Captain Lees at the Last !
Report by David Robinson
A dramatic last minute winner was enough for the hosts to see off early season leaders Grantham at a breezy Hurst Cross. With the Robins handing a debut to Josh Granite in central defence they also had newcomer Danny Pilkington on the bench and he was to take a significant hand later on. Visiting winger Danny Meadows fired in a fierce effort after 7 minutes which was blocked before Jack Dyche fired Matty Chadwick’s cross wide of the visiting goal with offside being the final verdict.
A mistake by Mark Lees then allowed Jordan Hempenstall to turn inside Aaron Chalmers with Carnell in the home goal making a fine low save with Hempenstall’s juggling effort going over from the resulting corner. Just before the half hour Matt Baker connected with a cross but with no power on the resulting header and last season’s 20 goal marksman Lee Shaw then cut inside but fired his effort just too high.
The breakthrough arrived just before the interval as sub John Pritchard made a great run to the by line and although Dyche missed from directly in front of goal, Liam Tomsett was on hand to knock the ball home at the far post. There was still time before the whistle for Chadwick to be denied by Kieran Preston after Tomsett had played him clear.
8 minutes into the second period and Dyche’s attempted overhead failed to make contact with Chadwick’s cross before sub Jeremiah Dasaolu teed up Meadows whose shot was blocked by Pritchard. Curtis Burrows then retrieved a cross for the Gingerbreads but saw Lee Shaw’s header have insufficient power and Dyche’s cross was then just cut out by Sam Purcicoe. With the game wide open it was no surprise to see the equaliser arrive on 73 minutes as Oliver Luto floated a cross to the far post where Luke Shaw was on hand to convert it, and Chadwick then wriggled along the by line before forcing a corner from which Chalmers’ header was held.
The visitors were increasing the pressure as Burrows’ cross was cleared by Chalmers before Meadows had a shot from distance held but relief was at hand as Pritchard won a free kick 22 yards out, Pilkington giving Preston a straightforward save, but on the final whistle a move starting in their own defence saw Pritchard play in Pilkington before his cross was controlled by captain Lees who fired home left footed. The visitors then compounded their misery as Luto received a straight red card for an offence right by the corner flag.
Team: Carnell, Coo Cartwright (Pritchard 27), Granite (Woodford 88), Chalmers, Platt, Tomsett, Lees, Chadwick, Dyche, Durnin (Pilkington 59) . SNU: Roberts, Olapade.