DATE  17.12.2016
COMPETITION   Evo-Stik Premier League
Grantham Town  GRANTHAM TOWN (2) 4
 Meadows (35), Shaw (38), (78), Dasaolu (74)
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (1) 1
 Brenan (21)
MoTM  Dan Crane
TOP SCORER  George Carline (9)
FORM GUIDE  W  W  W  W  D  L  L  L  W  W  L
1st Rushall Olympic 24 48
2nd Buxton 24 43
3rd Blyth Spartans 21 41
4th Whitby Town 24 41
6th Spennymoor Town 22 39
7th Nantwich Town 20 37
8th Matlock Town 21 37
9th Stourbridge 21 36
10th Warrington Town 24 36
11th Workington 24 36
12th Grantham Town 26 35
The Pitmen's brief run of good form came crashing to a halt this afternoon, as a rampant Grantham side put the visitors to the sword by taking advantage of their oh-so-familiar defensive woes at the South Kesteven Stadium

Another week of ins and outs for Paul Casey had seen Kyle Haynes return to the club from Halesowen Town, as well as the loan signing of Courtney Wildin from Boston United. Defender Calum Flanagan had been subject to a seven day approach from Solihull Moors , whilst the whereabouts of Ashley Sammons and Jamie Matthews were shrouded in mystery with neither player involved. Wildin came in to make his debut for the club, whilst Haynes missed out due to a hamstring pull

Grantham's form had picked up in recent weeks, with the Gingerbreads now in the relatively safe position of thirteenth place after five league games without defeat since a 2-1 reverse to Matlock Town last month. Grantham included right back Luther Wildin in their starting line-up, coming up against his brother Courtney after joining from Notts County on loan in September

A cold, blowy afternoon in Lincolnshire started with the Pitmen initially on the front foot, as Kyle Rowley's second minute cross was turned goalwards by Spencer Weir-Daley, who saw his effort saved by Kieran Preston in the Grantham goal

Weir-Daley was involved again in the seventh minute, as another cross was controlled by the striker before he pulled his effort narrowly wide of the far post with a low driven shot

Gradually, however, Grantham started to come back into the game and started to create clear openings of their own. In the eighth minute, Rhys Lewis fired over the crossbar after being given too much time on the edge of the penalty area

Dan Crane came to the Pitmen's rescue for the first time in the afternoon on fourteen minutes, making a superb save to deny Lee Shaw from close range after his defence had only partially cleared a Grantham corner

Crane was thankful for Rowley's positional sense three minutes later, as the right back headed a goalbound shot off the goal line as Grantham continued to press

And yet, despite being put on the back foot, it was the away side that took the lead against the run of play on twenty one minutes; a corner kick from Jamie Sheldon found the head of the tall presence of Dan Brenan, with the young centre back heading beyond Preston to register his first Hednesford goal

Grantham did not allow the opening goal to disrupt their flow, as they continued to have the better of the play and chances

After another period of pressure, the Gingerbreads got the equaliser their efforts deserved in the thirty fifth minute. A great run down the left from Shaw saw him ghost past Rowley, before crossing for Danny Meadows to turn the ball past Crane at the far post with a downward header

The Pitmen were rattled, and failed to compose themselves before Grantham took the lead three minutes later. Lazy marking in the Hednesford defence allowed Shaw to beat the flimsy offside trap and steer the ball past Crane as he raced through unmarked

The Pitmen simply had no answer to Grantham's bold attacking approach, with another chance falling to Shaw in the final minute of the first half as he once again found his way in behind the Hednesford defence but pulled his cross-shot wide of the far post

There was still time for Crane to make another brilliant save, turning Jeremiah Dasaolu's shot away from goal with a superb save low down to his left

The Pitmen will have no doubt had a dressing down from Casey at half time, having allowed Grantham to take control of the game with ease due to poor defending and a lack of cohesive passing game throughout the first half. They initially responded well at the start of the second half, with the anonymous David McDermott finally getting involved in the game on fifty minutes, seeing his goalbound shot blocked and turned away for a corner kick

Weir-Daley was still looking most likely to drag the Pitmen back into the game, as he had two efforts at goal blocked by the Grantham defence in the space of  four minutes

Weir-Daley's strike partner Tony Clarke had offered little in terms of an attacking threat for the Pitmen, with the big striker replaced by Reece Leek on sixty one minutes

Crane was back in action for the Pitmen once more, making another good stop to deny Shaw a third goal for Grantham on sixty two minutes

Substitute Leek looked to make an impact on the game on seventy minutes, but headed Wildin's cross high over the crossbar at the far post

The home side finally put some daylight between themselves and the Pitmen on seventy four minutes. Once again, it was Shaw that did the damage, getting in behind the Pitmen's woeful defence once more down the left before pulling the ball across to Dasaolu, who slotted home to make it 3-1

The Pitmen made a double change on seventy seven minutes, with Luke Shearer coming on for McDermott and Montel Gibson making his debut as he replaced the disappointing Sheldon

The Pitmen were the architects of their own downfall a minute later, as a comedy of errors saw a Meadows cross from the right turned onto his own crossbar by Gavin Caines, via a touch from Crane, only for the ball to fall kindly to Shaw, who scored Grantham's fourth from close range

So, a step backwards for Casey's side after two steps forward after successive league wins before this weekend, as the Pitmen fall to fifth in the table ahead of the busy Christmas period. They will need to work hard on the training pitch in the next week or so, particularly in defence, if they are to avoid the embarrassment of defeat to local rivals Stafford rangers when the Pitmen visit Marston Road on Boxing Day
Gavin Caines watches on  New boy Courtney Wildin gets stuck in  Strikers Tony Clarke and Spencer Weir-Daley in action  Goal! Dan Brenan celebrates his opener for the Pitmen
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 90  
Kyle Rowley 90    
Courtney Wildin 90
Stuart McNaught 90    
Gavin Caines 90    
Dan Brenan 90   1
Jamie Sheldon 77 Gibson  
Tom Thorley 90    
Tony Clarke 61 Leek
Spencer Weir-Daley 90  
David McDermott 77 Shearer  
Montel Gibson 13 Sheldon  
Reece Leek 29 Clarke  
Luke Shearer 13 McDermott
James Mutton 0  
George Forsyth 0