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Is the squad strong enough to challenge for promotion?

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Grimsby 1 Wigan 0

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 24/08/2004

TOWN won their first Carling Cup tie since the 2-1 win at Anfield in 2001 with a well-deserved victory over Championship leaders Wigan Athletic. A goal scored by Andy Parkinson early in the first half proved enough to bring the Mariners a rare cup win.

Simon Ramsden passed a late fitness test on his neck and started the game, although fellow centre back Greg Young had to withdraw from the squad with a late injury, and did not make the bench. Otherwise the Mariners were unchanged from the side which lost 1-0 at Rushden at the weekend.

Wigan rested seven players from their starting line-up for the cup tie, but their starting XI nonetheless cost a seven figure sum to assemble - whereas not a single Grimsby player required a transfer fee.

Town started brightly, and almost went ahead as early as the third minute when a deflected Michael Reddy shot was well saved by Gary Walsh.

The Mariners took a deserved lead when Andy Parkinson was put through by a superbly weighted Sestanovich pass, and whipped in a shot on 17 minutes. The industrious Parkinson almost added a second within three minutes, but his shot went just over.

Wigan's best chance of the first half was a David Graham shot which was well saved by Williams.

Shortly before the break Justin Whittle went off for treatment on what appeared to be a back injury. With no central defender of the bench, Russell Slade decided to keep the former Hull captain on the pitch.

Wigan had more of the play in the second half, and had several chances to equalise. Roberts shot wide, and Mahon shot over in early chances for the Latics.

Town almost went 2-0 up, though, when a fantastic 35-yard effort from Dean Gordon, heading for the top corner, was tipped away by Gary Walsh.

Wigan's best chance of the match, however, fell to David Graham with about 5 minutes left. A cross by Nicky Eaden fell to the Wigan striker about 6 yards out, but he managed to slice the ball wide.

Clint Marcelle came on in the dying seconds, and good play from the Trinidadian almost led to a second Parkinson goal at the end.

Justin Whittle completed the game, despite playing for the whole of the second half with an injury. Whether he will be fit for the two weekend games is another matter.

Town hung on for a well deserved win and go into the hat in for tomorrow's Round 2 draw, along with almost all of the top clubs. Three points against Rushden on Saturday may have been preferable to a win tonight, but a lucrative cup run will be useful to the club - even if it will test Russell Slade's small squad and the few remaining fit centre backs!

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