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Stoke 1 Grimsby 2
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY survived a second half onslaught this afternoon at Stoke City, after a solid first half performance had seen them take a comfortable 2-0 lead into the break. But the Mariners bravely hung on in the second half after an early penalty by the Potters began a frantic Stoke comeback.
Steve Livingstone had given Grimsby the perfect start with a well taken goal on 14 minutes after a cross from John Oster, and Stuart Campbell put the Mariners 2-0 up just eight minutes later from a free kick. Campbell had earlier spurned a good opportunity to give Grimsby an early lead, and Town appeared to be coasting midway through the first 45 minutes.
Early in the second half a needless handball by Jason Gavin left the referee with no choice but to award a penalty and show the on-loan Middlesborough defender the yellow card. Tommy Moody dispatched the spot kick just under Coyne's diving body, who went the right way, and for much of the game thereafter it appeared only a matter of time before Stoke pulled another goal back.
Grimsby only had one goal attempt of note in the second half, when John Oster found himself with only the keeper to beat, but Cutler stood up well before saving from the Sunderland winger, on a month's loan at Blundell Park.
Peter Hoekstra led the City second half onslaught, giving young Iain Ward a torrid time at right back, and Town's game plan rapidly became a matter of surviving, with any attacking considerations purely secondary. Stoke were awarded 15 corners to Grimsby's 1, with the bulk of them occurring during the second half.
The win sees Grimsby move above City out of the bottom three and is a massive boost to the Mariners after a difficult week in which Steve Kabba's departure from Blundell Park was both a psychological and logistical blow to everyone connected with the club.
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