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Grantham Town draw with Dunston in the Northern Premier League East Division





Solid defending throughout the game saw Grantham earn an excellent point against Dunston on the 3G surface at Consett on Tuesday night.

The Gingerbreads had made a 330-mile round trip for the rearranged midweek match in the Northern Premier League East Division.

And, despite conceding an early goal, Grantham got back on level terms quickly and matched their promotion chasing opponents to end January unbeaten and move off the foot of the league table, writes Graham Cowell.

Head coach Louis Bland said: "We conceded a sloppy goal again but, from minute 10 to 45, I thought we were the better team.

"In the second half we may be defended a bit too deep at times but defended well enough to deserve the point."

Grantham had travelled to their high-flying hosts without the services of Ryan Rushen and Rodrigo Goncalves.

Dunston started with a fast-paced passing game that the Gingerbreads did well to contain and force a couple of corners.

However, it was the home side who looked more dangerous in the early exchanges.

Chris McDonald won a strong challenge in the fourth minute that saw the ball run for Sado Djalo. He played in David Robinson, but Curtis Hall took his shot easily.

The home side took the lead on 10 minutes after Grantham conceded a free kick wide on the left. A good delivery found Jack Maskell's head and he looped his effort over Hall into the far corner of the net.

A shot from Jordan Lamb a few minutes later only found the side netting when McDonald pumped the ball back into the Grantham penalty area as the Gingerbreads only partially cleared a corner.

The tone of the game changed after 16 minutes as Grantham broke quickly with the ball being squared to Curtis Morrison inside the Dunston half.

Morrison played in Luke Horne and he held off his defender and fired a shot across Dunston goalkeeper Daniel Staples to level the scores.

The goal gave Grantham the confidence to keep pressure on the home side all around the pitch and they could have taken the lead on 21 minutes when Harry Olivant put over a cross that forced a desperate clearance to deny Morrison or Horne a shooting chance.

Midway through the first half the two sides had chances in quick succession.

Dunston's Morrison won another strong challenge and gave Djalo a chance to run at the Grantham defence. Djalo got his shot away but could only find the side netting.

Morrison immediately gathered the ball from Sisa Tuntulwana and turned on the edge of the Dunston penalty area. He got a shot away, but his effort flew over the crossbar.

Dunston were restricted to shots from distance as Grantham continued to keep the home side at bay.

However, 10 minutes before half-time it was the woodwork that came to Grantham's rescue.

A return header to a Grantham clearance saw Matt Doyle beaten by Maskell. The striker's shot beat Hall but came back off the post. Djalo got to the ball first but couldn't direct his shot and missed the target.

Grantham again threatened eight minutes before half-time as Brad Munns played in Tuntulwana on the wing and he found Olivant but quick work by Staples snuffed out the danger.

Louis Nicholson did the same two minutes later when McDonald tried to put Robinson in. The Gingerbreads wing-back made a good tackle to see the two sides to half time level.

Much of the second half saw Dunston have possession while Grantham closed them down whenever they began to look threatening.

The Gingerbreads either won a key challenge or forced Dunston into a poor pass more times than not.

Neither goalkeeper was seriously threatened until the last quarter of the game.

Doyle began to open things up with a cheeky effort from inside his own half but Staples in the Dunston goal had plenty of time to gather the shot.

Suddenly, with 10 minutes to go, the game burst into life. Substitute Sam Hooper squared the ball to Munns who beat one challenge before firing in a shot that brought a save from Staples.

A flurry of chances ensued with Dunston's Maskell drawing a save from Hall before Tuntulwana and Horne put Harry Wood in a good position wide on the Grantham right. His cross evaded everyone in the Dunston penalty area.

With seven minutes of added time, a late charge from the home side was expected.

It came with a number of crosses that came to nothing as the Gingerbreads defence was solid. Osa Solomon stood strong in the challenge to block Dale Pearson' s shot.

The same player drove a short a yard wide of the target as Grantham defended strongly to take a point for the third game in a row.



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