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Shrewsbury 0 Grimsby 0
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY recorded their ninth consecutive away match without defeat, beating the record of eight games which has stood since the 1950's. They did so the hard way, however, thanks to Steve Mildenhall's brilliant first half penalty save at Gay Meadow.
The away fans were separated into two groups. The majority chose to stand behind the goal in the open terracing, with the older and wiser supporters generally opting for the seats in the adjoining stand. In total there were probably around 500 away fans.
Town were forced into three chances by injury and illness: Croft was replaced at left back by Newey, Cohen came in for Parkinson in midfield, and Kalala's illness meant a first start of the season for Toner in the centre of the park.
Town created the first serious chance of the game when a Rob Jones header from a corner was cleared off the line.
The game's major talking point came after 16 minutes when the referee awarded a mysterious penalty out of the blue against Grimsby, despite the absence of an appeal even from the crowd. Justice was done, however, when Mildenhall dived low to his right to save it.
In the remainder of the first half Shrewsbury had most of the play, but were restricted mainly to long range shots. Town looked at their most dangerous all game from set pieces, particularly as Gritton was so withdrawn that Reddy was practically on his own up front most of the time.
Reddy almost put Town in front just before the half time interval. The Irishman was put through by Gritton, but didn't quite connect with his shot. It took a slight deflection, however, which wrong-footed Shrews' 'keeper Joe Hart, but he managed to recover in time to get a hand to it.
There were two minutes of injury time, which were cheekily sponsored by the West Bromwich Building Society!
There were few goal-mouth incidents in the second half. Town once again largely contained the young Shrewsbury side, who have been strong at home all season, and you could see why.
Despite that, Grimsby had the best chance of the half after 55 minutes. The ball was played up to Reddy on the half way line, who looked in a hopeless position with no Town player near him and three defenders to beat. Despite that, Town's No. 9 managed to get past them all and found himself with just Joe Hart to beat. The impressive 'keeper though managed to get a hand to Reddy's shot to deny what would have been a wonderful goal.
Shrewsbury failed to create a single shot on target during the whole of the second half. On the rare occasions they did get a site of Mildenhall's goal their shots sailed over the crossbar or wide of the post.
At the other end Rob Jones was always dangerous from corners, and two second half Jones headers went not far over the cross bar.
All Town's defence played well once again, although the game itself was fairly dull. Rob Jones was once again influential at both ends of the pitch, but I'll go for Justin Whittle for Man of the Match.
Town will be pleased with another clean sheet and a point against the in-form Shrews, especially with three key players missing. The penalty notwithstanding, Grimsby also came closest to scoring but a draw was probably a fair result.
Town stay top of the league, still a point clear of their nearest rivals. Friday sees the Mariners take on third place Wycombe Wanderers, who have still to lose a league game this season and are the bookies' favourite to win League two.
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