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Lawrence: Massive Day

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 08/04/2001

DELIGHTED Grimsby manager Lennie Lawrence declared Saturday's win over Tranmere a "Massive day. We've got a hill to climb now but I think that if we'd have lost, with the results the way they were, we would have had a mountain to climb."

The Town boss told the post-match press conference: "In a way the win makes up for the dropped point at Norwich last week which we deserved."

Lawrence now sees the Mariners as one of a cluster of clubs fighting to avoid the 3rd relegation place. "I think that QPR and Tranmere are going to keep going to the end, but it will be the performance of the last twenty years if they get out of it from where they are. I see it as a fight between seven maybe eight clubs for one spot. That's what the results have done today. Everybody up to and including Norwich in my opinion is still in it. So you are going to see a fantastic topsy-turvy end to the season and it might go down the last day. What matters is that we are back in the pack, we're not in the bottom three. A lot of them play in midweek - we don't, so we have to hope that we stay out of the bottom three as a result of the midweek games."

The Grimsby manager was delighted with atmosphere produced by the 5,816 fans in the ground. "The crowd today were first class. We made an appeal for that during the week, talking the game up and said how important it was, and the people of this town have responded excellently. They started us off, they got right behind the team. Even when we went a goal behind they kept going, there was no criticism.

"In the second half it was first class. They were a significant factor today. They had a great effect on the game, it was a big lift, the best they've been since I've been here, at the most important time. They've got to do it again for us - four more times. But most certainly they've got to do it again next Saturday." said the Town boss.

In an amusing plea to the Grimsby public Lawrence, who stated he was not superstitious, added: "I would dearly like every man, woman and child who came today to get the same clothes on, you can wash them in between, and get down here next Saturday. When they've done that, they can get exactly the same clothes on, and come down here the Saturday after for Sheffield United".

Grimsby went into the break 1-0 down after a breakaway goal by Tranmere's dangerman Koumas, but failed to capitalise on their few chances in the first period. "The players, they started well, they have the mental strength. Physically they're fine, they competed, we just lacked a little bit of quality in and around their box in the first half. We had two or three chances, failed to convert them, and in these sort of games you got to do that."

Lennie Lawrence made a bold double substitution at half time, replacing front two Daryl Clare and Michael Jeffrey with Steve Livingstone and Luke Cornwall, and the move paid off in spectacular fashion. "I made the changes, no disrespect to anybody, it had to be done, we haven't got time to mess about. Luke's found it a little difficult, but all of a sudden things have dropped today. It's a long time since somebody knocked one down like Livvo did there, and at least he's anticipated and toed it in. He was in the right place at the right time for the second goal, now we don't get that very often, we've missed that, so credit to him." said the Grimsby manager.

"I changed our shape, I put Kevin in behind the front two, obviously you had to do something like that at half time, and it worked. To be fair to the players even if we hadn't have got a result nobody could reproach them, nobody could say they didn't their whack in. They ran themselves ragged, they tackled, they headed, they did their best. We got caught by a good Koumas goal, and we just couldn't score in the first half. But once we got one, there was only going to be one winner.

"Credit to the players. But they've got to show the same spirit and commitment to the rest of the games. We've got two over Easter, but the home games are quite nicely spaced out, and if we get atmospheres like that we've got half a chance." said Lawrence.

The Town boss concluded: "Ask yourselves this question: when I came after 3 games and we had 1 point, where did you honestly think you'd be at this stage of the season with 6 games to go? If you're honest you'd say "just outside the bottom three with a bit of luck". You would do wouldn't you, with what we've got here? And that's where we are. On we go, we live to fight another day."

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