Promotion hunting Grantham Town fight back to sink lame Ducks
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 3
Shaw Lane 1
Grantham Town continued to march on in their quest for promotion with an ultimately exciting Easter Bank Holiday Monday clash with Barnsley-based upstarts Shaw Lane at The Meres.
After going a goal down in perhaps one of their worst 45-minute performances of the season in the first half, the Gingerbreads bounced back in style to record their fifth successive win.
The game began in quite a pedestrian fashion compared with usual, with the pitch soft underfoot after a fair amount of overnight rain.
The first chance on goal went to Town in the sixth minute but The Ducks’ goalkeeper Eddie Wilczynski caught the ball before Zayn Hakeem could get his head to it, whilst two minutes later, at the other end, Godwin Abadaki was allowed to slip too simply through the Grantham defence, but he dragged his soft shot wide.
However, the visitors went in front in the 12th minute when Town’s defence was again too easily undone and Kieran Lugsden knocked in from a ball squared across the face of goal.
Shaw Lane continued to look dangerous with the Gingerbreads seemingly have little answer as yet.
The large home contingent thought their side had an equaliser in the 18th minute but Curtis Burrows’ effort had been deflected into the side netting.
Wilczynski saved Tom Batchelor’s 31st minute header from inside the Shaw Lane box, and Hakeem was unable to get a touch to Andrew Wright’s 36th minute cross following a good build-up also involving Oliver Luto and Burrows.
With the sun now shining down on The Meres, the Gingerbreads began to up their efforts as half time approached, but still a goal was not on the horizon.
A stop-start beginning to the second half due to several injuries did nothing for the flow of the game which became quite scrappy.
But Grantham came out of the doldrums the better and began to make things happen. Batchelor was just unable to make contact with Danny Meadows’ 63rd minute corner kick, and Wilczynski denied him a header three minutes later from inside the six-yard box.
The sun may have gone in during half time, but the game and The Meres faithful came alight in the 68th minute when Town equalised.
Sustained pressure and a good move saw Batchelor stab the ball up the right wing to Meadows. He played the ball into the centre where top striker Lee Shaw did his thing, beating defenders and keeper to slot home.
Wilczynski blocked Wright’s 71st minute effort but the visiting keeper was unable to stop Grantham taking the lead two minutes later when Shaw knocked the ball in the net from close range, following a ball in from substitute Jordan Hempenstall.
The momentum had well and truly swung in the Gingerbreads’ favour and everyone sensed it.
Batchelor was unlucky again in the 76th minute when his header just went over the bar, whilst two minutes later sub Sam Osborne struck the post with a fine solo effort after a Shaw set-up.
Grantham’s comeback was sealed with a third goal in the 84th minute. Luto’s 25-yard free kick from out on the left was pinged back out to Hempenstall who fired in from the centre of the penalty area to the screams of the crowd.
Both sides had a couple more half chances as the final minutes were played out, with Hempenstall’s telling cross-cum-shot testing Wilczynski in literally the final second before referee Mr Tallis blew his whistle for the final time, to the cheers of the largest crowed seen at The Meres this season.
Town remain third in the league, two points behind Warrington Town and seven behind league leaders Altrincham.
The Gingerbreads are scheduled to travel to Whitby Town on Thursday night, but with nearly all of today’s games off, there is probably unfortunately a good chance of yet another postponement at The Turnbull Ground.
Grantham Town: Preston, Potts, Luto, Wright, Galinski (c), Batchelor, Meadows, McGovern, Hakeem, Shaw, Burrows. Subs not used: McMenemy, Vince. Att: 484.