When the real action kicks off next month, Spalding United will need to do much better.
Officially, Friday night’s defeat came in the first competitive fixture of the season.
Of course, there are more important matches ahead – and this still felt like a pre-season friendly.
The Tulips couldn’t repeat the quarter-final victory away to Boston United last summer.
There was no way back from a nightmare start as Spalding trailed 2-0 after 16 minutes.
They went behind with 10 men on the pitch after Jordan Lemon suffered a wrist injury.
A mistake by Ellis Humble allowed Grantham Town to get the ball into the six-yard box where Paul Walker scored an own-goal inside the near post under pressure.
Conor Higginson was denied at the other end and within a minute, the Gingerbreads had doubled the advantage.
Poor defending allowed Danny Meadows to convert Curtis Burrows’ corner which shows Spalding will need to sort out their set-pieces before the league campaign gets going.
It could have been worse as Michael Duggan parried a shot from Burrows then Lee Shaw twice missed the target.
Walker had a chance to make amends but fired into the hands of Kieran Preston.
In the second half, amid all the substitutions, Higginson hit the bar from 30 yards.
But there was another lucky escape as George Couzens’ shot bounced off the post and Shaw somehow blazed over.
Couzens produced a low finish past Couzens to make it 3-0.
Spalding brought on three players from the new under-21 development squad to give them experience.
The result was never really in doubt after Grantham’s second goal as they booked a semi-final spot.
Meanwhile, the Tulips have work to do in training and pre-season friendlies to make sure they are ready to pick up points for a promotion push.
4-4-2: Preston; Purcicoe (sub Potts 62 mins), Baker, Galinski, Luto (sub Thompson 62 mins); Meadows, Everington (sub Lewis h-t), McMillan (sub Wright h-t), Burrows (sub Curtis 76 mins); Desaolu (sub Couzens 62 mins), Shaw (sub Woolfe 76 mins).
4-4-2: Duggan; Walker, Spafford, Humble, Jackson; Higginson (sub Marr 67 mins), Beeson, Varley, Lemon (sub Fixter 8 mins, sub Clarke 67 mins); Lockie (sub Durkin 52 mins), King (sub Chipamaunga 78 mins). Sub not used: Smith.
Walker og (8 mins, 1-0): Meadows (16 mins, 2-0); Couzens (71 mins, 3-0).
Lockie, Beeson, Higginson (fouls).