Grantham Town 3 Stafford Rangers 2
A GOAL five minutes from time condemned Stafford Rangers to defeat at The Meres. on Tuesday night.
Rangers started with only nine men as Darren Bullock and Dan Cope were delayed in traffic.
Both players were on the park after a minute and it was the visitors who took the lead with a spectacular goal from Chris Smith.
He picked up the ball just inside the Granham half, spotted keeper Dan Haystead off his line and planted the ball in the net from all of 45 yards.
Jordan Hempenstall was a thorn in Rangers side and his trickery created a great chance for Michael Towey who missed his kick. However, Hempenstall levelled on 27 minutes, beating two defenders before rounding Jonny Sutherland and tapping home.
Grantham went close to a second when Hempenstall chipped over before Cope skimmed the bar with an effort and the other end.
Against the run of play, Rangers grabbed the lead for a second time. Jimmy McCarthy's cross was not dealt with by the Grantham defence and Saul Henderson stabbed home.
The home side were on level terms within three minutes. A corner to the far post from Jack McGovern was headed home by Michael Jacklin.
Cope forced Haystead into a save but Grantham kept the pressure on. The pressure finally told five minutes from time. A free kick from McGovern was headed powerfully past Sutherland by Paul Lister. Paul Grimes and Hempenstall both went close to increasing the lead as Grantham finished on top.
Grantham - Dan Haystead, Sam Purcicoe, Michael Jacklin, Deon Meikle, Paul Lister, Jack McGovern, Keiron Walker (Rhys Lewis 69), Michael Towey, Jordan Hempenstall, Greg Smith (Paul Grimes 75), Lee Potts (Gary King 88). Subs not used: Adrian Hawes, Lee Ridley
Rangers - Jonny Sutherland, Andy Griffiths, Chris Smith, Joe Ballinger, Darren Bullock, Alex Curtis, Saul Henderson, Ian Craney, Jimmy McCarthy, Matthew Berkeley, Dan Cope. Subs not used: Jack Edwards, Sam Heathcote, Alex Hannan, Tom Vaughan, Matthew Johnson
Referee: A Pashley; Booked: Bullock (Stafford); Attendance:138.
In the Midland Combination Premier, Brocton kept up their title push with a 5-2 home victory over Blackwood on Tuesday.
Sam Bell headed the Badgers into an early lead, putting away a corner from Dave Berks. Not long after, leading scorer Gary Fife made it 2-0. On 15 minuites, Paul McMahon’s header struck a post as Brocton dominated.
McMahon was not to be denied and he latched on to a pass from Fife to make it 3-0.
Blackwood responded and Brocton keeper Adam Whitehouse pushed out a drive from Jake Brown.
Brocton were in a mean mood and McMahon timed his run perfectly to net with a glancing header.
In the second half, Blackwood cut the deficit through Dean Pitt, before Charlie Jones struck Brocton’s fifth.
It was in the closing moments that Brocton conceded a second goal.