Spalding United 0 - 1 Grantham Town
Match Report Published: 11:15, 29 March 2023
By Graham Cowell
Grantham Town added the 2022-23 Lincolnshire Senior County Cup to their trophy list with a solid performance against Spalding United at Sincil Bank on Tuesday night.
In a game of few clear chances, a great strike from Elliott Durrell on 56 minutes proved the difference between the two sides.
Grantham Town lift the Lincolnshire Senior Cup after their victory over Spalding United at Sincil Bank on Tuesday night. Photo: Chris Lowndes
“It was exactly what you want from a cup final,” said Gingerbreads manager Matt Chatfield after the match.
“We’ve had two really good chances and taken one with a great finish. We deserved everything tonight and were a great team tonight.”
Spalding played the same starting 11 as they used in the league last Saturday as they push for promotion, while the Gingerbreads made two changes with Sisa Tuntulwana and Brad Munns coming into the starting line-up.
It was Spalding who had the first chance of the game after five minutes. Dylan Edge delivered a low cross from the right for Elliot Sandy at the near post. The striker got a good purchase on the ball but fired wide.
In a tight game, both defences quickly got control of their penalty areas and scoring chances were few and far between.
Just before the quarter hour mark, Spalding broke quickly from a Grantham corner and Miguel Ngwa cut inside to fire a low shot that went straight at Town goalkeeper Dan Haystead.
The Tulips began to look confident with the ball at their feet, Ngwa in particular was a threat on their left wing. On 17 minutes, he delivered a good cross for James Clifton. Clifton headed the ball down into the danger zone, but the Grantham defence cleared their lines comfortably.
The Gingerbreads' first effort of the game came on 24 minutes. Munns, whose strike against Grimsby Town put Grantham into the final, hit a shot from 25 yards out. However, it posed no problem for Michael Duggan in the Spalding goal.
Ashton Hall was winning almost all of his headers at both ends of the field and on 28 minutes he got on the end of a Joe Stacey long throw. Hall’s header hit Town striker Greg Smith and rolled wide of the post.
A short corner routine 10 minutes before half time created another chance for Hall. Damien McCrory and Durrrell worked the routine for McCrory to deliver a cross to the far post. Hall rose highest and got a firm header in that came off Nathan Stainsfield for another corner, to which Hall got there first again but headed over the crossbar.
Spalding came back at the Gingerbreads and delivered a series of crosses that were dealt with comfortably by Hall and Jake Wright. Five minutes from the break, Archie Jones went down under a challenge in the penalty area, but referee Mr smith waved away the penalty appeals.
As half time approached, Ngwa played in Edge but he took too much time and Grantham blocked him out. Clifton found Stainsfield with a cross, but his header was well saved by Haystead.
Grantham controlled the game early in the second half, but took a while to begin to break down the Spalding defence.
On 54 minutes, Tuntulwana found some space and delivered a teasing cross that curled just wide. A minute later, Durrell played in Smith 35 yards out, but his attempt went straight at Duggan.
On 56 minutes, Grantham scored the decisive goal. Lee Shaw kept the ball moving to Durrell in the centre of the park. He jinked past Clifton to make space and hit a low drive into the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards out.
Spalding changed their forward line in an attempt to unlock the Gingerbreads defence and get back on level terms.
It almost backfired as Grantham went close to a second goal on 62 minutes. Smith started the move, playing in Shaw. He crossed to the far post where both Tuntulwana and Smith were closing in. Tuntulwana got there first and his header beat Duggan but bounced agonisingly wide of the post.
The Tulips tried everything to break Grantham down, but dogged defending denied them any opportunities until late on. Hall again won a header to flick on a Stacey throw, but no-one could get a touch on it.
In the last 12 minutes and five minutes of added time, crosses and corners rained in on the Grantham defence, but they continued to be dealt with well by their defence. On 78 minutes, a cross from the left was cleared away just in time as Bradley Rolt closed in.
In a rare late attack from the Gingerbreads, Munns tried to replicate his semi-final efforts with another 25 yard effort. It was well watched by Duggan and caused the Spalding goalkeeper little trouble.
Eight minutes from time, Spalding went as close as they were going to get to an equaliser. A corner was met by Stainsfield and his header fell for Sam Warburton in space at the back. His shot flew well wide of the target.