Grantham Town: 1.Dan Haystead, 2.Sam Purcicoe, 3.Lee Ridley, 4.Paul Lister, 5.Deon Meikle, 6.Rhys Lewis, 7.Gary King (17.Kieran Walker, 8.Michael Towey (16.Jack McGovern, 90 mins), 9.Paul Grimes, 10.Gregg Smith (15.Jake Hardy, 94 mins), 11.Lee Potts. Subs not used: 12.Richard Whyman, 14.Adie Hawes.
Marine: 1.Callum Williams, 2.Connor Roberts-Nurse, 3.Joe Fowler, 4.Dale Wright, 5.John Shaw, 6.Jonathan Goulding, 7.Michael Monaghan (14.Matty Devine, 58 mins), 8.Lee Parle, 9.Karl Noon (12.Andy Fowler, 76 mins), 10.Will Jones, 11.Ian Latham (16.Sean Colton, 86 mins). Subs not used: 15.Josh Sumner, 17.Sean Lake.
Grantham Town: G.Smith (16, 66 and 81 mins).
Marine: Roberts-Nurse (22 mins).
Marine: Shaw (66 mins).
Referee: Mr W Gunnill.
The Gingerbreads coped by far the best with very awkward conditions. A very strong wind blowing down the pitch meant clearances from both goalkeepers struggled to make half way. Grantham not only defended well against the wind in the first half, but went on to take advantage after the break.
“They decided to play with the wind from the start.” Said joint manager Jimmy Albans. “That suited us, to be honest, because we often play better into it! It was so strong that in the second half, they struggled to get out of their box and we played the conditions better than they did.”
Marine forced early corners which was not surprising given the wind; however, they failed to take advantage of them. The closest the visitors came was from a throw in that Grantham didn’t clear well. The ball fell to Joe Fowler who stabbed his shot over the Grantham crossbar.
Grantham got to grips with playing the conditions first and took the lead shortly after. A goal kick from Dan Haystead found Paul Grimes inside the Marine half. He hooked the ball into the path of Gregg Smith. Marine goalkeeper Callum Williams rushed out to try and get there first, but Smith took the ball round him and slotted it between two covering defenders to give Grantham the lead.
Marine responded quickly. Good defending by Michael Towey was needed to stop a Marine move as they tried to play their way through the Grantham defence inside the penalty area. On 22 minutes, they used the wind to their advantage to draw level. A free kick from 25 yards out was whipped straight into the top corner of Dan Haystead’s net by Connor Roberts-Nurse.
Smith continued to cause a lot of problems for the visitors. Just after the half hour mark, he had two half chances to put Grantham back in front. After some good control, he took on the Marine defence, but shot wide. A few minutes later, he linked well with Grimes again, this time setting up Grimes, but Williams made a good save to keep scores level.
After some brief Marine pressure, Grimes set up Gary King for the last chance of the first half. King drove a low cross into the heart of the Marine defence. Roberts-Nurse sliced his clearance, fortunately for the visitors, over the top of his own goal. After the break, the Gingerbreads snuffed out the first chance Marine had to get on top with some good defending.
After the first few minutes of the second half, it began to look as though there would only be one side in it. King shot over the bar, then Smith scuffed his shot from a good position. The Gingerbreads striker looked to have broken the deadlock after 52 minutes. He latched onto a ball over the top of the Marine defence and went on to comfortably beat Williams, only to be flagged offside.
King and Deon Meikle then took it in turns to trouble Marine. Meikle chipped a cross in for King, but he headed just over the crossbar and when King had a shot blocked, Meikle fired the loose ball over the top of the visitors’ goal.
It began to look as though the afternoon might be a frustrating one for Grantham as first Grimes was inches away from a Sam Purcicoe cross, then Smith rattled the woodwork when he was set up well by Lee Potts. Smith settled nerves after 66 minutes. Haysteads\' free kick was perfect for Smith to rise with Jonathan Goulding and head over Williams to put Grantham back in front.
The Gingerbreads kept the pressure on Williams, forcing a number of mistimed clearances by the Marine stopper. Smith hooked an effort just over the top from one of them. The Marine goalkeeper did well to deny Grimes after 76 minutes when King set Grimes up, but a good low save kept the game alive for the visitors.
The result was settled nine minutes from time. Kieran Walker delivered a long throw into the Marine penalty area. Smith headed it on fro Grimes who returned the ball back for Smith to head home for his hat-trick.
“I’m pleased for Gregg Smith”. Said Albans. “Since we have been here, he has been top drawer. There have been a number of chances for him that haven’t gone in recently, so to get a hat-trick today is a just reward for all he has done.”