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Trafford 2 Grantham Town 1
TRAFFORD stole the points with two late goals in a controversial clash at a wind-swept Shawe View on Saturday.
The visitors dominated from the start with Gary King firing in a pile-driver after just three minutes that was brilliantly tipped over by Kieran O’Hara and Paul Grimes shooting over from the angle of the six yard box a minute later.
O’Hara pushed a Michael Towey shot past the post as Trafford struggled to play with any cohesion, their cause certainly not being helped by an injury to Paul Ashton that saw him replaced by Simon Hackney.
Grantham remained in control with King turning inside Trafford left back Luke Heron but firing high and wide and then Towey squandering a great chance when he shot against the outside of the post from 15 yards.
As half time approached Grimes just failed to connect cleanly from close range and at the interval Trafford were left to reflect on the fact that visiting keeper Dan Haystead had not been called upon to make one save.
The second half began in a similar fashion with Town clearly in control and in the 55th minute a cross from Grimes was headed straight at O’Hara by King.
Seven minutes later the visitors were finally rewarded for their dominance when a corner from the left was headed back across goal by Gregg Smith and centre half Paul Lister nodded home from close range.
Two minutes later O’Hara produced another brilliant save from a Gary King free kick before Trafford equalised completely against the run of play in the 71st minute.
A quick break down the right flank ended with Shelton Payne flighting in a cross and Simon Hackney rising to power a superb header into the top corner past the helpless Haystead.
The game had hardly restarted before Town full back Lee Ridley was shown a red card for foul and abusive language towards the referee.
Home striker Michael Oates then missed a great chance when he pulled his shot wide of the far post and Paul Grimes volleyed over as ten men Town battled spiritedly to the end.
Visiting appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears as Nia Bayunu and Paul Lister clashed in the area following a deep cross and the game appeared to be heading for a stale-mate.
However, with two minutes remaining Shelton Payne gained possession just outside the Town penalty area, skipped inside a defender and coolly placed his shot inside the far post to make it 2-1.
And that was the way it stayed as O’Hara remained untroubled in the Trafford goal and the home fans were left to reflect that lady luck had smiled on their team on the day.
Trafford now face two difficult away fixtures, travelling over to the Wirrall on Tuesday night to play high flying AFC Fylde and then on Saturday they make the long journey to the Midlands to play Rushall Olympic.
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