which proved too much to claw back in the second half. Both sides struggled to create clear chances throughout the game and it was only in the second half that Grantham began to look likely to score.
“I expect better and I want better.” Said Gingerbreads joint manager Paul Rawden. “They were a bit more physical than us and we were a bit naive at times. Second half we huffed and puffed, but sadly it was not enough.”
The Gingerbreads brought Hednesford goalkeeper Kieran Preston into action in the opening minute with a low Adam Smith shot that Preston got down well to save, but after that it took twenty minutes for either side to fashion another chance.
Hednesford looked the more dangerous of the two teams with Nathan Fox overlapping on the Grantham right and delivering good crosses that the Grantham central defence dealt with well.
The home side had forced a couple of corners and delivered a huge throw from Ben Bailey that was headed wide at the far post as they built pressure. That pressure told on 20 minutes when Jack Hallahan had time to strike a 25 yard shot that wen t in off the inside of the post.
For the next fifteen minutes, it was all Hednesford as Hallahan had another effort go just wide and Kieran Wells also went close. Twice in two minutes, the home side got too much space in the Grantham penalty area. First Wells shot as a well-positioned Sam Andrews, but when the Gingerbreads didn’t clear a throw from Bailey, Courey Grantham had time to swivel and shoot past Andres from inside the six yard box to double the lead on 33 minutes.
Grantham began to get into the game after the second goal. A penalty shout was turned down on 36 minutes when the ball hit a defenders arm from Smith’s cross, and then Jordan Adabayo-Smith got away from the Hednesford defence, but dragged his shot wide.
Immediately after the break, the Gingerbreads showed their intent. Tom Ward tuned his effort from a corner just wide in the first minute of the second half, then Danny Brooks forced a great save from Preston with a piledriver free kick from 25 yards out.
Hednesford sat deeper in the second half to protect their lead, but still had chances. Wells kept the Gingerbreads defence busy, Andrews turned a 52nd minute shot over the crossbar, then comfortably gathered another effort a few minutes later.
The two sides cancelled each other out for a lot of the second half. Hednesford could have grabbed a third goal 8 minutes from time when Courey Grantham turned the Gingerbreads defence and found Daniel Racchi, but he took too much time and the chance was lost.
The Gingerbreads got a consolation goal in the second minute of added time. Chris Dawson latched on to a loose ball inside the Hednesford penalty area and fired high past Preston, but it was too little too late.
Updated 13:53 - 3 Mar 2019 by Simon Hayes