Grantham Town defeated in first game under new boss McIntosh
Northern Premier League Premier Division
Atherton Collieries 2
Grantham Town 0
by Graham Cowell
Despite a new manager, it was a familiar story for the Gingerbreads away at Atherton on Saturday.
Grantham dominated possession throughout the game, but could not break down the home side. Goals conceded at the start of each half left Martin McIntosh frustrated after the 90 minutes.
He said: “Conceding a sloppy goal after three or four minutes gave us a lot to do in the game. We huffed and puffed a lot, but it wasn’t enough. We didn’t create enough chances or hold the ball well enough to get it up front.”
Only three minutes were played when Grantham conceded a free kick outside their penalty area on the right hand side. The ball was delivered deep beyond the far post. Louis Myers was behind the Grantham defence and he had a free shot to beat Jon Worsnop.
Worsnop was called into action a few minutes later when another deep ball behind the Grantham back three found Myers again. This time, the Grantham goalkeeper made a good stop.
The Gingerbreads got into the game and dominated possession for the remainder of the first half. However, they found Atherton in the mood to deny them many scoring opportunities.
Grantham worked their way through the home defence on 12 minutes. Akeel Francis and Craig Westcarr combined to put Curtis Obeng in the position for a good cross, but there was nobody to meet his delivery.
The two sides exchanged rare chances midway through the half as both defences snuffed out almost anything that was thrown at them.
Tom Bentham turned twice for the home side and got a low shot away that did not trouble Worsnop whilst, at the other end, Connor Bartle’s low cross was cleared from the near post.
The Gingerbreads' frustrations at not being able to break down the home defence were almost cleared just before half time. Grantham’s first corner of the game was delivered low to Joe Skarz. His shot came back off the post and when the ball was put back into the danger zone, Atherton keeper Danny Taberner gratefully clutched Shane Clarke’s header.
Five minutes after half time, Grantham’s task got harder. Two headers from Myers and Bentham just inside the Grantham half put Ben Conway free to run in on the Gingerbreads goal. He made no mistake from the edge of the penalty area, slipping his shot past Worsnop to double the home side’s lead.
Atherton defended their lead in numbers. Grantham had to try and break down nine or 10 man defending that proved effective for the home side. The Gingerbreads delivered too much ball across the front of the home defence, making it easy for them to repeatedly clear their lines.
Grantham did get the ball in the net 16 minutes from the end. Francis got his head to a corner and powerfully beat Taberner, only for the referee to blow for a push.
Remaye Campbell worked hard a few minutes later for a shooting chance, but missed the target.
With Grantham pushing forward, Atherton could have added a third goal late on. The Gingerbreads gave the ball away just inside the home side’s half to Vinny Bowles. Grantham had to defend well to keep the substitute's shot out as time ran out on Grantham’s efforts.
More by this authorJohn Burgess