MRHA East Midlands 2 (2nd)
Grantham 2nd 6
Ashbourne 2nd 3
CAPTAIN Paul Hollingworth grabbed five goals as Grantham emerged victorious in an end-to-end match against Ashbourne at The Meres, picking up their first points since the winter break.
Grantham went into the break 2-0 up thanks to an Andy Nix strike and Hollingworth’s break, with Ashbourne unhappy to see a goal disallowed on the stroke of half time.
But they hit back soon after the break with a shot that went in off the post, but Grantham responded in kind with Hollingworth poking home from close range.
The goal of the half, and arguably the game, came soon after as a delightful, sweeping passing move, with youngsters Ben Willey and Will Hill heavily involved, found Hollingworth in space with only the goalkeeper to beat and his first-time shot sealed his hat trick.
Ashbourne went on to score two further goals to give Grantham a few nervy moments but each time Grantham responded with the Ashbourne defence unable to deal with live-wire Hollingworth up front. Solid work from midfielders Nick Wraith, Mark Gray, Tom and Alex Scotney gave him two further chances which he took with clinical precision to ensure there was no way back into the match for the visitors.
Grantham 2nd 2
IN a game that was rearranged from before Christmas, Grantham took another three points as Paul Hollingworth scored two more goals to take his personal tally for the weekend to seven.
A tighter game required Grantham to be on their mettle to hold on for a win that saw them start 2011 in positive fashion.
MRHA East Midlands 2 (1st)
Market Harborough 23
AN early start in Market Harborough meant that Grantham’s first team could only raise eight players for a tough trip to the promotion chasers – and they were duly despatched by the Leicestershire side.
The match, if it can be so called, was quickly over as Market Harborough struck quickly to take the lead although Grantham matched them for work-rate and determination throughout the match, despite conceding goals at regular intervals.
The goals came throughout the match, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Will Leadenham and defenders Graham Johnson, John Pennington, David McDonald and Dan Atkinson.
The midfield duo of Chris Keogh and David Nix tried desperately to hold their own and Alex Clark, feeding off crumbs at centre-forward, had a fine game, holding the ball up on many occasions, and often it required two and sometimes three defenders to disposses him.
In the second half, with Grantham tiring and being found out of position, goals continued to rain for Market Harborough but the visitors took solace in managing to win a short corner and getting a couple of shots away.