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Sheff Wed 0-0 Grimsby
By: Richard Lord
IT was a tale of two sorry teams this afternoon at Hillsborough. Sheffield Wednesday looked nothing like a team that managed a victory at Portsmouth last week while Grimsby's tentative formation was never going to yield many goals.
The Mariners did come close midway through the first half when a Gallimore free kick drifted through a crowded box and clipped the post with Michael Boulding unable to anticipate the ricochet.
Chris Bolder tried his luck from 25 yards with a rasping left-footed volley that was brilliantly saved by Pressman. Shefki Kuqi threatened briefly but Coyne comfortably saved his angled shot.
Santos and Chettle repelled everything that Wednesday through at them with captain McDermott leading the way with a solid defensive showing. Keane and Hughes were looking good in the centre but it was the offensive display that ultimately let Grimsby down.
Boulding as the lone striker was a gamble that never paid dividends. Campbell linked up well with the pace-man at times but there was no other support.
The game was free flowing and end-to-end but it showed why these two teams were at the bottom of the First Division.
Grimsby's display epitomised their general season performance: energetic and quick to close down the midfield but never put the opposing defenders under too much pressure.
There were odd glimpses of half chances and a possible sending off offence but the match had 0-0 written all over it.
Wednesday's ploy was simple. Kuqi and Owusu were the big front men and their midfield were generally cut out of the game. When they did have possession Hughes, Bolder and Groves were in close contention.
The Mariners tried to play football but once Mansaram appeared off the bench to replace Bolder it became route one. The football went out of the window and both teams just lumped high hopeful balls forward.
A draw did no team any favours. Despite Wednesday's recent good form they didn't have the quality on show to suggest that they will escape the drop into the Second Division.
The Mariners have been hit hard with injuries and suspensions, and although they cannot field million pound players like their opponents today, they really should have been capable of doing a job today.
Stoke's win against Wimbledon looks to be the penultimate nail in Town's coffin. Failure to gain three points at home to Walsall on Easter Monday will signal an imminent return to Division Two.
The maximum points total available for the Mariners to achieve is 47 and if Stoke win one of their three remaining games then they have achieved that total - and with a better goal difference, it would send Town down.
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