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Futch: Late Goal
Futch: Late Goal

Torquay 2 Grimsby 2

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 21/01/2006

GRIMSBY conceded a sickening 89th minute equaliser at struggling Torquay, although in truth they were fortunate to salvage a draw in a game which they could easily have lost.

Russell Slade made just one change to his starting line-up bringing in new loan signing Junior Mendes on the wing in place of Gary Cohen for what turned out to be a warm sunny day by the sea.

It all started so promisingly as for the first six minutes Town were magnificent! Michael Reddy beat the offside trap in the first minute, but Gary Jones could only direct a tame header straight at the 'keeper from Reddy's cross.

Ben Futcher then executed a perfect volley from a Rob Jones flick-on at a set piece, but unfortunately it went straight to Marriott in Torquay's goal.

Finally Andy Parkinson put Town deservedly 1-0 up with six minutes gone. A superb Mendes pass set the former Tranmere winger through on goal, and Parky slotted the ball cooly past the 'keeper in front of the 250 travelling fans, who immediately launched into a chorus of "Easy, easy...". How wrong we were!

Town were never able to recapture their scintillating early form, instead looking content to defend their increasingly slender lead. The Mariners defended too deeply, with neither full back or the midfield getting involved beyond the most basic defensive duties. Town frequently resorted to long aimless balls in the general direction of Reddy to try and relieve the constant pressure.

Torquay, in contrast, put together some good moves throughout the game and several of their players showed some good touches, belying their lowly league position.

After several close calls the inevitable Torquay equaliser came a few minutes before half time. Torquay's most dangerous player Bedeau, who missed a hatful of chances on the day, blasted the ball home from close range.

The Gulls went on to dominate the game and looked very likely to grab a winner. Frustratingly on the rare occasions when Town did get the ball out of their half and string a few passes together they did look threatening and one wonders what would have happened had they been more ambitious after taking the lead.

Despite's Torquay's superior football and better chances created it was Town who looked to have nicked an unlikely three points when a Tom Newey free kick was launched into the box from deep in Town's half. The ball looped over the Torquay defence and was bundled in by the last man, the unmarked Ben Futcher - his first goal for the club.

Mendes should have added an outrageous third, but chose to shoot from a narrow angle when he had unmarked teammates screaming for the ball in the box.

But with the home fans beginning to drift out of Plainmoor it was Town's turn to receive a body blow, with Bedeau again finishing off a Torquay move from close range.

Only a last gasp clearance by Rob Jones stopped Torquay scoring a winner after the officials, who made some bizarre decisions all afternoon, failed to pull up an obvious looking offside towards the end of the four minutes of added time.

Today's result was definitely one point gained not two dropped, despite the late goal and the position of the two teams in the table. Once again Grimsby did not play well but managed to get something out of the match. Junior Mendes did not look as effective as Gary Cohen, and it will be interesting to see who Russell Slade decides to play in their next game, away at Stockport on Tuesday.

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