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Away Day Blues For The Mariners

By: Richard Lord
Date: 06/03/2002

DESPITE the magnificent weekend win against Crystal Palace, Grimsby Town still find themselves deep in the relegation mire after a 2-1 defeat to Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium tonight. The Mariners did lead through a first half Mick Boulding goal but lost the impetus.

Paul Groves decided to field the same team that won so convincingly on Saturday, but it was inevitable that there were going to be tired legs as this was Town's fourth game in 11 days.

That meant Allen and Boulding continued their partnership up front, and David Smith continued in Tony Gallimore's absence at left back. Within the first few minutes, Smith pulled up and was replaced by Ben Chapman.

After twenty minutes Grimsby took a deserved lead. Coyne followed two magnificent saves by assisting Boulding with the opening goal. The keeper's long punt down the field went straight to Boulding who finished superbly.

The game became very even and on the stroke of half time Gillingham got the equaliser. Paul Shaw could afford to lay on the ground and still find the back of the net after Grimsby failed to clear their lines.

It was a poor time to concede the goal as the Mariners had been steady throughout the half. It was to get worse 10 minutes into the second half when the Gills took the lead.

Andy Todd, the loan defender from Charlton who had played superbly in his three games for Grimsby, sold Coyne short with a poor back-pass and former Scunthorpe striker Guy Ipoua took full advantage to slot home Gillingham's second.

The second half produced a disappointing display from the Mariners who were clearly overran in midfield. 20 minutes before the end Stacy Coldicott came on for Allen to bolster the midfield, and that left Boulding as the lone striker.

Town did push forward on occasions but couldn't find the breakthrough, although both Campbell and Butterfield had half chances to draw the teams level.

Gillingham had chances to increase their lead but again Coyne was in splendid form and denied the home side time after time. The first half was a solid display by Grimsby, but they lost their way in the second half.

Other results didn't really go Town's way, as Walsall and Crewe both won, but Barnsley were beaten at Gresty Road, which means the Yorkshire outfit are also deep in trouble.

Sheffield Wednesday are two points ahead of the Mariners and have a game in hand, but this defeat in Kent puts added pressure on the crunch six-pointer against Walsall at Blundell park on Saturday.

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