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7Accrington Stanley13119

9Crawley Town13-119
12Notts County13018
21Cambridge Utd13-613
22Leyton Orient13-412

24Newport County11-67

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Grimsby 3-2 Luton

By: Richard Lord
Date: 24/02/2004

GRIMSBY made the most of their game in hand over relegation rivals by beating Luton 3-2 at Blundell Park. It pushes the Mariners six points clear of the bottom four, and move up to 18th in the second division.

The game was won deep into injury time when Simon Ford rose to glance home Darren Barnard's free kick, when it looked as though Phil Jevons was favourite to strike the dead ball for a possible hat-trick.

Stacy Coldicott started the game in midfield with no sign of Des Hamilton in the squad of 16. Craig Armstrong started in defence with Ford playing at right back.

Isaiah Rankin was partnered with Darren Mansaram, with Phil Jevons, David Soames and Lee Thorpe all sat on the bench alongside Wes Parker and Greg Young.

Luton will argue that they should have had the game wrapped up in the first half. Howard opened the scoring after 19 minutes when Town's defence was embarrassingly exposed.

Iain Anderson had to be brought off due to an injury, which paved the way for Phil Jevons, who assumed the left midfield slot in a straight swap.

A mix-up between Armstrong and Daws set Luton away down the right and Davison was forced into making a great save from close range. The visitors had numerous corners but couldn't add to their one goal lead.

The second half was a different story. Jevons, the only Town player who appeared to have retained his confidence during Town's barren spell, cracked home a great goal to bring the scores level.

Rankin was giving the Luton defence problems and threatened to break away on two occasions, only to be foiled by the impressive Chris Coyne.

But his tenacity and endeavour was finally rewarded when he won a debateable penalty. Phil Jevons confidently struck the ball home to put Town in the lead for the first time in the match.

Luton made a double substitution with ten minutes left and it had an immediate impact on the game. Howard equalised when he turned past Armstrong and shot low past the struggling Davison.

Lee Thorpe and David Soames had entered the game in place of Mansaram and Coldicott respectively, and Thorpe's good work in the air kept the ball up towards the Luton goal.

Barnard floated in a delightful free kick that Ford nodded home to put the Mariners 3-2 up with no time left for Luton to respond.

Although Rodger will be pleased with his team's efforts, he will be troubled by more injury worries. The keeper situation will be near the top of his priorities, but Davison had to play the second half with an injury anyway.

It's not clear as to the extent of Anderson's injury, but it could promote Jevons back to the starting line-up for the weekend game against Barnsley, which will see the return of Gallimore, Handyside and Boulding.

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