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Ten-man Grantham Town come back to draw on opening day

Morpeth Town 1-1 Grantham Town, report by Graham Cowell

The new season brought a first point thanks to a rear-guard action as the Gingerbreads played over half the game with ten men.

After a harsh looking sending off, a great performance from everybody was Grantham come back from a goal down and hold out comfortably.

Goalscorer Ash Worsfold applauding supporters after being substituted (42339340)
Goalscorer Ash Worsfold applauding supporters after being substituted (42339340)

“All the lads we’ve recruited this summer gave everything in the cause this afternoon,” said Tim Ryan. “We came well equipped, the sending off was a setback, but the ten lads and the subs did magnificent jobs.”

Grantham set up with only Ash Worsfold up front as they contained the threat Morpeth showed early in the game. Jack Foalle fired a shot wide in the first minute and was the danger man in the early exchanges. He regularly got into space behind Jason Law and delivered dangerous crosses, but no-one could get on the end of them.

Foalle played a deep ball into the Grantham penalty area after 9 minutes that was controlled and cleared by Law with Morpeth claiming a handball.

At the other end, Manasse Kianga tried to get similar delivery into the home penalty area, but Morpeth crowded him out. Brad Abbott picked him out after a quarter of an hour, but Morpeth blocked Kianga’s effort.

Jan Budtz wasn’t stretched midway through the first half when a Sam Hodgson free kick was met by Liam Henderson. Henderson’s header was easy for Budtz to take.

The Gingerbreads had a penalty claim of their own turned down after half an hour. As the ball was coming in to Ash Worsfold just inside the Morpeth penalty area, he clearly had two hands in his back when he went down, but referee Mr Clark didn’t see it.

Three minutes later, Mr Clark had to consult with his assistant after the ball hit Ryan Holland on the hand as he chased back one on one 25 yards out with a Morpeth attacker. Between them the officials decided Holland had denied a clear goalscoring opportunity, so Mr Clark showed him a red card.

Six minutes later, insult was added to injury from a Morpeth corner. It was taken short, then delivered into the near post. Andrew Johnson got in front of the Gingerbreads defence and gave Budtz no chance with his powerful header.

Grantham made no changes at the break, relying on their formation to frustrate the home side and steal a goal. The second part of that happened seven minutes into the half.

A through ball was not dealt with by the Morpeth defence and Dan Lowson. It fell to Kianga, but Lowson made a good save. Worsfold reacted quickest to the loose ball to lash it into the net and level scores.

The home side dominated possession for most of the rest of the game, but could not break down a well organised Grantham defence which protected Budtz so well, he hardly had a save to make.

Grantham could have taken all three points with Ben Middleton almost getting on the end of Abbott’s free kick and Remaye Campbell getting on the end of Rodrigo Goncales’ through ball, but shooting wide of the mark. Between those efforts, Nathan Dyer hit a low shot that Lowson took two grabs to gather.

Next up for the Gingerbreads, is a home tie tomorrow [Tuesday] night in the Emirates FA Cup v Rushall Olympic, kick off 7.45pm. Tickets can be purchased here .

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