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Darlington 1 Grimsby 0
By: Rob Sedgwick
A late goal by Ian Clark condemned the Mariners to a 1-0 defeat at Darlington, in a match they were unfortunate to lose. A combination of Town squandering their chances and some superb saves by Darlo's Sam Russell meant the Mariners went home empty handed.
Town had nine players making their debuts, which must surely be the highest number since the post-war years, and lined up in their new style 3-4-3 formation, with Sestanovich, Mansaram and Parkinson forming a three-pronged strike force. The defensive trio of Whittle, Jones and Ramsden all made their debuts, in front of another debutante, goalkeeper Anthony Williams.
Both sides missed easy chances midway through the first half. The first fell to Darlingon's Mark Convery who managed to balloon a simple tap-in over the bar from just a few feet out. Shortly afterwards a superb run from Town's man of the match Sestanovich, saw him cross the ball to Mansaram, who looked certain to score. But the Town striker somehow managed to completely fluff the chance, and hit an insipid shot straight at the 'keeper.
Town continued to have the better of the chances in the second half with Russell making good saves from Pinault and Reddy (who came on for the last half hour) shots in particular. With just eight minutes to go Town took off Sestanovich for Clint Marcelle, and Darlington immediately scored.
In the closing stages of the game Grimsby piled on the pressure, and Marcelle should have scored with virtually his first touch, but hit the ball just over the bar.
Town have two consecutive home games in the next week against Boston and Bury to get off the mark for the new season.
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