HOCKEY: Grantham club back on track against St Ives

Have your say

Grantham got back to winning ways at The Meres, with a Rob Buxton strike handing them a hard-fought victory.

East League 5NW

Grantham 1

St Ives 4th 0

Grantham got back to winning ways at The Meres, with a Rob Buxton strike handing them a hard-fought victory.

Grantham knew before the start that a win would see them leapfrog their opponents while collecting valuable points in what is becoming an increasingly competitive league.

With several absences from the team, Grantham welcomed back Graham Johnson, James Kerr and Nick Wraith, and with Mark Richardson they formed a solid defensive unit that helped keeper Will Leadenham record his second clean sheet of the season.

In an opening 10 minutes reminiscent of Grantham’s previous match at The Meres, the home side started strongly and forced several openings whilst camped within the opposition half.

While St Ives did pose problems on the break, with some pace up front, Grantham were able to deal with the odd breakaway and continue to recycle the ball intelligently.

The interplay between the midfield trio of Sam MacAllister, Andrew Barton and Mark Gray was often slick, and their early dominance in the centre of the park allowed wingers Will Hill and David Nix to utilise the width of the pitch.

The only goal of the game came during this period of Grantham dominance when stand-in centre forward Rob Buxton cheekily found the back of the net with a soft push while facing away from goal.

Buxton’s solid link-up play enabled Grantham to build some good attacks in the game and his goal was well deserved.

Unfortunately, Grantham found the rest of the game much tougher. While a goal sometimes has the effect of settling a team the opposite was true for the men in red and St Ives had a strong end to the half.

This continued into the second part of the game, with Leadenham making some good saves to keep his team in it, while St Ives missed several good chances. Grantham knew what they had to do and when to do it, but putting into action the ideas discussed at half-time proved harder than explaining the ideas themselves.

However, Grantham did play some good hockey, with several sweeping passing moves causing St Ives problems, but they were too infrequent.

The Harrison Green man-of-the match award was shared between MacAllister, Nix, Buxton and Gray, emphasising the team effort needed to get a result.

Grantham now have nine points from seven games, finding themselves in seventh place in the table, five points clear of the drop zone and the same margin from the top.