Northern Premier League
Grantham Town 1Bamber Bridge 0
A single first half goal determined the divide of the spoils at another sun-drenched Meres on Saturday.
The Gingerbreads had more offensively in the first half but the visitors had increasingly the more goal scoring opportunities in the second period, however, ultimately they were unable to convert and handed Grantham all three points.
As is so often the case, the wind played its part, blowing down the length of the pitch – in Town’s favour during the first half.
The Gingerbreads put in what could best be described as a workmanlike performance, in what was an open but disjointed match throughout, with the two sides pretty evenly matched.
The first chance went to Grantham in the second minute from an AJ Adelekan long throw-in, one of many throughout the game, but Tom Ward’s backward header went just wide.
Next to try his luck for Town was James Baxendale, with his sixth minute lob from the centre circle forcing a catch from Bamber goalkeeper Lloyd Rigby.
Greg Smith got a backward header to another Adelekan long throw two minutes later, but it also flew wide.
Town keeper Tom Nicholson was first tested in the 10th minute, just managing to get a weak punch at full stretch to Matt Lawler’s free kick.
A quick turn and shot from Smith in the 14th minute was held up in the wind to drag the ball goalwards, but Rigby safely gathered.
Nicholson tested his opposite number between the sticks two minutes later with a free kick from the Grantham half, the flapping Rigby sending the ball out for a flag kick to prevent what would have been a certain freak goal.
Town skipper Racchi’s corner was subsequently knocked in accidently by keeper Rigby at the far post, although it was initially credited to Westcarr.
The visitors then had the ball in the Grantham net two minutes later, but the referee’s assistant had flagged for the ball having already left the field of play.
Town had a chance to double their lead in the 24th minute. Racchi’s 30-yard free kick curled beautifully in the wind, but it did not fool Rigby who caught safely.
With Nicholson out of position to save, Gingerbreads defender Jack Broadhead prevented a certain equaliser with a clearance from the six-yard box in the 28th minute.
The final action of the half saw James Berrett force a good diving save from Rigby in the second minute of added time.
Smith had a couple of headers early in the second half, the first being caught by Rigby on 47 minutes and the other going wide from another Adelekan throw.
Westcarr’s next chance for Grantham saw him drag wide from inside the box in the 62nd minute.
Smith was on target with his header from an Adelekan throw five minutes later, but Rigby was in the right place to catch.
The first of several Bamber efforts to test Nicholson came from Michael Fowler’s 72nd minute bobbler, but the Town keep gathered safely.
Five minutes later, Nicholson got down well to smother a Ryan White strike down the mouth of the goal. Nicholson was tested again on 80 minutes but was equal to Danny Forbes’ effort.
Bamber’s Alistair Forbes had his 85th minute shot charged down by the Grantham defence.
The Gingerbreads had a really good opportunity to seal the win for sure in the 88th minute, but Ward’s header from a Berrett corner kick flew just over the Bamber bar.
And then it was all Bamber again as injury time approached. Waddecar fired over from 25 yards, Callum Spooner’s 30-yarder was charged down, and substitute Gary Pett’s low free kick was spotted early by Nicholson.
The visitors’ final chance to grab a share of the points came in the 94th minute when a player headed off the post from a Pett throw. Had the ball have gone in, referee Mr O’Connor had already blown for a foul on Nicholson – and shortly thereafter he blew the final whistle.
Grantham Town: Nicholson, Green, Adelekan, Broadhead, Ward, Racchi, McGovern, Berrett, Westcarr (Tweed 86), Smith (Chilaka 78), Baxendale (Goncalves 73). Subs not used: Vale, Andrew. Att: 201.
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