against relegation rivals Mickleover Sports. The game was in doubt in the morning due to frost, but despite that and torrential rain all afternoon, the surface made for an entertaining game.
“I’ve said for a couple of weeks that we need to start to string results together.” Said the Gingerbreads boss Richard Thomas. “We’ve done that for the first time today. The character we showed in the second half to bounce back from conceding a goal says volumes for the players. Today was the next step in what we’re trying to do.”
Mickleover started with the conditions in their favour, Grantham defending stoutly in the face of the driving rain. The home side went close after 9 minutes; Shaquille McDonald saw his shot pushed away by Jordan Wright before the Gingerbreads defence cleared their lines.
The home side pressed hard, but Grantham kept a firm defensive line. The Gingerbread struggled to build attacks of their own as the game didn’t have a great deal of shape to it. Wright was called into action to push away another dangerous cross before the game turned Grantham’s way with two big decisions by the officials in a minute.
Ten minutes before the break, a well-placed through ball sent Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson free of the Mickleover defence. He pushed the ball past Sports goalkeeper Lewis King who had charged off his line to challenge the Gingerbreads winger. Fortnum-Tomlinson went down as he rounded the goalkeeper and referee Mr Robinson awarded the free kick. He also showed King a red card.
From the free kick, Mickleover blocked the Gingerbreads initial effort, and then Tom Siddons shot goalward. A deflection dropped the ball at Shaun Harrad’s feet. He turned the ball past Nathan Jarman to put Grantham in front despite appeals for offside from the home side.
The home side didn’t give up on the game and came at Grantham a free kick from John McGrath just before half time was saved by Wright. After the break the home side still pressed and Ross Barrows was in the right place to clear after a corner from the foot of the Gingerbreads post.
Grantham began to build pressure, Danny Durkin and Fortnum-Tomlinson had shooting chances, but could only find Jarman in the Mickleover goal. Barrows and Fernando Bell-Toxtle also got in the right place, but couldn’t’ find the target.
Driven by Pablo Mills, the home side levelled after 71 minutes. Mills forced another save from Wright and from the ensuing corner, latched onto a loose ball inside the Gingerbreads penalty area and fired in to equalise.
Grantham proved too strong for their hosts in the last ten minutes. They got their noses back in front thanks to a calm run and finish from Fortnum-Tomlinson. Siddons played a perfect ball down the line for Fortnum-Tomlinson. He outpaced the Mickleover defence and calmly finished across Jarman.
Three minutes from time, Burrows wrapped the game and the points up for Grantham. A trademark Burrows strike from outside the penalty area gave Jarman no chance and made the points safe for the Gingerbreads.