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12Cambridge Utd38654
15Accrington Stanley38-149
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20Notts County39-2246

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24Leyton Orient39-2932

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Grimsby 3-3 Oldham

By: Richard Lord
Date: 27/12/2003

GRIMSBY Town's highest attendance of the season so far was treated to a Boxing Day clash with more entertainment than you would expect in a whole month as they somehow drew 3-3 against Oldham at Blundell Park.

The visitors came into the game off the back of an impressive 2-1 home victory over table-toppers QPR. The Mariners hadn't won at home since the middle of October in a 2-0 win over troubled Notts County.

Oldham belied their lowly position in the table, producing a quick start that caught the Mariners defence off guard. After three minutes the Latics had a goal disallowed following a marginal offside decision by the linesman.

However, five minutes later and Town were in front with one of the goals of the season by Phil Jevons. Alan Pouton's shot was charged down and Jevons' side-foot volley beat Pogliacomi in the Oldham goal.

The former Everton striker couldn't have found the top corner more precisely.

But despite going a goal down, Oldham continued to play good football and soon after the advantage swung their way when Jermaine Johnson burst past Crane before falling over under the defender's challenge.

The referee produced a red card and Crane headed for an early bath. Although contact was minimal, Crane was the last man and he became the fifth Town player to be sent off this season.

Groves made an immediate decision to sit back on what his side had already got, and replaced Onuora with Ford.

Oldham hit the bar from a free kick and also saw a header rebound off the post before they deservedly equalised. Griffin's cross was guided under the legs of Davison from Johnson's head and suddenly the Mariners' lead had evaporated.

Not only that, but the visitors dominated proceedings thereafter, and took the lead with a superb flowing move that eventually saw Ernie Cooksey rifle a left foot shot past Davison into the far corner.

Town were in disarray and were desperately seeking half time, which gave them chance to regroup.

Stuart Campbell had a half chance early in the second half but couldn't quite get his shot away. Oldham were breaking at pace and Calvin Zola, on loan from Newcastle, could have added a third but for some good defending from Edwards.

But somehow Grimsby managed to draw level. Alan Pouton picked the ball up 35 yards out and toe-poked a great ball through to Boulding, who turned his marker and rifled in his 13th goal of the season into the far corner.

The goal was reminiscent of the strike against QPR in the FA Cup first round that won the tie.

Oldham were now pressing, and Johnson broke away to round Davison before Ford intervened on the line to clear for a corner.

The visitors were creating chance after chance, and the introduction of Scott Vernon paid off when he put the Latics back in front with a superb curling shot from the edge of the area that Davison appeared to have covered.

Amazingly, Town soon equalised when Campbell rounded the keeper but couldn't quite force the ball home. McDermott chipped the ball back in and Jevons, surrounded by two defenders and the keeper, brought the ball down and slid it home to make it 3-3.

It was another fabulous goal by Jevons, who was obviously revelling in his recall to the first team, despite playing most of the game on the left of midfield.

Davison then had to save at his near post, and then stretch to palm another shot wide of the opposite post as Oldham laid siege to the Mariners' goal, winning a succession of corners.

Substitute Marcel Cas, on for Des Hamilton, barged his way past two players but his cutback went agonisingly into space.

Johnson then picked the ball up deep into midfield and blasted in a shot that rattled the crossbar. Davison somehow managed to get a hand to it, and from the resulting corner, the same player hit the near post.

After three minutes of injury time, Oldham will be wondering how, after scoring three goals, having two disallowed and hitting the woodwork four times, they didn't manage to win the game.

Town were run ragged in the first half as Oldham made the most of the one-man advantage. However, sheer grit and determination drew Grimsby level.

There were chances galore for the Lattics, but at the other end, for once, Town took the chances that came their way and they ended up gaining a draw, that at half time, wasn't there for the taking.

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