Controversial injury time goal sinks Reds
In a match interrupted by a thunderstorm and eventually completed in three sections...
... Reds twice took the lead, were pegged back each time by Jordan Hempenstall only to concede a controversial winner deep into stoppage time.
It left joint boss, David Hewson, angry and frustrated after a great opportunity to register that elusive first away win was frittered away.
“How we can go from being in control and leading 2-1 to throwing it all away so late in the game is beyond me,” he said.
“The manner in which we conceded those late goals is worrying and things have got to change. We put our trust in the squad and take full responsibility for the results but players have to learn not to switch off.”
Reds were well on top in the early stages, second best for a spell, took the lead for a second time only to collapse late in the game conceding two costly goals in the process.
When referee Ed Pidduck suspended play in the thirty seventh minute, due to thunder and lightning, Grantham’s players couldn’t get back to the dressing rooms quick enough whilst Reds questioned the decision and seemed more reluctant to come off.
Understandable, considering their dominance up until then. They were not quite the same when play eventually restarted, with the early half time break clearly disrupting their rhythm.
They had taken a thirteenth minute lead and carved out enough openings to double or even treble the advantage.
James Earl headed them in front via one of eight first half corners. The ball was floated into the danger area from Jake Simpson and Earl stooped to head home from six yards.
Simpson’s set pieces were causing Town all sorts of problems but, somehow, they survived further damage. Matty Douglas saw one header deflected wide for a corner and another goal-bound shot blocked while Grantham ‘keeper, Kieran Preston, made a marvellous save to prevent Rhys Lewis netting an own-goal.
But the save of the half saw Preston get down low to deflect Scott Allison’s shot round the post.
Danny Meadows’ shot from distance was the only attempt to trouble Aaran Taylor in the first half and that was after the weather break.
Grantham won their first corner in the fiftieth minute and, soon after, Andrew Wright’s fierce shot brought the best out of Taylor who pushed the ball over the bar.
Hempenstall headed a fifty sixth minute equaliser for ‘The Gingerbreads’ when he met Meadows’ cross from the right. Taylor had no chance with the goal but then gathered another Wright effort from distance.
It was against the run of play, somewhat, when Reds restored their lead after seventy minutes. The ball fell to Allison just outside the area and a crisp left foot strike skimmed past Preston and into the net.
He could have put the game beyond Grantham’s reach but was thwarted by another important Preston save.
In between Allison’s goal and near miss, the home side were awarded what appeared a soft penalty. Douglas was adjudged to have tripped Lee Shaw but there was no audible appeals from the hosts as Mr. Pidduck pointed to the spot.
Luke Shaw, no relation incidentally, stepped up but blasted his penalty high and wide, a welcome reprieve for Reds and a sense of justice for Douglas.
But Town did level matters four minutes from time when Reds were caught day dreaming following a free-kick. The ball was headed back across goal and Hempenstall crashed the ball into the roof of the net from a yard out.
The striker was then denied his hat-trick when an audacious flick was kept out by a magnificent Taylor save as Grantham sensed a victory.
And sure enough it came, two minutes into the four added for stoppages.
Top scorer, Lee Shaw, was clearly offside when he received the ball but there was no flag from the assistant. With Reds defenders appealing in vain for the decision, the Grantham striker made the best of his good fortune, advanced towards goal and guided the ball past Taylor for the late, late winner.
The result left Reds languishing in 20th spot and without a win since the opening day.
Grantham Town Preston, Potts (Luke Shaw, 54), Luto, Baker, Galinski (McMenemy, 82), Lewis, Meadows, Wright (Everington, 75), Hempenstall, Lee Shaw, Burrows. Substitutes – Thompson, Hollingsworth (not used).
Workington Taylor, Simpson, Symington, Wordsworth, Douglas, Calvert, Earl (Holt, 67), Wright, Ryan (Joel, 90), Allison, Tinnion. Substitutes – Smith, Mellen, Holliday (not used).
Referee Edward Pidduck, Nottingham
Bookings: Calvert, Simpson, Holt, Wordsworth, Wright (Workington)