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Grantham Town are beaten by Carlton Town in the Northern Premier League

Early goals in each half were enough to stop the Gingerbreads' mini revival at Carlton Town on Easter Monday.

Grantham had made the short trip to Nottinghamshire after taking four points from their last two games.

A late Ryan Rushen goal was a consolation but results elsewhere meant no damage was done to Grantham's chances of avoiding relegation at the end of the Northern Premier League East Division season.

Ryan Rushen scored a late consolation for Grantham. Photo: Toby Roberts
Ryan Rushen scored a late consolation for Grantham. Photo: Toby Roberts

Head coach Louis Bland said: "After the first 10 to 15 minutes, I thought we were probably just the better side.

"The difference is that they are really good at their set pieces and were more clinical in front of goal. Nat Watson at the top and Dean Freeman at the back show the quality they have got and that made the difference.

"I thought we played really well and can take confidence from the performance into the last few games."

The home side forced a couple of early corners and put the ball in the net from the second, but it was ruled out by an offside flag.

The Gingerbreads responded and a good ball was played on for Rushen to run beyond the Carlton defence but he only shot at Felix Annan in the Carlton goal.

Carlton opened the scoring on seven minutes as a deep cross from the right came to Niall Hylton who had time to take a touch before firing into the net.

For a long time, defences were on top of the game. Both sides played good football up to around 30 yards from goal before the back lines took over.

Lamin Manneh had one of the few chances in the opening half hour when he worked a good position with Khyle Sergent but Curtis Hall blocked the shot well.

Curtis Morrison went close twice for the Gingerbreads as Grantham became more assertive in the game.

On 27 minutes, Harry Wood broke down the right and crossed to the far post where Morrison got a shot on target, but Annan denied him.

Four minutes later, Louis Nicholson crossed from the left-hand side, but Morrison could not get his header on target.

Grantham continued to look the stronger side and battled well against their play-off chasing opponents.

Just before half time, Sam Muggleton took a short throw to Sisa Tuntulwana who played the ball back to Muggleton who lifted a high ball to the far post that Annan had to move quickly to tip over the crossbar.

After the break, Carlton started strongly. A quick break on 51 minutes saw Nat Watson play in Hylton and it took a good challenge from Osa Solomon to deny the hosts.

The home side continued to exert pressure, winning a corner that Hall had to punch clear under pressure.

The second goal for Carlton came after 56 minutes. A throw-in to Hylton was crossed into the box. Grantham didn’t clear their lines and Watson gathered the ball before firing past Hall to double the Carlton lead.

Watson almost grabbed another goal straight away. He ran at the Grantham defence and let fly, but this time shot just wide of the target.

The Gingerbreads battled back into the game, Brad Munns had a shot blocked before Grantham had the ball in the back of the Carlton net, only for referee Mr Everard to blow up for a foul.

Muggleton then delivered another long throw that came to Connor Peters, but his shot was blocked. Wood then hit a low shot from the right-hand side that Annan got down well to take.

As Grantham pushed to give themselves a chance of a point, gaps began to open up at the back.

A great run from David Adegbola on the break took him through the Grantham defence. His shot beat Hall but came back off the inside of the post and into the goalkeeper's arms.

Watson then went on a similar run, but this time Hall was well placed to take his shot at the second attempt.

Rushen got a consolation goal for Grantham in the fourth minute of added time.

A good delivery into the edge of the six-yard box was touched home by the Grantham striker.

Although there was not enough time for Grantham to fashion a second goal, there was enough left for Muggleton to pick up a second yellow card and leave Grantham finishing the game with 10 men.

They still remain four points adrift of safety with five games remaining. They play their final home game on Saturday when Consett are the visitors (3pm).

Grantham Town Supporters Club Lotto winners: £200 A Smith, £10 R Gilbert, £5 J Howard, D Cotton, J Gilbert, D Rawding, D&J Jackson, C Lambley.

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