute later.
His namesake, Luke Shaw, stepped up and slotted the spot-kick home to set up another frantic 10 minutes as the two sides searched earnestly for a winner.
Meadows put a long ball through to Lee Shaw in the 82nd minute. Shaw ran in on goal but unselfishly chose to cross to Barcelos, who was unable to stretch to the ball in the six yard box, when a shot himself might have been the wiser option.
Lee Shaw was fouled again in the box in the 88th minute, more clearly so, but referee Mr Reeson saw no reason to even put the whistle to his mouth, and Shaw was left to scrape himself off the pitch.
The last two goal scoring opportunities of the game saw Meadows lift his effort over an open goal on 90 minutes whilst, at the other end, Ben Hutchinson’s header from a long goal clearance forced Preston to tip the ball wide four minutes into added time.
And so the game went straight to a penalty shoot-out.
Grantham scored their first three through Barcelos, Harry Clifton and Luke Shaw, whilst Basford were successful with Hutchinson and Jamie Walker – before United keeper Saul Deeney tried his luck and found himself outwitted by his opposite number, Preston.
Tom Curtis slotted his penalty with aplomb for Town and Fabian Smith did the same for Basford, however, the deciding spot-kick was put away by Gingerbreads skipper Stefan Galinski to win the shoot-out 5-3 and take his side through to the semi-finals.
Grantham Town: Preston, Wildin, Storey (Purcicoe 35), Burrows (Curtis 71), Galinski (c), Meadows, Clifton, Lewis, Barcelos, Dasaolu (Lee Shaw 61), Luke Shaw. Subs not used: Gibbons, Da Silva Bastos. Att: 164.