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Fri 31/03
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Grimsby 0-0 Plymouth

By: Richard Lord
Date: 10/01/2004

GRIMSBY Town responded in exactly the right manner from last week's disappointing defeat at bottom club Wycombe with an excellent show against table-toppers Plymouth that ended 0-0.

Paul Groves, this week feeling the pressure, named himself in the starting line-up for the first time since the Hartlepool debacle. The manager replaced Des Hamilton in midfield, who dropped to the bench.

Darren Barnard returned at left back and Simon Ford replaced the suspended Tony Crane in the centre of defence. Iain Anderson started the game on the right of midfield in place of Stuart Campbell, who was suffering from the flu.

Phil Jevons continued on the left because Mick Boulding had shook off a knee injury to play up front. He was partnered with Darren Mansaram, preferred ahead of last week's scorer Iffy Onuora.

The radically changed Mariners side started the game well, with Mansaram particularly sharp in attack.

Boulding tried to shrug off two players as he burst through on goal, but he tumbled under a challenge at the last minute with the referee waving play-on.

Plymouth saw a glancing header scrape past Davison's far post as they looked to assert themselves on the game.

Great trickery from Mansaram on the right set up a Groves' header in the middle, which flashed just wide of the post.

The best chance of the half fell to Boulding, who shot into the ground and the ball bounced agonisingly wide after taking a deflection that left the keeper stranded.

In the second half the Mariners attacked the away end, but it was the discipline of the visitors that provided the main talking point as they had three players booked inside the opening ten minutes.

Jevons headed on Barnard's free kick from the left, and the ball ricocheted off the far post after it had beaten the keeper.

Plymouth looked dangerous on the break but Davison was never tested.

Greg Young replaced Barnard in a straight swap 20 minutes from the end, and the former Sheffield Wednesday youth player impressed in his short time on the pitch.

Marcel Cas was then brought on for Anderson in another straight swap, before Onuora replaced the fading Mansaram up front.

The game rather predictably petered out into a 0-0 draw, but it brings to an end Plymouth's run of seven consecutive victories.

The result against the Pilgrims should not be under-estimated, as they have only lost three league games this season.

They are also the league's top scorers with 59, and had scored 14 goals in four games coming into this match.

Today Town proved that they are a worryingly inconsistent side - whereby they can lose quite heavily at Wycombe, but keep a clean sheet against the division's best side.

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