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Rotherham 0 Grimsby 1

By: Paul Holmes
Date: 19/03/2003

JOHN Oster's injury time winner against Rotherham lifted the Mariners out of the bottom three and made it three games unbeaten for Paul Groves' men.

As promised, Groves continued with the 4-5-1 formation that brought the 2-2 draw against Nottm. Forest and the single goal victory over Watford. The player-boss has no qualms about playing the spoiling tactic, as long as it produces results.

The absence of the suspended Alan Pouton, who was injured as well, meant that Stuart Campbell was given the role of supporting lone striker Darren Mansaram up front. Darren Barnard took Campbell's place on the left wing.

Town started the far brighter with neat, precision passing that Rotherham's midfield could not handle. Mansaram's pace and constant running was causing problems for McIntosh and Branston in the Millers defence.

Despite the better of the play Town could not capitalise. Santos, Mansaram and Hughes all dragged shots wide having found themselves in good positions.

As the half wore on Town's passing game was replaced by long, mainly hopeful, balls up to Mansaram. Many of which landed smack on the head of either Branston or McIntosh. In fact the tactics encouraged Rotherham to get more into the game, and that they did.

Loanee Gareth Farrelly skipped past his marker before floating in a cross which Danny Coyne missed, luckily Alan Lee's header lacked conviction and John McDermott cleared with relative ease.

With around 10 minutes to go the Millers went inches from taking the lead. John Mullin skipped past his somewhat statuesque counterparts before firing a whisping effort which grazed the top of the crossbar.

After a promising start Town were slightly fortunate to go in level at half-time.

Town emerged for the second half with no team changes and started with no tactical changes. The long hopeful punts were having a tiring effect on Mansaram who at 18 has played the last three games as a loan striker. As 'Flash' faded so did Town's attack. That said Oster did threaten to take the game by the scruff of the neck, as he had done at times in the first half. Back was the burst of speed and almost arrogant swagger in his play as Rotherham defenders fell to his swaying hips and dropped shoulders.

Sadly the Skeggy One could not beat a whole team all on his own and was crying out for support. The decision to replace Darren Barnard with Stacy Coldicott was a bemusing one with the only feasible conclusion that the Welsh international was injured. Campbell switched over to the left and Coldicott went into the middle to partner Hughes and Groves in a very defensive trio.

Rotherham continued to pump high balls into the Town half. With Santos at the helm Town looked comfortable, without him - very dodgy. It was when Santos was out of position that Rotherham came so close to taking the lead. After a defensive mix-up, Alan Lee was granted an open goal but amazingly Tony Gallimore blocked his header with a combination of thigh and stomach, the ball rebounded to Richie Barker. Again Gallimore came to the rescue with another unorthodox block on the line.

Town had their chances too though, Mike Pollitt made an almighty cock-up of his clearance only for the ball to fall straight to Stacy Coldicott who fired woefully wide. Moments later Coldicott got another chance when a series of neat passes found him in limited space. But his left-footed effort trickled towards Pollitt's feet.

With three minutes to go Mansaram was replaced by Steve Livingstone in what, at the time, seemed 20 minutes to late. How wrong can you be?

Coldicott's forward (yes, forward) ball found Livvo out on the right wing with time to put in a decent cross. Decent it was indeed. The cross was inch-perfect for the onrushing John Oster who glided in and fired into the roof of the net to send the travelling Mariners delirious, ecstatic, rapturous, you get the idea.

The win and other results meant that Town move out of the bottom three.

Rotherham: Pollitt, Shaun Barker, McIntosh, Branston, Hurst, Warne (Sedgwick 63), Mullin, Woodhouse, Farrelly, Lee (Byfield 79), Richard Barker.
Subs (Not Used): Gray, Swailes, Daws.

Grimsby: Coyne, McDermott, Ford, Santos, Gallimore, Oster, Groves, Richard Hughes, Campbell, Barnard (Coldicott 60), Mansaram (Livingstone 87).
Subs (Not Used): Allaway, Chettle, Soames.

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