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Grantham Town boss Carlton Palmer praises his side's 'spirit and belief' following win at Manchester

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Grantham Town registered their first clean sheet of the season on the way to defeating FC United of Manchester on their own turf on Saturday.

The Gingerbreads not only overcame the Red Rebels, manager Carlton Palmer's side were also unfazed by the buzz of a 1,700-plus crowd in the Broadhurst Stadium – a new experience for the young players in the team.

Jonathan Wafula headed in for Grantham just after the half hour mark, with the Gingerbreads defending their lead stoutly for the remainder of the game, with especial performances from experienced defender Henry Eze and goalkeeper Jim Pollard.

Carlton Palmer (52209587)
Carlton Palmer (52209587)

Town manager Palmer said: "We've been performing well the last six or seven weeks without getting the results. Saturday was no different; we performed well, the goalkeeper was outstanding and we got a break here and there. So it's another step forward in the right direction.

"Did I think they [FC United] deserved to lose the game? No I didn't, but I thought our spirit, the way we defended to a man in the end, and what's happened in recent weeks, we should have had nine more points that we have deserved, so I'm not feeling sorry for anybody else when that's happened."

Jim Pollard (52491705)
Jim Pollard (52491705)

Palmer was also understandably pleased for his side to have finally finished a game with a clean sheet.

He said: "In pre-season, the one thing we thought was we would never be conceding a lot of goals – and we have done – so yeah, I was delighted, I was delighted with the boys.

"They showed a different side to their mental strength and belief which I think has been important since bringing Shane [Clarke] and Henry [Eze] in; a little bit more experience in there with the younger boys."

Palmer also had praise for how his players coped with the cauldron of noise and number of spectators at FC United's Broadhurst Park.

Palmer said: "They dealt with it well. Their attitude, their mental strength, everything on Saturday was spot on. We just need to keep it going now."

With hardly a midweek match scheduled for the rest of the season, Palmer's Gingerbreads are now able to concentrate on regular Tuesday and Thursday training sessions at The Meres, ahead of each Saturday game. Palmer said it would be help when it comes to keeping his squad fit to play.

He said: "Obviously, we've played a lot of games and you pick up knocks and you pick up injuries.

"It's always difficult when you're non-league because people pick up knocks. Whereas they normally play on a Tuesday, and you've got a training day and then they need to take that as a rest day."

The Gingerbreads are back on home turf tomorrow (Saturday) when they welcome sixth placed Warrington Town to The Meres.

Palmer said: "We've got a massive game on Saturday and we'd like to follow up with another win and our first home win. That's the plan.

"It's a tough league and every game's a tough game, we've seen that, points have been dropped all over the place.

"We've got to be bang at it, we've got to be 100 per cent at it, and we've got to be at every single game.

"But I'm confident, I know what I've got in the dressing room.

"And I'm confident with what we've got. Come the end of the season, we'll get what we deserve, which will be we will retain our status and we will be building a platform to go forward with young kids, which is what [club chairman] Darren [Ashton] and I talked about at the start of the season.

"We know it's going to be tough, it's going to be hard. We'll work extremely hard on Saturday to get the right result."

Kick-off tomorrow is 3pm.

l Match report, page 38.

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