GARY Martindale said a debate on whether Grantham Town’s winning goal ought to have stood would have been academic had Witton Albion taken their chances.

The Gingerbreads avenged a narrow defeat at Wincham Park a fortnight earlier when Jack McGovern’s drive with eight minutes left was judged by a linesman to have crossed the line despite goalkeeper Greg Hall’s best attempt to keep it out.

“Greg was adamant he’d stopped it,” said Albion’s assistant manager.

“And he may be right, but we were stood too far away to make a judgement on that.

“What I can say is there wouldn’t be an argument to have if we’d been more ruthless at the other end of the field, particularly in the first-half.

Indeed the visitors had wasted an opportunity to take the lead inside 30 seconds when captain Rob Hopley ran clear.

They survived a scare too after Lewis Doyle, a midfielder Witton have borrowed from Southport, felled Chris Dawson inside the penalty area.

Hall guessed correctly where Shane Benjamin would send the resulting spot-kick and the Grantham front man couldn’t convert from the rebound either.

Billy Smart headed over from Danny McKenna’s cross before Jordan Adabayo-Smith looped an attempt wide of the target at the other end.

Albion had a first attempt on goal after the turnaround but the Gingerbreads’ number on Sam Andrew was equal to Doyle’s deflected shot.

He was similarly confident when stopping James Foley’s drive too.

Grantham improved in the closing stages and were rewarded when McGovern broke the deadlock.

Full-back Connor Bartle’s long throw was cleared only as far as the waiting midfielder and his strike flew towards goal.

Hall appeared initially to have tamed it before but the ball squirmed away from his body.

Martindale said: “Grantham are battling for their lives and always had a chance at 0-0.

“It reminded me in many ways of our win at Farsley Celtic but on that occasion we nicked a goal and kept out the opposition.

“The lads deserve credit for another swift start to a game because they came out blazing, only we’ve had a reminder that at this level you can’t afford not to score while you’re on top.”

Grantham | Andrew (GK), Briers (Green 15), Bartle, Miller, Ward, Brooks (Tweed 65), Dawson, McGovern, Benjamin (Grouse 80), Francis, Adebayo-Smith Subs not used Payne, Omar Goal McGovern 82

Witton | Hall (GK), Gardner, McKenna, Wardle, Harrison, Smart, Doyle (Abadaki 71), Owens (Egan 58), Hopley, Jones, Foley Subs not used Cesaire, Offord, Neild (GK)

Referee Richie Watkins

Attendance 205