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Reserves Triumph at Gay Meadow
By: Mike Worden
A SINGLE goal from Darren Mansaram halfway through the first half gave Grimsby reserves the points in a tightly fought contest at Gay Meadow last night and provided a spot of brightness in an otherwise gloomy week for the Mariners.
Of the Town starting line up only Chris Thompson had played any part in the Mariners' disappointing first team game the previous night. And it was Thompson who was Town's best player, most effective when dropping deep into midfield and creating opportunities for Mansaram and the wide players Hockless and Downes. Paul Raven once again partnered Simon Ford at the back.
Shrewsbury fielded a strong side with former Northampton striker Chris Freestone leading the attack. Shrewsbury Manager Kevin Ratcliffeâ€™s Chester connections were evident with Ian Jenkins and Darren Moss in the side.
Shrewsbury also had a player called Thompson (Darren) on the pitch, who confusingly was also known to his team-mates as â€˜Thommoâ€™. Lots of thought goes into these player's nicknames. For the next 90 minutes cries of â€˜Thommoâ€™ rang out in the cool Shropshire air. Luckily Paul Wilkinson kept another Thompson (Ross) on the bench, although he asked him to get ready to come on twice.
There was nothing of any real note about the first half. The sides were evenly matched and 0-0 seemed the likely outcome.
In the second half Grimsby seemed to have the advantage, playing some neat football through midfield. It didn't all go all their way though and Bolder and Thompson were lucky to escape bookings after showing their frustration. Most of Bolderâ€™s frustrations seemed to be directed at his own striker, Mansaram. Shrewsbury could have easily scored but for some dreadful finishing and a couple of fine saves from Steve Croudson.
In the end it was Mansaramâ€™s goal which separated the sides. And what a good goal it was. A brilliant ball through the Shrews defence found Downes on the Grimsby right. His driven cross was met by Mansaram but was saved by keeper Cartwright, who couldn't hold it. â€˜Dazâ€™ however made sure with his second attempt and the four Town fans in the Main Stand went delirious (well not exactly and two of the â€˜fansâ€™ were full-back Gary Moranâ€™s Mum and Dad).
Town: Croudson, Ward, Moran, Busscher, Ford, Raven, Downes, Boulder, Mansaram, C. Thompson, Hockless.
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