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Town Fall at First Hurdle

By: Paul Holmes
Date: 11/09/2002

GRIMSBY Town crashed out of the Worthington Cup tonight in disappointing fashion tonight against 2nd Division Chesterfield.

Darren Barnard and Simon Ford did not recover from injuries and their place's in the 16 were taken by Paul Raven and Darren Mansaram. Town, as expected, reverted back to a 4-4-2 formation with Paul Robinson getting the nod to partner Steve Kabba up front. In midfield Stuart Campbell moved across to the left wing with Terry Cooke returning down the right.

It was Town who started the brighter with Robinson and Kabba linking up well with Campbell down the left hand side. The first serious action of the game came around the 10 minute mark when Stacy Coldicott fired tamely at Carl Muggleton in the Chesterfield goal.

Chesterfield started to fight back after Town's promising start, in which everything was right apart from the final product. Andy Rushbury's low cross found David Reeves in space but he fired high and wide from 18 yards. Minutes later Cooke cut in from the right and form 30 yards forced Muggleton to make a fine save to keep the score at 0-0. The Spireites went straight up to the Town goal and Reeves again blazed high and wide from 18 yards.

With about 10 minutes to go before the before the break Martyn Booty saw his shot from the edge of the box hit the upright and drop down just in front of the line before the ball was cleared. Just before the break Tony Gallimore received a knock and limped off to be replaced by Ian Ward making only his second appearance for Town. With Ward and Campbell playing down the left wing, Town now had two right-footers down the left side!

10 minutes into the second half and you got the feeling that it wasn't going to happen. Alan Pouton picked the ball up on the left hand edge of the box after a corner was partially cleared, with a slight body dummy he sent the coming defender the wrong way before floating a beautiful effort over the mass of players in the box and Muggleton only to see the ball hit the upright. Ian Ward then went close with a good run from his own half but his shot was well saved by Muggleton. Moments later Ward was called into action in defence, clearing a goal bound effort of the line.

Chesterfield then hit the woodwork for the second time with 20 minutes to go. Stephen Payne met a Gareth Davies corner with a bullet header which beat Coyne but not the crossbar. Soon after Darren Mansaram replaced the impressive Paul Robinson, who seemed to be suffering from a clash of heads earlier which required stitches.

Mansaram got a big cheer upon his first touch and caused problems for the Chesterfield defence with his unorthodox style of play. Terry Cooke limped off with 5 minutes to go, Jonny Rowan replaced him in an unfamiliar right wing role. Nothing of note was created before the whistle to end the 90 minutes and bring on extra time.

Within 13 seconds of the start Town were 1-0 down. Davies put in a cross from the left wing which found the unmarked Mark Allott who headed low and past Coyne.

Now it was all out attack from Town but nothing was created. Chesterfield drew more or less everyone back but Town couldn't break through with most of the play spent 50-40 yards out from Muggleton's goal. With the pressure on Town reverted to panic long ball's up to Mansaram who fought well but was out muscled.

Late on Mansaram had a good chance failing to head Kabba's cross goal wards after Pouton fired wide from 30 yards and Groves had a header cleared off the line.

Overall a very disappointing evening, not just the result but the injuries to Tony Gallimore and Terry Cooke plus Steve Chettle who should have come off after taking a knock but stayed on as Town had used all 3 subs already. Pluses were the long awaited debut of Mansaram, Robinson and Kabba's link up play and Ian Ward (going forward).

Whilst Town were poor, Chesterfield were no better and had Town's midfield pushed forward more then the outcome could have been very different.

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