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Grimsby 1-2 Port Vale

By: Richard Lord
Date: 17/08/2003

For the second game running it was the referee who took centre stage as the Mariners went down to a 2-1 defeat against Port Vale at Blundell Park this afternoon.

What started out as a physical but fair game, turned into an ugly one as Mr Prosser lost complete control of the match.

It was the sending off of Iain Anderson on the stroke of half time that turned the game, six minutes after Michael Boulding had given the home side the lead.

Paul Groves chose to stick with the same side that started the games at Plymouth and Doncaster, with Stuart Campbell announced as the captain in the absence of John McDermott.

Port Vale made most of the running in the opening 15 minutes, twice testing Aidan Davison with dipping volleys but the 35-year old responded by twice flicking the ball over for corners.

Grimsby continued to gain momentum, with Hamilton and Campbell efforts forcing Vale's keeper Delaney into action.

The Mariners deservedly took the lead on 39 minutes when Marcel Cas crossed deep to the far post where Boulding rose to head past Delaney.

Two minutes later and Campbell was victim to an over-zealous challenge from behind, with the referee choosing to show a yellow card when a red could have easily been possible.

Just a minute later and Town could have had a penalty. Boulding, who was to quick for himself, attempted to get back up but was continually pinned down in the Vale area but Mr Prosser turned the claims down.

Then, in first half injury time, came the pivotal moment. A long clearance by Barnard found Anderson one-on-one and with the ball in the air he went up to challenge.

The defender got there seconds before Anderson, and, unable to pull out of the 50/50 challenge, the two players collided.

The referee deemed Anderson to have led with his arm and immediately showed the Scotsman the first red card of his career, with Groves believing it was just a 'genuine challenge' for the ball.

Groves made a change at half time, bringing himself on for Ten Heuvel, leaving Boulding up front on his own.

Initially Grimsby began the second half well, and were unlucky not to double their lead when a rasping 25-yard effort from Campbell struck the face of the bar.

After 64 minutes the visitors equalised following a poor header by Barnard. McPhee raced onto the ball and rounded Davison to make it 1-1.

Three minutes later and Town were behind. Crane was guilty of an unnecessary push wide on the right, and the set-piece free kick brought about the winner from the head of Paynter.

From then on Town were struggling. Boulding was sacrificed for Mansaram but the change failed to bring about an equaliser.

In the last few minutes Cas looked to have made it 2-2 but for some great defending by Vale. Mansaram found room in the box and his deflected shot looped up and fell to Cas - who only had to covert from four yards - but an outstretched leg prevented the goal.

There were a couple of half-shouts for penalties, but it would have been remarkable if the referee had given any.

Groves had a header blocked by a defender's arm at the far post, but that was a case of ball to arm, and Crane was sandwiched in the area but the referee was unimpressed.

Rowan made a substitute appearance for Crowe late on but it had little impact.

This was yet another example of a referee losing control of a match with Grimsby involved. Hamilton, Cas and Anderson will all face suspensions for doing wrong - but will referees ever face suspensions for doing wrong?

However, it does not hide the fact that Town have one point from two games, and have shipped seven goals in three. A good result down at Luton is much needed.

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