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Colchester 2 Town 0

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 21/02/2004

GRAHAM Rodger's third game in charge of the Mariners resulted in another defeat for Grimsby in front of just 2,900 spectators at Colchester's Layer Road. Colchester, who dominated most of the match, went ahead early in the second half, and sealed their victory with an injury time winner.

Graham Rodger was forced into making several chances through injuries from the side which lost to Bristol City in midweek. Simon Ford switched to right back in place of Jason Crowe, Stacy Coldicott was replaced by Des Hamilton in the centre of midfield, and Lee Thorpe returned after an injury to partner fellow loanee Isaiah Rankin up front for the first time.

In a dire first half Colchester had nearly all of the possession, but Town's defence restricted United to very few good chances, the best of which was a low shot by Colchester's Jamie Cade, which Aidan Davison did well to turn round the post. Town produced no chances of note in the first period, being content to hoofing long balls up to their front two, which rarely looked like troubling the U's defence.

Town appeared to have taken the lead when a quickly taken Darren Barnard free kick found the back of the net, but the referee had not been ready for the set piece to be taken. The Wales full back was subsequently booked for dissent, but the re-taken kick came to nothing.

Colchester finally broke the deadlock when the ball was crossed to an unmarked Vine, whose header gave Davison no chance.

Town responded to the one goal deficit by bringing on Phil Jevons and Darren Mansaram, and they went close to equalising on a couple of occasions. A long range shot from Darren Barnard was superbly tipped onto the woodwork by Simon Brown, and Jevons blasted over the bar from Town's best move of the game, which the former Evertonian himself had started in midfield.

Colchester scored their winning goal in the final minute of injury time when an unmarked Ken Izzet nodded in a near identical goal to United's first.

Although Town had a chance of taking something from the game until the final minute, and thereby it was an improvement of sorts on recent away drubbings, the number of chances they created in the game, and the amount of possession afforded to the home side meant it was always likely Grimsby would go a goal down and end up chasing the game.

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