GRANTHAM men survived being reduced to nine players for a period to beat Worksop 4-3 away from home in their final pre-season friendly, while the women proved less fortunate, opening their Lincolnshire League campaign with an 11-0 defeat at home to Alford.
The men were 2-0 up at half time having weathered some serious pressure on their own goal before breaking effectively to offer Will Hill and Alex Clark goal scoring opportunities, which they took, to knock the wind out of the home side.
Worksop hit back with a scrappy goal early in the second half but Grantham were not about to let the chance of a morale boosting win elude them and a third goal, brilliantly taken by Paul Hollingworth after a lovely move involving Clark and Oli Phillips on the left-hand side of the pitch, was duly added when he skilfully nipped in before the defence could react and placed the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper.
Phillips was then sin-binned for a foul tackle in Grantham’s 25 and Jem Hill was also sent to the bin for offering his on-the-spot analysis of the situation, meaning Grantham had to play for 10 minutes with two fewer men than their opponents.
Some excellent defending and clever territorial play ensured that Worksop were kept out despite having a two man advantage and once Grantham were restored to a full complement of players, they scored again with David Nix making it two goals in two matches to give the visitors a three-goal cushion.
As Grantham tired late on, Worksop added two goals, neither of which goalkeeper Will Leadenham - who had another strong game including an outstanding save from a goal-bound drag flick with the score at 0-0 - could do much about, but Grantham dug deep to hold on to take their first win of the season.
Hollingworth, who also set up two of the goals as well as scoring Grantham’s third, was named as the man of the match, just beating Oli Phillips who had a fine game on the left wing.
Grantham: Leadenham, J. Hill, A. Nix, S. Hill, Pennington, Halliday, Phillips, Gray (c), D. Nix, Clark, Hollingworth, W. Hill, Willey.