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Grantham Town manager Carlton Palmer is looking for consistency

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Grantham Town's match day against visitors Warrington Town was marred by the sad news of the sudden death of under-23s manager Mark Bland on Saturday morning.

A minute's applause was held before the game at The Meres in celebration of Mark's life and his dedication to football.

Gingerbreads manager Carlton Palmer was saddened by Mark's passing and said had only been chatting with him a couple of days previous.

Grantham Town (52721045)
Grantham Town (52721045)

Palmer said: "Obviously very, very sad. I was with Mark on Thursday, he was down at training.

"I was stood talking to him, watching the kids play.

"I had a conversation with him a week ago prior to that to say 'listen, obviously we've been busy at the moment playing Saturday/Tuesday, Saturday/Tuesday. As soon as things settle down, I'll be down more'.

"Absolutely gutted, gutted for him, gutted for Louis, gutted for the family. It's just so sad."

The afternoon's match once again saw the two sides of Grantham Town, with the Gingerbreads upping their game after the break to dominate the half after going behind in the opening 45 minutes.

Palmer said: "You can't be giving teams a two goal start, two poor goals. We're in a comfortable position and we give away that.

"I wasn't happy with the first half although Jonno [Wafula] could have scored, he hit the woodwork. I wasn't happy with the first half performance.

"Second half, no arguments about that. I thought we won the second half as I said to the players.

"I'm still confident that we'll get out of it because we're going in the right direction. We've just got to eradicate a few things.

"It's never easy. You have a fantastic result against FC Manchester and then you lose your goalkeeper who was brilliant.

Grantham Town (52721062)
Grantham Town (52721062)

"We've just got to keep working hard, stick together. Like I said to them, if you did what I asked you to do in the first half, that you did in the second half, you win the game. And that's as simple as it is."

Goalkeeper on the day was Josh Render who is on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, standing in for regular keeper Jim Pollard who is recovering from a hand injury.

Palmer said: "We're just waiting for news on that. We're hoping it's not bad news, that he's not going to be out for a lengthy time.

"We couldn't get an experienced goalkeeper in, so young Josh [Render] was recommended to me.

"He's not played men's football before. I thought he acquitted himself excellently.

"After his howler, he could have gone under in the second half. That shows a lot about him, shows a lot of character about him, that he played the way he did in the second half.

"But that's football. I wanted to give young kids a chance, and when you give young kids a chance you've got to understand they are going to make mistakes, they are not going to be consistent.

The Gingerbreads are back on the road tomorrow (Saturday) when they visit Mickleover in the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy.

Palmer said: "It's another game, whether it's in the league or in the cup, we're looking for improvement, we're looking to get to that situation where we can get consistency.

"Having the continuity with your players and the system in non-league is a little bit worse, because in the league you know that the players are going to be coming in to training the next day, and you've got training every day, so you have a little bit more consistency in what you want to do.

"We know we've got a hell of a battle on our hands, but we are a good side, there's no doubt about that.

"Second half, we've totally dominated that game on Saturday and we don't get a break, in the box or anything like that.

"Hopefully, in the fullness of time, everything will work out the way it's supposed to."

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