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Six of the Best!

By: Richard Lord
Date: 23/03/2002

THE form team of the division Wimbledon were absolutely torn apart this afternoon as Grimsby found the visitor's back of the net on no less than SIX occasions. Remarkably there were two hattrick heroes, Michael Boulding and Alan Pouton, who will have to fight between themselves for the match ball.

The second half will go down in history as being one of the Mariners' best performances. Three goals in as many minutes rounded off a completely Grimsby-dominated second half.

The first half was very different as the Dons completely controlled the game. They deservedly went in front on 23 minutes when Neil Shipperly nodded in a close-range header.

Boulding had Town's first effort on goal, but with the louder fans behind them, Wimbledon continued to drive the game at Town's defence. However the Mariners were lucky to get back in the game on 31 minutes.

Gallimore drove the ball into the area and Allen touched it off too heavily for himself, but Boulding steamed in to ram the ball home from 10 yards. Grimsby were only really in first gear and couldn't get going.

They went behind for the second time on 41 minutes when a corner was thumped home from close range by Agyemang. The game approached half time and Grimsby deserved to be behind.

But somehow they forced their way back into the match when Pouton side-footed home at the far post a McDermott cross that crept through the Dons' defence. So, half time, 2-2. Conclusion? Town were lucky.

A different team appeared second half to take the game to Wimbledon. Grimsby literally camped in the Dons' half and only a brief two-minute spell bringing two corners gave Town anything to worry about.

All the action was coming at the other end. Town went close on a couple of occasions through Allen and Boulding. Then came the turning point in the game. The Mariners' possession was finally rewarded when Boulding quite clearly had his shirt pulled.

The referee pointed to the spot and a confident Pouton, who missed with his last spot kick back in September against Sheffield United in the League Cup, stroked the ball past Ian Feuer in the Wimbledon goal.

That goal came in the 72nd minute and Town fans only had to wait another ten minutes before the fourth goal, which came in rather fortuitous circumstances. Boulding was released clean through on goal, and Feuer recklessly hacked him down in the area.

The keeper, who had let seven in against Town when playing for Luton in 1996, was given his marching orders and a reserve keeper replaced him - and saved Pouton's penalty.

However, the linesman raised his flag and the referee ordered Pouton to re-take the penalty. So the combative midfielder had a second chance to grab his first hat trick, and he did by placing the ball in a different part of the goal.

Two minutes later Boulding ran on to a long ball, touched it wide and stroked it past the reserve keeper to make it five. Then, just a minute later, Boulding sealed his hat trick following up on a Pouton shot that was spilt by the keeper.

Six for Grimsby, and this was against a team that had only lost 11 games before today. They were at the top of the form table - but not any more. As Alan Hansen would say, it was an "awesome" performance from the Mariners to pull them clearer from the relegation zone.

Sheffield Wednesday drew, Walsall lost and Barnsley won so Grimsby have to continue in the same form to assure safety before the last day of the season at Millwall.

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