GRANTHAM went a goal up in front of more than 1,200 fans at the Meres today but were ultimately beaten after going down to ten men.
Newly promoted Grantham Town pushed FC United - one of the best supported non-league sides in the country - throughout a hard-fought game which saw Paul Grimes put Grantham one-nil up.
The celebrations were marred by ugly clashes between a small group of both fans from both sides (more to follow).
FC United levelled before the break and went ahead when Town goalkeeper James Lindley gave away a penalty and was sent off for a goalmouth trip.
Centre-back Grant Brindley went in goal and incredibly saved the penalty - only for United to take a 2-1 lead from the rebound.
FC United were soon 3-1 up but The Gingerbreads battled back with Sam Purcicoe quickly pulling one back for 3-2.
But any chance of a miracle comeback ended when FC United striker Mike Norton grabbed the away side’s fourth to make it 4-2.
Grantham Town joint manager Wayne Hallcro:
“It was a dream start really, being 1-0 up. Then we had a couple of half-chances and one really good chance that could have made it 2-0 - then the game’s clearly different.”
Grantham Town joint manager Jimmy Albans:
“I was delighted with the whole 90 minutes.
“I can’t complain about the application, the effort, the attitude. I think we set out to deprive them of the ball and make it very, very hard for them.
“We sat behind the ball and tried to frustrate them and I think it worked very, very well for us.”
Grantham Town chairman Steve Boam:
“I think we conducted ourselves well.
“We were a little naive at times. I think the sending off had a massive impact on the game. At that point I thought we were more than capable of getting a point out of the game.
“I didn’t see a lot there that would worry us and they are red-hot favourites to win this league.
“If that’s the hardest test we are going to have I think we are in for a good season again.”
(On the crowd of more than 1,260)
“It was absolutely brilliant news. It was what we expected - we expected 700 from Manchester and it was great to have near-on 500 from Grantham.”