Grantham Town finally get back to winning ways
Northern Premier League East
Sheffield FC 1
Grantham Town 3
By Graham Cowell
The Gingerbreads registered their first win since October with a 3-1 victory against a Sheffield side reduced to 10 men after just three minutes.
Two goals from Mason Lee were a big contribution to the win.
Grantham manager Matt Chatfield thought his side deserved their win. He said: "We have had it all season when things have gone against us. We created loads of chances today and scored three.
"We made mistakes to concede one, but we showed character given the season we have had to keep going and get the win. We needed someone to take the pressure off everyone’s shoulders with goals, and Mason has done that.”
One of the defining moments of the game came only three minutes into the match. Connor Cutts' challenge on Matt Tootle was high and late. After consulting with his assistant, the referee showed Cutts the red card.
Grantham took a while to get on top of the game. The home side broke away on 19 minutes with two crosses into the Gingerbreads box, but Grantham cleared their lines.
The opening goal came on 21 minutes. A low ball from the right was met by Lee but blocked by home goalkeeper Luke Faxon. Despite being on the floor, Lee recovered quickly to scramble the ball into the net.
Just after the half hour mark, Grantham created another good chance. A cross was only cleared to Matt Tootle, but he dragged his shot wide of the goal. Grantham had half-chances but struggled to create clear cut ones. A good free kick on 35 minutes fell to Tootle, but he dragged his shot wide.
Lee Shaw began to have an impact. He played in Tootle, but his cross was cleared by Josh Burns. Four minutes before the break, Grantham doubled their lead. Shaw chased a ball down the right-hand side of the penalty area and was pushed over inside the area for a spot kick to the Gingerbreads. Shaw took the penalty himself and sent Faxon the wrong way to send Grantham into the break two goals in front.
Grantham started the second half in a determined mood. They forced three corners in the opening three minutes and Shaw forced Foxon into another good save when he fired a low shot from Jonathan Wafula’s good pass.
Despite the Gingerbreads' good start, it was Sheffield who got the third goal of the game to give themselves hope of a point. As Grantham looked to put the pressure back on the home side in the 49th minute, Damien McCrory had his clearance charged down on the left by Jamie Yates. He had space to speed down the flank and deliver a cross to the far post where Luke Hinsley scored to make an immediate impact from the two half time substitutes.
The two sides traded chances just before the hour. McCrory sent Joe Stacey down the left and he crossed for Lee, but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Sheffield responded with a dangerous cross of their own, but Ashton Hall did enough to clear the danger. The Gingerbreads were back on the front foot almost straight away with Shaw, Lee, Wafula and Stacey working the ball around well, before McCrory shot over the bar.
Sheffield defended strongly, cutting out most of the Grantham crosses as the Gingerbread tried to find a gap in the home defence. Stacey got away from his man again on 67 minutes despite being fouled. Shaw ran on towards goal, but a good tackle denied him a shot.
There was a huge scare for the Gingerbreads at the back on 73 minutes. A low cross from the Grantham left flashed across the six yard box, with two waiting Sheffield forwards inches away from getting the touch which would almost certainly have led to an equaliser.
Grantham immediately went up to the other end and settled the game. A deep cross found Stacey and he played the ball back into the danger zone for Lee to turn past Foxon.
Dan Cocks worked space for a shot with 12 minutes remaining, but fired over the top.
The home side did not give up and Hinsley could have reduced arrears again three times in the closing minutes. Basile Zottos sent over a cross that Hinsley met well, but hit too high. In injury time, the Sheffield striker hit a shot that was easy for Dan Haystead to gather, then curled a free kick round the wall, but Haystead turned it away to preserve the Gingerbreads' two goal lead.
Grantham Town are at home home on Tuesday night when they host NPL Premier side Gainsborough Trinity in the first round of the Lincs Senior Cup. Kick-off is 7.45pm.