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Grimsby 2 Pompey 1
By: Richard Lord
Grimsby Town attained three valuable points this afternoon as goals from Donovan and Livingstone in a first half five-minute spell helped them overcome Portsmouth 2-1 at Blundell Park. As has been the case in the past three home matches, it was the Mariners who started the better team.
Unlike the last two games, on this occasion Town made their pressure pay with two goals in the first 20 minutes which helped win the game. From then on, Pompey struggled to get going, with Town's midfield hurrying and pressing the Hampshire outfit, who failed to string two passes together.
Grimsby entered the game from a morale-boosting last minute equaliser against relegation rivals Stockport County, but also on the back of two disappointing home defeats to Crewe and Wycombe. Lennie Lawrence was aware before the match that Town must regain the sort of home form they were showing before Christmas to stave off relegation.
His team responded well as they dictated the play with Burnett, Campbell and Donovan immediately controlling the midfield. Portsmouth were on the back foot for most of the opening minutes and failed to make an impression. The deadlock was broken on 17 minutes when Donovan slammed home a terrific shot from a similar position to the goal against Crewe leaving Flahavan with no chance in the Portsmouth goal.
Then three minutes later a lovely move down the right resulted in Town doubling their lead. McDermott, back in the team today after injury, raced down the right wing, and Donovan back-heeled the full-back through into the box where his shot deflected into the path of Livingstone who had the simple task of tapping home.
On more than one occasion the home side took apart Portsmouth's defence and thoroughly deserved their lead. The front pairing of Jeffrey and Livingstone were working hard, and the midfield battled well.
In the second half it was the Fratton Park side that controlled much of the game. They threatened to score on several occasions, but found Danny Coyne in top-class form. His one-handed save from a bullet-header from no more than 6 yards out had to be seen to be believed.
But Pompey eventually found their way back into the match after a Grimsby move broke down. A long ball through the middle caught out Enhua who failed to get back, and Lee Bradbury raced through to slot past on on-rushing Coyne.
That goal brought about a nervous last 10 minutes for the Town supporters, but they went home happy in the end and now Lawrence can be relieved that his team have found the home form which proved so illusive against Crewe and Wycombe.
Grimsby: Coyne, Enhua, McDermott, Livingstone, Burnett, Smith D, Groves, Campbell, Donovan, Jeffrey (Pouton 75), Willems
Subs not used: Croudson, Raven, Chapman, Rowan
Bookings: Willems 30, Burnett 68,
Portsmouth: Flahavan , Crowe , Moore , Hiley , Quashie , Miglioranzi , Thogersen (Derry 46) , Hughes (Claridge 54) , Harper (Panaupoulos 41) , Bradbury , Nightingale
Subs not used: Tardif, Waterman
Referee: M S Pike (Barrow-in-Furness)
1st Division Table
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