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A night to forget for Grantham Town

Northern Premier League

Premier Division

Grantham Town 0Ashton United 4

Greg Smith probably had the most chances for Grantham Town on the night, but it was not to be. Photo: Toby Roberts (18285245)
Greg Smith probably had the most chances for Grantham Town on the night, but it was not to be. Photo: Toby Roberts (18285245)

It was a night not to remember for Grantham Town at The Meres on Tuesday night.

In almost a mirror image of Saturday's 4-0 home win, the Gingerbreads this time conceded two goals in each half as they were pretty much outplayed in all areas throughout.

To put it bluntly, Grantham could not match the visitors' pace and accuracy of passing, and the Robins will surely be in the upper echelons of the league come the end of the season such a performance.

A disastrous starts saw Town go a goal down in the third minute. Ashton's Connor Hughes had the first shot of the game, which was deflected wide for a corner. The flag kick was headed on to the crossbar by Grantham's Francois Zoko and looked to have gone in off goalkeeper Tom Nicholson, although the goal was credited to United's Nicholas Clee.

The Gingerbreads were under pressure again on nine minutes when the dangerous-looking John Lufudo broke clear, but he rolled his shot on the run just wide of the near post.

Grantham conceded a second time three minutes later when Hughes opened up the Town defences all too easily and rocketed in from the side of the penalty area.

More Robins assaults saw Liam Tomsett slice wide from 20 yards on the quarter hour and Nicholson doing well to save Steven Tames shot through a gaggle of legs two minutes later.

It took until the 21st minute for Town to have a shot on goal, but Ashton keeper Lloyd Allison was equal to Greg Smith's strike from inside the box.

United were back on the attack a minute later, with Nicholson tipping Tames' cross-cum-shot wide and then a Grantham defender clearing Clee's shot off the line.

At the other end on 25 minutes, Allison made a great save to stop Tom Ward's header from skipper Danny Racchi's corner kick.

The Gingerbreads got some kind of foothold in the final 15 minutes of the half as the game became more of an even end-to-end affair, Town's best chance coming from a Smith header which just went over from a Racchi corner.

There were a couple of goal scoring opportunities apiece early in the second half, but again Grantham were getting caught out by the visitors' sheer pace.

Nicholson saved Lufudo's 52nd minute shot but he was beaten four minutes later by Sam Sheridan's 25-yard rocket of a free kick into the top right hand corner.

Town had a good free kick on 59 minutes with Racchi's 35-yard effort forcing an acrobatic diving save out of Allison. And then Smith headed just wide from another Racchi free kick a minute later.

The Gingerbreads' woes were worsened in the 66th minute when substitute Michael Tweed was harshley red carded by referee Mr Eley for what he considered to be a dangerous tackle on Tomsett.

Jack McGovern blocked what looked to be a sure fourth goal in the 77th minute to deny Tames, and Nicholson tipped Chris Rowney's drive over a minute later.

But the final nail in the coffin came in the 84th minute when Ashton sub Jordan Slew drove in to the bottom left corner from 25 yards.

The last shot of the game came in the first minute of added time from Town's Andrew Wright who watched his effort sail over the bar almost with an air of resignation to its inevitable failure.

Grantham Town: Nicholson, McGovern, Adelekan (Tweed 36), Broadhead, Ward (Goncalves 57), Racchi, Baxendale (Goodson 58), Berrett, Zoko, Smith, Wright. Subs not used: Chilaka, Andrew. Att: 206.

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