CARL Macauley says Witton Albion did not get the reward their performance deserved following a 3-2 defeat against Grantham Town.

The Gingerbreads established a two-goal lead after an hour thanks to Jordan Hempenstall’s brace despite their hosts creating more chances to score.

Stefan Galinksi headed a third for the visitors before Rob Hopley’s late brace.

“We were better than them, but that’s not reflected in the result,” rued Macauley afterwards.

“Collectively in our defence we largely containted their two lads up front – guys that are in tremendous form and scoring loads of goals – and I felt we dealt with that challenge well.

“We fought hard in midfield, and won lots of second-balls while our front players gave their back four a hard time.

“When you win those battles, then you have to create chances.

“We did that, and had good openings, but weren’t able to make the most of them.”

He told the Guardian that the away team’s second goal, a counter-attack that ended with Hempenstall scampering away from Prince Haywood to score, was avoidable.

Albion had an attacking corner, only for Danny McKenna to lose possession cheaply and Grantham took advantage.

Macauley said: “We came out after half-time hoping to make a quick start, and that’s what happened.

“Their goalkeeper somehow makes a save from young Owen [Dale], and you’re stood there thinking: ‘Is this going to be our day?’

“Then we shot ourselves in the foot by conceding a really bad goal against the run of play.

“I watch kids’ football on a Sunday morning, and my young son is playing, and you see goals scored like that.

“It’s so frustrating as a manager.

“We have to improve on that because teams as good as Grantham don’t need to be gifted poor goals.”

Albion rallied late on, and raised hopes they might pinch a point after Hopley twice netted from close-range.

However time ran out, and the Gingerbreads celebrated gleefully with their supporters following the final-whistle after climbing to second in the Northern Premier League’s Premier Division table.

Macauley said: “There are positives, lots of them.

“We thought carefully about the side we selected, and what would be the best way for us to stop an excellent side from playing.

“I think that plan worked too.

“I can only praise my players for their character, and their willingness to keep going.

“There are lessons we must learn though.”