HOCKEY: Grantham defeated at muddy Boston

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Grantham struggled to come to terms with a tricky pitch at Boston, losing to one of their nearest rivals in a typically keenly contested affair.

East League Division 5NW

Boston 5

Grantham 2

Boston started quickest, scoring a simple tap-in following confusion in the Grantham D after the first of many long balls was drilled into the danger area.

More goals were to follow for the home side as Grantham failed to find their feet among the mud at Peter Paine Sports Centre. Twice Boston committed players forward and found their numerical advantage crucial in the final third as long balls found players in space who were able to work it into the goal.

Grantham recovered with a strong showing for the final 15 minutes of the half, Dave Braunton’s cross from outside the D finding its way into the back of the Boston net via a defender’s foot. As the defensive trio of Dave Braunton, Mark Richardson and Rob Buxton got to grips with the pitch, Grantham began to use their possession wisely and looked dangerous for long periods.

However, Grantham suffered a setback immediately after the restart. Losing possession in midfield, they were unable to stop a strong run through the centre and, with defenders slipping on the surface, clearing attempts on goal proved difficult, with one shot finding its way past Will Leadenham.

Grantham fought back hard and shaded most of the second half. Sublime passing moves, involving Mark Gray, Specsavers man-of-the-match Sam Macallister and Alex Clark, played in tireless forward Paul Hollingworth several times, but the luck remained with the home team as stout defending saw Grantham thwarted.

Mark Pearce, making his first team debut having only picked up a stick for the first time in August, offered support from the left wing, while Will Hill was full of running, happy to rotate with forwards and wingers alike throughout the game.

Grantham’s play got the reward it merited later in the half when David Nix converted a penalty corner with a sweetly struck shot to the far post, and he was to see another such strike cleared off the line later in the game.

Soon after, Boston scored a penalty corner of their own, slotting down the middle of the goal with Leadenham, who had a fine game, wrong-footed in the mud.

Both teams were evenly match throughout and Grantham can consider themselves unlucky to have gone down by such a margin. Boston used home advantage smartly but Grantham will be confident of being able to turn things around at the Meres.

Despite the defeat, as all but two matches in the league were drawn, Grantham remain three places clear of the relegation zone on six points from as many matches.

Grantham: Leadenham, Braunton, Nix, Richardson, Gray, Pearce, Hill, MacAllister, Clarke, Buxton, Groom (c), Hollingworth.