My Matchday-144 South Kesteven Sports Stadium

Grantham Town 2v0 Nantwich Town
8th September 2007
Unibond League Division One (South)

I’ve become a regular visitor to the Lincolnshire market town of Grantham over the last ten years or so, not only is it the birthplace of former prime sinister Margaret Thatcher (hiss, boo!!!) but also the place of birth of ‘the breadknifes’ Uncle Malcolm (hurray!!!) who many moons ago fell in love and married Geordie lass Ann, living happily ever after in the Lincolnshire countryside. They are frequently visited by their favourite niece and nephew-in-law in search of solace and in the case of the said nephew-type, visiting football grounds within the local vicinity.
The main occasion for our stopover this weekend was a family get together in celebration of Ann’s recent 50th birthday, but with the merriment not due to get under way until 6pm; this gave me a free afternoon to finally check out the local football team; Grantham Town aka The Gingerbreads. [Happy Birthday Ann! x.]

Originally founded in 1874 ‘The Gingerbreads’ began playing at a competitive level from 1925 spanning almost 50 years in the Midland League, the club won their third league title in 1971-72 and decided to try their luck in the Southern League where they enjoyed instant success, winning their third championship title on the spin in the Southern League Division 1 North, winning promotion to the Premier League.
The following season the club just missed out on winning a fourth consecutive title, finishing runners-up to Dartford, their highest finish within the pyramid, that same season was also their best performance in the FA Cup, reaching the majestic third round stage after knocking out Rochdale in the 2nd round, their reward was a home tie against Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough, giraffe necks team avoid any giant killing however, winning 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 6573 at London Road.
Grantham’s geographical location makes them one of ‘the inbetweenees’ of Non-League football, an apparent target in re-shuffling between northern and southern based leagues, when the club suffered relegation in 1978 they won the league the following season, but due to the formation of the Alliance (Football Conference) the club were placed in the Northern Premier League.
By the mid-1980’s the club were back playing in the Southern League, during this era there were many changes afoot, after the club almost went out of business a new board took over, the club added Town to their name in 1987, and by the end of the decade a new football ground, after initial interest shown in redeveloping London Road, a stadium was built to share with the local athletics club on the Meres playing field, in 1989-90 Grantham Town took residence at the brand new South Kesterven Sports Stadium.
Known locally as “the Mairrres” the stadium has a capacity of 7500, the main East Stand is an attractive looking two tier structure in cream and blue, there’s seats at pitch level as well as a splendid view from the top tier, even though the running track usually takes you further away from the pitch, you still feel your close to the action, the club bar is built into the back of the stand and access can be gained in between the two tiers of blue seats. There are two banks of terracing either side of the stand, with one terrace oddly having eight pairs of seats through the middle, behind each goal are open grass banks which are too far away from the pitch and the west side of the ground there’s a covered terrace which houses the hardcore Gingerbread support.
Grantham last season were truly dreadful, after being re-juggled again into the Northern Premier League, they finished tailed off at the bottom, and relegation has found them part of the restructured Unibond League where they’ve been placed “back darn sarf “in the newly formed Unibond League Division One South, so this meant a first meeting at the Maires between themselves and their opponents from Cheshire Nantwich Town.
The game was an even contest with Grantham just shading it, they took a half time lead with a moochers goal from centre forward Sam Wilkinson and even though Nantwich tried there best to find an equaliser in the second half, the Gingerbreads bully boy tactics saw them take the three points, this was rubber stamped with an injury time goal from Sam Mullarkey to give the home side a 2-0 victory.
Grantham match report

I found it hard to concentrate on the game as I was receiving constant text messages from Captain Morgan Stevie (he likes his rum) on the latest news from the International Stadium;Gateshead v Hednesford, my phone was constantly going off and a final score of a 6-2 win to the Heed had me in the mood to do some serious drinking at the evening barbeque, along with a good performance from England, visiting a new ground with a win for the home side in addition of a great night in the company of the breadknifes family, I staggered into my pit at 1.30am content and intoxicated.
Simple Pieman (April 2004)
Ground no.144 – South Kesteven Sports Stadium Web album(18 pictures)

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