Gingerbreads show mettle to come back from the jaws of defeat
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 3
Whitby Town 2
Gingerbreads fans witnessed the best and most exciting game seen at The Meres this season thus far on Saturday, with their team bouncing back from a two-goal deficit to triumph in injury time.
Grantham found themselves on the back foot immediately, with goalkeeper Theo Richardson saving early attempts by Whitby's Dale Hopson and Junior Mondal.
The home side's first chance came in the seventh minute and saw Adam McHugh catch Ryan Oliver's header.
After a further half-chance apiece, Grantham were penalised for handball in the box in the 18th minute and referee Mr Saunby pointed straight to the spot, with Whitby skipper Hopson putting the penalty away.
Grantham's deficit doubled five minutes later when Adam Gell sidefooted into the centre of the net from a Kieran Weledji cut-back; and suddenly it started to feel like the visitors could be on for a hat full of goals.
The Gingerbreads had a let-off in the 26th minute after Ryley Thompson gifted Mondal the ball, but the Whitby number nine's left footed shot came off the foot of the far post.
Keeper Richardson went down injured in the 28th minute which gave Grantham manager Ian Culverhouse the chance to proffer an impromptu team talk on the sidelines.
And it must have worked, as the Gingerbreads pulled a goal three minutes later when Oliver squeezed in a header at the near post from Jack McGovern's 25-yard free kick.
Grantham had a chance to level on 40 minutes but McHugh was equal to Tom Siddons' scissor kick.
McHugh denied Oliver the chance of a close range header a minute later whilst, at the other end, Whitby's last opportunity of the half saw Weledji curl just over the bar in the 43rd minute.
The game became yet more fast and furious after the break.
The Gingerbreads had early chances, with Max Watters slicing a shot over and having a glancing header saved, whilst Oliver's 51st minute cross-cum-shot beat McHugh but landed on the roof of the net.
Grantham finally equalised on 55 minutes when Siddons' cross eluded McHugh and his defence, but not Oliver who poked in for 2-2.
It was end-to-end action for the final half hour, with chances aplenty at either end.
Gingerbread Daniel Horton saw his 20-yard effort saved after a good team break on the hour mark, whilst Hopson's hopeful 72nd minute shot went straight into the arms of Richardson. Siddons' 73rd minute strike from 20 yards was deflected over the Whitby bar.
Richardson was also alert to catch Daniel McWilliams' 79th minute shot at the near post, as a winning goal at either end looked to be on the horizon.
Watters ran solo into the Seasiders' box in the 85th minute but he was pushed off the ball before he could get a shot off, with Mr Saunby seeing no wrong-doing.
A 40-yard Whitby free kick dropped just wide of the far post in the 88th minute, to the relief of the Meres faithful who by now would have been content with a share of the points.
But home supporters were to return home with bigger smiles on their faces than that after substitute Tom Curtis put a ball through to Siddons in the third minute of added time. Siddons headed in past McHugh to signal celebrations all around the ground.
All in all, the Gingerbreads showed great mettle to come back from the brink, and showed how battling it out ball by ball till the final whistle can pay dividends.
The victory lifted Grantham up to fifth place in the league, just two points behind leaders Warrington Town.
Grantham Town: Richardson, Barrows, Luto, Thompson, Ward, Horton (Curtis 74), Watters, McGovern, Oliver, Siddons, McCormick (Acar 68). Subs not used: Gray, Yenibertz, Bastos. Att: 272.