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Lawrence: Gamble Paid Off

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 27/10/2001

LENNIE LAWRENCE'S decision to drop skipper Paul Groves had the Town boss beaming at the end of an enthralling encounter with Birmingham City at Blundell Park. "I had to change things around, I took a bit of a gamble and it's paid off for me," said the delighted Grimsby manager.

"But it's the players who should take the credit because they really care here and you don't often see that. They had to play like million pound players because Birmingham have got several of those.

"...the fans are too quick to get on their backs..."

"It's great when it goes right but the fans are too quick to get on their backs when things don't go right. They didn't cost much money and people get upset when they don't play like million pound players, and that's not right."

"...there's been a lot of doom and gloom around the place..."

"Obviously we have all taken a lot of stick, there's been a lot of doom and gloom around the place, a performance like that helps to lift it."

If Town had lost the game it would have equalled a record sequence of seven consecutive defeats set 92 years ago. "I know I made a few changes but the players are the ones who have to go out there and do it, and if it all goes wrong in the first twenty minutes then it's a difficult one for them." said Lawrence. "But we started very, very well and we looked dangerous, having two chances in the first ten minutes."

The Town boss continued: "We went on from there really, the goals came for us at the right time, the only little set back for us was their goal, so soon after half time, which was disappointing, from a 'set play' again . They looked dangerous from set plays, but I think we were good value for our win tonight. I don't think they played that badly, I just think we played very well and we got our due rewards."

Lawrence revealed that Michael Boulding, who started only his second full game for the Mariners, scoring two goals in the process, was recommended to him by Dave Bassett. "Dave is a good friend of his dad and, as you know, he was a professional tennis player for a long time, so he's come in the game quite late really. He still doesn't know the game, but he's got that devastating burst of speed, and he certainly knows where the goal is."

Blues' caretaker manager Jim Barron singled out Birmingham rearguard as the main culprit for the 3-1 defeat. "We are normally so solid at the back and that was where we lost the game tonight," said Barron. "There and in midfield was where they won the game. It was probably our worst defensive display for a long time." He added: "We've got to put this behind us, as we did the last four games without a defeat, and start thinking about the trip to Portsmouth next week."

Former Birmingham City boss Barry Fry, speaking on ITV Sport Select, also pointed the finger of blame at the Birmingham defence. "I think that's the worst defensive Birmingham performance I've ever seen" said Fry, who masterminded a few of them himself.



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