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LL: Draw Fair Result

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 21/03/2001

GRIMSBY manager Lennie Lawrence, speaking after the match in which Town suffered an early 1-0 deficit said. "A strange game, we were obviously against the wind in the first half. We coped with the conditions reasonably well but the goal was disappointing."

Lawrence put the opening goal by Blues' 20-year-old striker Andrew Johnson down to "a lapse in concentration, unnecessary over-elaboration in midfield, that set us back. But we coped, as with the Wimbledon experience, we didn't dip as a result of it."

Town equalised with their first penalty of the season in the final action of the first half, a decision that shocked the Grimsby manager. "The last 10 minutes of the first half we looked quite good. Michael Jeffrey had that chance and then we got the goal. The players were adamant it was a clear handball. I was so surprised to get a penalty! I was pleased to see Alan Pouton pick it up after he'd just come on, and tuck it away quite nicely to put us back on level terms."

The second half of the match saw the bulk of the chances for both sides, but was more adventurous than the former Boro boss would have liked. "The second half was a bit too end-to-end for me. Exciting, and they played with great spirit the players, good commitment but it was a bit to hairy. " said the Grimsby manager.

"We played with our hearts perhaps slightly more than our heads. We could have won it, but we could have lost it. With ten minutes to go I'm looking for them not to chase it too much, and they were doing it right to the end nearly. Commendable but sometimes you pay for that, especially against teams of that quality. Fortunately we didn't and a draw was about a fair result on the night so I'm happy with that. Tranmere have lost so we've made another small step forward."

Lawrence was satisfied that his players had stood up to the relentless march of the fixture list in recent weeks. "Physically we've had three Tuesday games on the trot as well as our Saturday games, and we stood up very well. People have played in all of those games, and there was no problem physically, so that was excellent. We've got over that three games in a week syndrome."

The Grimsby manager collectively praised his team but singled out first half substitute Alan Pouton for special mention. "Alan Pouton came on - he's like Roy of the Rovers." said Lawrence. "I'm never seen him properly fit since I've been here. He's got boundless enthusiasm the boy, he'll give me a few heart attacks, sure as day follows night. He livened it up and he certainly made a contribution."

Above all Lawrence felt it had been a good team performance. "We needed everybody, we needed all fourteen. We're a good team, perhaps not quite at our best at the moment, but we're a useful outfit and it was a good result." said the Town manager

The draw sees Grimsby precariously placed just above the relegation zone, and with no game this weekend, all eyes will be on the other results. "We know we can still finish halfway up the table and that we can still be relegated. If we'd lost, drawn or won this game that would still have applied, and it probably applies even more because we've drawn." said Lawrence.

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