Gingerbreads Downed at Nantwich
The Gingerbreads first game for three weeks saw them come unstuck at Nantwich.
Despite early pressure, a failure to capitalise was punished twice at dead ball situations in the first half to leave Grantham a mountain to climb after the break.
Despite the lay-off, Grantham started brightly, but a deep and solid Nantwich defence snuffed out any clear strikes on goal. Nantwich midfielder Sean Cooke was possibly fortunate to stay on the pitch after a late and dangerous challenge on Lee Shaw, but went on to have a major influence on the game.
After a quarter of an hour of incessant Grantham pressure, Nantwich took an unexpected lead. The home side won a corner which was dummied on the edge of the penalty area for a late Cooke run. The former Northern Ireland international struck a first time shot that gave Kieron Preston no chance.
A key moment came on 22 minutes when Grantham should have had a penalty. Lee Shaw burst into the Nantwich penalty area and the ball clearly was controlled by Courtney Wildins arm. Neither referee Mr Brown nor his assistant seemed to see anything at all and made no decision.
Nantwich made the most of their fortune with ten minutes to go to the break. Damien Speiss denied Jordan Hempenstall before Cooke again undid the Grantham defence.A curled free kick into the Grantham penalty area fell to an unmarked Harry Clayton. With time and space, Clayton made no mistake to double the home side lead.
Another bright start to the second half saw Grantham almost get straight back into the game. Sam Osbourne best the Nantwich defence, but Speiss blocked his shot, then recovered to also gather Hempenstall's header.
Hempenstall was denied again by the home goalkeeper before the game opened up as the Gingerbreads chased a result. A change to a 3-4-3to rescue the game left space for Nantwich to exploit. They had already opened the space up for Caspar Hughes to curl a shot just wide before Cooke created a third for the home side.
With 18minutes to go, a Grantham attack broke down allowing the home side to turn the tables on Grantham. A quick ball out of defence was turned on by Cooke for Matt Bell who had the time to clip a shot in off the post.
Grantham didn't give up and grabbed a consolation goal with two minutes left. Lee Shaw got behind the Nantwich defence and slipped his shot past Speiss for his 29th goal of the season.