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Grantham Town lose to Grimsby Borough in the Northern Premier League

Grantham were unable to produce a performance that matched their recent efforts as they went down to a home defeat against Grimsby Borough on Saturday.

The Gingerbreads had gone into the contest at the Meres on the back of three good away draws and looking to continue their unbeaten start to the New Year.

However, Grimsby gained revenge for a defeat earlier in the season with a 2-1 success as Grantham were unable to get back on level terms for a second time throughout the second half, writes Graham Cowell.

Rodrigo Goncalves scored Grantham's goal. Photo: Toby Roberts
Rodrigo Goncalves scored Grantham's goal. Photo: Toby Roberts

Head coach Louis Bland commented: "I said before the game there was a different type of pressure us.

"It didn't feel right from the warm-up and maybe we still had a bit in our legs from Tuesday night. If I could have put my finger on what it was, I would have changed things.

"Although we might have expected a decision in our favour for their goals, I'm not blaming officials. We still had chances to have prevented both goals."

The Gingerbreads didn't look as assured in their game from the start. Early on, poor passes gave up possession to the visitors easily.

Although Grantham had the first chance of the game after seven minutes from a Sam Muggleton long throw, Rodrigo Goncalves’ shot was easy for Liam Higton in the Grimsby goal.

A minute later, Grantham were behind.

There could have been a free kick for Grantham in the build-up as Goncalves seemed to be fouled near the centre circle. Grimsby played on and Adam Drury’s cross was turned past Curtis Hall by an unmarked Harvey Tomlinson.

The visitors used possession better then Grantham. Both sides allowed short goal kicks to be taken with little pressure on the ball.

Grimsby played their way from the back line while Grantham hit a long ball towards an isolated Ryan Rushen.

For a long while, the difference in playing patterns gave Grimsby the better chances.

Twice in a minute, they breached the Grantham defence. Edwin Essell got away from Osa Solomon but, from a good position, shot wide.

He then got in behind the Grantham defence when Luis Adlard picked him out with a long pass. Essell hit the target this time, but Hall saved well.

As the half wore on, Grantham got a toehold in the game and Curtis Morrison began to look dangerous.

Goncalves and Sisa Tuntulwana worked the ball to Morrison after 21 minutes, but he shot over the crossbar.

A corner from Morrison a few minutes later was delivered right underneath the Grimsby crossbar. In all the efforts by both sides to get to the ball, referee Mr Wooley spotted a foul on the visitors’ goalkeeper.

There was no such relief for the visitors after 34 minutes.

Morrison had won the corner with a header that was deflected wide. He put the flag kick in the same place as his earlier delivery and this time Goncalves got the vital touch to force the ball home and level scores.

Parity only lasted for five minutes though.

Tomlinson put Jack Richardson through and he shot between two Grantham defenders but could not beat Hall.

From the resulting corner, a deep delivery was only partially cleared by the Gingerbreads. Drury delivered a low cross into the six-yard box that Essell turned into the net.

Grantham claimed he was offside, but referee’s assistant Mr Eagles immediately indicated a home defender played him on and the goal stood.

In the last minute of the half, the Gingerbreads struck the Grimsby woodwork.

Harry Wood played in Rushen who got a shot away but hit the crossbar.

Immediately the other side of half-time, Grimsby created a shooting chance with Caine Winfarrah delivering a cross for Drury. Again, Hall kept the visitors at bay.

With Tuntulwana playing in a more advanced role on the left, Grantham began to look threatening.

Morrison and Tuntulwana both had chances in quick succession. The former fired over the top of the Grimsby goal while Tuntulwana put his cross on the top of the visitors' crossbar.

Rushen hit the frame of the goal again with 17 minutes remaining. He was first to a good free kick delivery, but his header hit the post.

A few minutes later, Elliott Walker and Morrison worked well on the right-hand side. Walker delivered a cross for Luke Horne, but the Grimsby defence remained strong.

The Gingerbreads had one last chance in added time to snatch a second equaliser as Horne won the ball and played it wide for Wood.

Horne got in the danger zone to get on the end of Wood’s cross, but the ball bounced off him rather than him able to make a good contact and Higton collected it easily.

The defeat keeps Grantham in the relegation zone, two points adrift of safety. They visit Sheffield on Saturday.

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