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Wycombe 2 Grimsby 0
By: Rob Sedgwick
TOWN's Away Jinx once again afflicted the Mariners, when they lost 2-0 at Wycombe despite dominating the first half with some excellent football. Already this season Town have been unfortunate to lose at Darlington and Rushden. The name Wycombe can now be added to the litany of bad luck stories.
Town departed from their customary 3-4-3 formation, probably in a tactical switch to contain Wycombe, rather than because of injuries, and changed to a 4-5-1 line-up. Ashley Sestanovich played on the left wing, with just Parkinson remaining of the front trio; Stacy Coldicott was promoted from the bench into an extra man in midfield; whilst Michael Reddy was restored to a substitute role after starting the last three games.
Town, as ever, started brightly and almost went ahead in the fifth minute. The ball fell to Terry Fleming in the Wycombe box, but with more time available to him than he realised, the big defender scuffed his shot. It still managed to beat the 'keeper, but bounced agonisingly off the post. It was to prove the first harbinger of a frustrating afternoon.
Almost all of the rest of the first half was an exhibition of attacking football from Grimsby, with Pinault rampant in midfield, and Sestanovich and Parkinson terrorising the Wycombe defence. The one missing ingredient was a goal to show for Town's dominance, but that only seemed to be a matter of time coming.
Despite all Town's possession they didn't have that many attempts on goal to show for it. A Dean Gordon free kick was saved by the Wycombe 'keeper, and a Jason Crowe attempted lob went just over the crossbar. Generally each Town attack broke down with either the lack of a telling final ball, or a last ditch tackle by Wycombe. Town's general play was reminiscent of the Buckley era, with a seeming desire to walk the ball into the net to crown a perfect attacking piece of play.
Wycombe went 1-0 up just before half time when Town were down to 10-men after Sestanovich had gone off the pitch for treatment. The goal came from a cross to the far post, which Adam Birchall headed home in virtually the Chairboy's first attempt on goal.
Sestanovich was replaced at half time by Reddy, the first of Town's better players to be taken off.
After the break the game was shortly put out of Town's reach. The ball was crossed into the Town box, which Williams failed to collect, and Dean Gordon failed to clear. It eventually fell once again to Birchall, who headed his second goal of the game. Two bread and butter goals once again exposing Town's Achilles Heel of crosses, but also showing Grimsby how to do what they've been trying for over 4 hours now.
The second goal knocked the stuffing out of Town, and they were a shambles for much of the second half, with Wycombe content to play out time and hit Grimsby mainly on the break. Town's best player, Thomas Pinault, was taken off after 62 minutes, for Clint Marcelle, to the consternation of some supporters.
With 10 minutes to go, though, Town appeared to be given a lifeline. Stacy Coldicott was fouled in the box, and the referee awarded a penalty, Up stepped Michael Reddy and, as in the home game against Bury, hit a low weak shot at a perfect height for the 'keeper to save, which he did. So three penalties this season, and three misses.
The game drifted to its inevitable conclusion without any further incidents.
From their three away games so far, Town have deserved at least five points. Instead they have none, and are yet to score away from Blundell Park. Ultimately Grimsby have been let down by their inability to score when they have dominant spells.
Whether the new striker Russell Slade is hoping to get is the answer, or some other change of personnel or formation away from home, Town somehow need to pick up more points away from Blundell Park if they are to be involved in the promotion picture.
Wycombe: Talia, Uhlenbeek, Silk, Nethercott, Williamson, Easton, Ryan, Birchall, Senda, Tyson (Ahmed, 88), Stonebridge
Subs: (not used): Williams,Johnson,Martin,Dixon
Grimsby: Williams, Whittle, Ramsden, Gordon, McDermott (Bull, 71), Crowe, Coldicott, Fleming, Pinault (Marcelle, 62), Parkinson, Sestanovich (Reddy, 45)
Subs: (not used): Mansaram,Young,
Bookings: Tyson (Wycombe) Coldicott, Ramsden (Grimsby)
Referee: Clive Penton (Woodindean)
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