Grantham Town share the spoils in return match at Meres
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 0
Nantwich Town 0
Grantham Town finally got to play a home match after a hiatus of more than five weeks on Tuesday night.
Following a further succession of postponements since the Gingerbreads’ last match, away to Nantwich on Feburary 24, Grantham this time held The Dabbers to a share of the points.
Having played last Tuesday, Nantwich were not quite as ring-rusty as Grantham but they were unable to repeat last month’s 3-1 home win.
It felt to fans, perhaps, like the beginning of a new season after such a long period of interrupted play, but a chilly Meres night would soon have reminded them that we are not out of the grip of winter just yet.
The game got off to a brisk start, though by no means electrifyingly so, and Grantham had the visitors on the back foot early on, with the exciting looking Samuel Osborne lively on the left flank.
The Gingerbreads’ first goal scoring opportunity came in the fifth minute, but top scorer Lee Shaw overdid his lob over Dabbers keeper Myles Boney.
Each side had an early corner kick apiece, but both chances of creating something were squandered.
Osborne’s 11th minute 25-yard effort went over the bar whilst, at the other end a minute later, there was no Nantwich player in front of goal to get a touch to Joe Mwasile’s cross.
The general pattern of the game was established early on, with the Gingerbreads dominating possession and showing more going forward, and Nantwich always looking very dangerous on the counter-attack.
Jordan Hempenstall got a touch to a corner kick in the 16th minute but it only found the side netting of the Nantwich goal.
Grantham continued to get no reward for their high workrate as Michael Hollingsworth’s 20-yard strike was deflected just wide on 28 minutes.
Nantwich’s frustration started to show when Troy Bourne was yellow carded for a trip on Osborne five minutes later, as the visitors began to exert their strength and physicality in an effort to turn the tide.
But the Gingerbreads defended to the hilt and repelled everything that Nantwich threw at them.
The second half began with a couple of early opportunities for Grantham, but neither produced any results.
Ever-present Nantwich danger man Mwasile broke away in the 51st minute but his intentions were foiled by the home defence.
At the other end, Andrew Wright’s long range shot brought an acrobatic diving save from Boney and, five minute later, Shaw was just unable to squeeze the ball inside the near post from a Danny Meadows cross into the six-yard box.
Shaw’s 60th minute touch to Wright’s 40-yard free kick went straight to the Nantwich keeper, whilst Stephen Jones missed a sitter at the other end two minutes later.
Chances continued to come and go for the Gingerbreads, with Hempenstall unable to control his 70th minute header from Tom Potts’s half-volleyed cross, and Shaw again only touching the ball to Boney from a Stefan Galinski ball over the top. Substitute Zayn Hakeem’s 74th minute strike also went straight into Boney’s gloves.
Grantham looked almost certain to be on for an opening goal in the 78th minute after Hempenstall beat the keeper, but he was dispossessed in the box before he could get a shot off.
There were a few flurries of activity at either end as both sides desperately sought the winner in the final minutes. Wright dragged his hopeful shot just wide in the 90th minute, whilst Dabbers skipper Matthew Bell brought a great reaction save from Kieran Preston two minutes later.
The final chance saw Jack McGovern’s downward header bounce up into the arms of Boney and shortly afterwards referee Mr Wilson brought an end to the proceedings.
Grantham Town: Preston, Meadows, Luto, Potts, Galinski (c), Hollingsworth (McGovern 75), Burrows (Lewis 59), Wright, Hempenstall, Shaw, Osborne (Hakeem 67). Subs not used: McMenemy, Thompson.