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Grimsby 3 Birmingham 1

By: Richard Lord
Date: 26/10/2001

GRIMSBY hero Michael Boulding scored a brace to end a dismal run, unsurpassed since 1909, to hand the Mariners three points in front of the ITV cameras. Birmingham, who had picked up seven points from a possible nine had no answer to the sheer pace and guile of the former Mansfield front man.

Manager Lennie Lawrence spoke of some changes to the side before the game and that included Captain Paul Groves dropping to the bench and Stuart Campbell rested. Butterfield was moved to the right wing with Pouton and Coldicott starting in the centre. Boulding began and ended the match on the left. Rowan was also given a place on the bench making way for the in-form Bradley Allen.

The Mariners threatened the Blues' goal early on but the Birmingham back line coped under pressure. Butterfield was making tracks down the right and Boulding was a constant threat to Eaden down the left. On 28 minutes Grimsby opened the scoring in front of the away following after good interplay between Allen and Butterfield down the right. The low cross was eventually bundled in off the bar by Boulding arriving late at the far post.

However Town were undone at the back almost immediately when Marcelo headed in from close range, only for the Brazilian's effort to be ruled off side after the cross had been flicked on to the unmarked striker.

It was a deserved lead and it was duly doubled seven minutes later. A wicked cross from Pouton was flicked into the net off the head of Jevons as the crowd warmed to the attacking approach from the home team. Minutes later full back Neilsen was brought off and replaced by Chapman, who slotted in at right back.

Just four minutes of the second half had elapsed when Marcelo brought the away side back into the game. A devious cross from the right eluded the Grimsby defence and the hat-trick hero of the weekend leapt at the far post to head home his fourth in two games.

The Town of old would have sat back and defended their precarious one-goal lead, but three minutes later Boulding broke free down the left and latched on to a terrific through ball by Butterfield and sent his shot low under the advancing Vaesen.

Although this was to be the end of the scoring there was still plenty of action. Birmingham twice hit the bar, both through efforts of the troublesome Marcelo but Grimsby also hit the post themselves when hat-trick-seeking Boulding pounced on a poor back pass and rattled the woodwork with a shot from a very acute angle.

Handbags With several minutes to go an altercation occurred between Darren Purse (left) and substitute Jonny Rowan but the officials failed to see the incident, although almost certainly the Blues' Captain would have seen red.

The final whistle was greeted with a warm round of applause from the home fans that had been waiting since September 1 to see a home victory. It equals Town's biggest victory under Lawrence but it could have been many more as for once the Mariners created chance after chance. This was the kind of performance worthy to win any match.

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