Slender victory extends Grantham Town's unbeaten start to the season
Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 1Basford United 0
A single second half Gregg Smith goal gave the Gingerbreads a slender win, extending their unbeaten start to the season.
Apart from the goal, there was little to separate the two sides with goal scoring opportunities aplenty at either end throughout, as play swung from end to end at a cauldron-like Meres stadium.
Basford had the first couple of chances in the opening minutes, with Town goalkeeper Tom Nicholson catching a 30-yard free kick and United's Nathan Watson firing over after the home defence had let him through far too easily.
Grantham's first shot saw Smith put an overhead half-volley over the bar in the eighth minute.
Two minutes later, Jack Thomas struck from 25 yards; the ball was deflected, but Nicholson was not to be fooled.
Smith headed into the side netting for Town a minute later, whilst Nicholson was in action again in the 14th minute, diving low to save from Thomas after he had danced into the box.
Nicholson also did well to tip Thomas's 27th minute on target cross-cum-shot over the bar. A minute later, Basford's Brad Gascoigne headed wide of the post.
At the other end, on 33 minutes, James Berrett's header brought a good save out of former Gingerbreads keeper Kieran Preston, from a tasty Craig Westcarr corner kick. Westcarr's 34th minute strike was charged down by a United defender.
The final real action of the first half saw Preston punch a Westcarr corner kick clear from danger.
With the heat not relenting and the 'cooling' breeze dropping out, the two sides were in for a sauna-like second half.
The first opportunity went to the Gingerbreads after just two minutes, but Smith's effort went wide of the target; however, he made amends three minutes later.
Berrett was fouled by his opposite number, Courey Grantham, and referee Mr Eley awarded a free kick from 35 yards. Town skipper Danny Racchi fired the ball into the box where Smith rose into the air and headed past a helpless Preston.
Tom Ward prevented the Nottingham side from equalising in the 65th minute, clearing the ball off the line to Town fans' relief.
Smith had a chance to double his tally with another header two minutes later from a Ryan Hall cross, but Preston was equal to his effort this time.
Racchi struck the ball sweetly with a 25-yard on-target drive in the 74th minute, but once again Preston saved.
Ward was Grantham's saviour again two minutes later, calmly knocking a very dangerous cross-the-face-of goal ball to his keeper.
Berrett had a golden opportunity to perhaps seal victory in the 84th minute but, running into the box one-on-one with a retreating Preston, he decided to square the ball rather than try a shot himself.
Fortunately, Berrett did not go on to regret his decision as the Gingerbreads defence held out for the remainder of the game, as the visitors searched in vain for at least a share of the spoils.
The Gingerbreads final chance saw Preston fumble Westcarr's injury time free kick. The ball fell to James Baxendale but Preston managed to retrieve whilst bringing the Town number 11 to the ground; however, Mr Eley saw no wrong-doing.
Basford's last bid to salvage something saw Preston try his luck from his own half. He was on target but Nicholson caught high above his head to send Gingerbreads supporters fans home happy, but hot.
Grantham Town: Nicholson, Green, McGovern, Atkinson, Ward, Racchi, Hall, Berrett, Westcarr, Smith (Baldwin 78), Baxendale. Subs not used: Bell-Toxtle, Broadhead, Tweed, Andrew. Att: 330.
More by this authorJohn Burgess