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Grimsby 1-1 Gillingham
By: Richard Lord
AN 89th minute equaliser from the head of Wes Saunders denied Grimsby Town all three points this afternoon at Blundell Park, after Oster had initially given Town the lead.
John Oster put the Mariners ahead with 15 minutes of the game left, only for it to be cancelled out at the death.
Loan players Jason Gavin and John Oster both went straight into the starting eleven. Skipper John McDermott also made a welcome return after a month out injured.
Steve Kabba and Steve Livingstone continued their partnership up front. Campbell moved to the left wing and Oster started on the right, with Coldicott and Pouton in the centre.
The first half largely belonged to the Mariners. Kabba and Livingstone combined well to create several chances, and Oster settled quickly on the right.
Kabba was denied with a point-blank range from Gills keeper Brown when a goal looked certain. Livingstone also blasted over the bar when well placed.
Coyne had to make a couple of routine saves but remained untroubled for much of the half.
Kabba again caused problems in the Gills back line when he attempted to go round Brown but the young shot-stopper showed great composure to save at feet.
Coldicott almost scored from a rasping 25-yard drive but it just went the wrong side of the post.
A blank scoreline at half time wasn't perhaps what the home side's effort warranted and their second half performance was much in the same vein.
McDermott, Oster and Kabba all had good chances to break the deadlock, with the latter shooting well over after Brown was caught stranded on the edge of his area.
Oster shot tamely at the keeper when well placed and Coldicott was just denied by two last-ditch tackles from a desperate Gillingham defence.
The visitors remained a threat on the break, and they made a double substitution just after Mansaram had been introduced in place of Livingstone.
Finally the breakthrough arrived on 75 minutes when a headed clearance from Coldicott found Kabba on the left.
He turned and raced down the centre of the pitch, before holing the ball up and playing a cute ball through to Oster who had joined the breakaway attack.
He dummied twice before shooting left-footed into the roof of the net to set the crowd alight.
Inevitably the Mariners began to sit deeper and were nearly caught out when Coyne had to react quickly from a low strike near the edge of the penalty area.
But the equaliser arrived a minute from time when a cross was met by Saunders to steal two points from Grimsby.
There was a frantic end to the game when a free kick was awarded on the edge of the area. Oster's delivery failed to find a Town body and Gillingham cleared.
The final whistle came too soon for the Mariners after they looked like the likely winners.
However, Gillingham battled away and ground out what Hessenthaler will regard as a result.
It's now four games without defeat at Blundell Park for Grimsby, but their away form needs to improve, and they have a chance to do so at Stoke City next week.
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