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Grimsby 0-1 QPR

By: Richard Lord
Date: 04/10/2003

'What comes around, goes around' maybe the phrase that will plague many Grimsby fans' minds after they suffered a last-minute 1-0 defeat to QPR this afternoon at Blundell Park.

In a complete role reversal from Tuesday night's victory in Blackpool, it was the Mariners who laid siege to the opposition's goal, only to finish up with absolutely nothing.

No changes were made to the side that started in midweek, although the most noticeable addition on the substitutes bench was midfielder Iain Anderson.

The visitors made a bright start to the game and forced several half chances before Town began to find their feet and battle resolutely throughout.

Clear-cut chances were at a premium, and it was defender Tony Crane who came closest to breaking the deadlock when his far post header was clawed out by Day in the Rangers' goal.

QPR, having only lost once all season and fresh from a comprehensive 4-0 home victory over Barnsley in midweek, began to sit back and soak up the pressure.

In fact, both teams cancelled each other out and the first half ended rather predictably at 0-0.

Grimsby began the second half in determined fashion, with a more forceful and direct approach towards the QPR goal.

Although no real chances were carved out, Boulding had two opportunities when through on goal, only for the angle to be against him and twice he dwelled, and the chance disappeared.

With Nicky Daws effective as ever, and Onoura winning more than his fair share of headers, it only appeared a matter of time before the Mariners made their mark.

The long-awaited goal should have arrived on the 75-minute mark but for the goalkeeping brilliance of Chris Day.

The former Watford shot-stopper reacted superbly to fist away a low Boulding shot on the turn, which appeared to catch the keeper flat-footed.

Anderson made his return late in the second half when he came on to replace Crowe, with Campbell switching to the right.

QPR refused to buckle under the pressure, often dragging ten men back into their own penalty area to deny the Mariners their deserved goal.

However, the winning goal came at the other end in the third and final minute of injury time, arguably achieved through Marc Bircham's clear case of cheating.

The midfielder looked to have suffered an injury, laid down as he was, off the pitch to the side of the goal.

The former Millwall man then deliberately hobbled back onto the pitch, where he proceeded to collapse and receive treatment - ultimately contributing to the three minutes of injury time.

That said, QPR were a constant threat on the break and it was substitute Eric Sabin who knocked the winner in after an initial shot had hit the post.

There was barely time left to launch the ball up front before the referee blew for full time.

It was a smash and grab victory for Rangers that helps lift them above the early season pacesetters Port Vale in the table.

It may have been another late, late goal to concede, which was unfair on Crane, and Edwards in particular, who had an impeccable game at the back.

For Grimsby it means their third home defeat of the season has come way too soon if the team have any aspirations of promotion.

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