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Grimsby 2-2 Burnley
By: Richard Lord
A fine Darren Mansaram strike three minutes from time ensured Grimsby Town's name will be in the hat for the fourth round draw alongside Burnley after the two teams drew 2-2 at Blundell Park this afternoon.
For large parts of the game it looked like the visitors would be making progress in the FA Cup until the 87th minute when the Doncaster-born striker fired in a rocket of a shot that beat keeper Marlon Beresford at his near post.
In the absence of Steve Livingstone, Mansaram was partnered up front with David Soames, who was making his first ever start for Grimsby. Tony Gallimore returned to left back and Terry Cooke was introduced on the right.
Burnley took the lead 14 minutes into the game when a superb Santos tackle fell straight into the path of Alan Moore and the former Middlesborough man drilled home through the legs of Danny Coyne.
Four minutes later and the visitors had doubled their lead. Burnley outnumbered Town down the right and the final shot from Weller was somewhat fortuitous to cross the line after taking two deflections along the way.
With the crowd on their backs the Mariners struggled to create any openings against the team that conceded six on their last visit to Cleethorpes. Soames looked lively but the ball very rarely stuck up front.
Cox, Gnohere and Branch had an easy first half in which their only job was to persistently head the ball away from danger as the Mariners played straight into their hands.
Only in first time injury time did Town start to play football. The home side tried to keep the ball along the ground although on a difficult surface but a final shot was still lacking.
Grimsby started the second half a little brighter although Burnley remained a threat on the break. The midfield began to gel but the ball wouldn't stick at feet and possession swung one way then the other.
On 55 minutes Santos left the field through injury and was replaced by Chettle at the back. Minutes later Stuart Campbell won a penalty after he was upended from behind.
Terry Cooke, keen to cement his place in the side, stepped up confidently and tucked away the spot kick in the bottom left hand corner.
From there it was game on and the Mariners really should have been level with 15 minutes to go. A Gallimore cross evaded everyone and drifted to the far side where Cooke smacked a first time volley that was parried away by Beresford.
With Groves free on the edge of the area the player/manager only succeeded in drilling his shot wide of the left post. Soon after David Soames was replaced by Chris Thompson.
Thompson's first involvement was to win a free kick just outside the area and when Burnley struggled to clear their lines, Campbell fouled the keeper and a free kick was awarded.
Town made their third and final substitution of the afternoon when they brought on Jonny Rowan in place of captain John McDermott. Three minutes from time the equaliser arrived.
Coyne's long clearance was headed up and controlled by Mansaram, who turned one way then the other before setting off on a run across the edge of the area. Looking to play it wide, the youngster cut back inside and hit a fine left foot shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
In added on time Thompson had a shot charged down and Ford made an excellent challenge at the back to prevent a winner on the day. The result will please manager Groves but it heaps more pressure on a small and tired squad.
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