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Grimsby 1-0 Rushden & Diamonds
By: Richard Lord
PHIL Jevons' coolly taken spot kick ten minutes from time handed Grimsby Town a crucial three points against relegation rivals Rushden and Diamonds this afternoon at Blundell Park.
Rushden, who entered the game on the back of a solid 0-0 draw at high-flying Brighton, were proving tough to break down, despite much pressure from the Mariners.
Nicky Law was able to field a much stronger side from the one that started against Blackpool on Monday. Stuart Campbell, Darren Barnard, Isaiah Rankin and Darren Mansaram were all called back into the starting eleven.
The Mariners were quicker out of the starting blocks, and they should have been 1-0 up within the first two minutes. Rankin and Mansaram were proving to be a tricky strike partnership as they twisted and turned their way into the box.
Both players had chances to tuck the ball away in a goalmouth scramble but the ball was cleared for a corner. When Barnard delivered, Mansaram was inches away from heading past the keeper.
It was a bright start for the home side, but to their credit, Rushden defended well and scrapped for everything. After holding their own for the first 20 minutes, the visitors gradually worked their way back into the game.
But as half time approached, Town upped the tempo and were unlucky not to be leading 1-0 at half time when Tony Crane saw his firm header smack against the crossbar.
At half time, the 0-0 scoreline didn't reflect the dominance of Town, and it was clear that Rushden's tactic was to get men behind the ball and defend for a point.
The second half was frustrating for the supporters, as the Mariners appeared to run out of ideas. Town should have been awarded a penalty but the referee waved away the handball claims.
Rushden looked as though they could cause problems on the break, but the game was being run by Grimsby, with Coldicott and Campbell the driving force in midfield.
In fact, it was Campbell's strong run through to the Rushden area that brought about the penalty. As he took the ball into the box, Rodney Jack clumsily crashed into the midfielder and the referee was quick to point to the spot.
Phil Jevons had to wait a long time before he could take the spot kick, but when he did, he made no mistake as he rolled it in for a 1-0 lead.
Even though it was just the one goal lead, Rushden had offered very little all game and there was a strong belief that Jevons' strike would be enough for the victory.
Rushden's chances of salvaging something from the game were hit when Duffy was shown a straight red card after a clash with Tony Crane.
However, there was a little bit of doubt when the visitors were handed a free kick on the edge of the area. The ball was blasted into the wall, and substitute David Soames raced the length of the pitch only to see his shot well saved by Turley.
Town comfortably held out for a vital win that sees them climb a place in the table, but they remain in the relegation zone.
Brentford and Oldham both enjoyed impressive victories, while Chesterfield and Stockport both grabbed good draws at Port Vale and QPR respectively.
Wycombe are already relegated, and after a 4-0 defeat at Hartlepool, Notts County are as good as down. Just as they had been pulling away from trouble, Peterborough lost at Brighton so they are still involved.
One more win might be enough for Town to stay up, but both Stockport and Brentford are enjoying some good form - especially Stockport, who the Mariners play next week in a crucial six-pointer.
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