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Town Go Top
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY ground their way to another narrow victory over Boston in the Lincolnshire derby, with Michael Reddy once again on target with the game's only goal. With other results in League Two going their way the Mariners now sit proudly on top of the division, two points clear of the pack.
Town once again fielded a makeshift defence and this time midfield. Russell Slade asked Boston for permission to play Ben Futcher against his former team, but was turned down. This meant Gary Cohen once again had to fill in at right back, and Tom Newey play out of position in central defence. Big Rob Jones, however, did return at the heart of Grimsby's defence after missing the last game against Notts County with a groin problem. Terry Barwick was a surprise choice in central midfield, with Kalala remaining on the bench following his return from Egypt.
The first half was a fairly turgid affair, with few chances for either side. The match was a typical local derby with tackles flying in, and was played at a fast and furious pace with nobody allowed much time on the ball. Boston defended well and Town's dangerman Michael Reddy hardly got a sniff in the first period.
An Andy Parkinson mistake inside the first 10 minutes almost allowed Boston to take the lead. The industrious winger gave the ball away on the edge of the box, but Mildenhall got down low to make a low save from Clarke's shot.
Another series of defensive blunders allowed Keene to race clear into the Grimsby box, but his shot went thankfully wide.
Boston also had a shout for a penalty when Tom Newey appeared to handle the ball in the box, but nothing was given by the referee, who was consistently erratic in some of his decisions.
Town's best moment of the first half came in the final minute. Mendes raced into the box following a good build-up but his shot went just wide of goal.
Grimsby were awarded quite a few free kicks in the first 45 minutes in promising positions, but Woodhouse failed to deliver dangerous balls into the box, where Town missed Gary Jones's presence at set pieces.
The game improved after the break, Town finally giving the crowd something to cheer about in the opening minutes.
Town had a stroke of luck when Boston raced clear to a loose ball. Mildenhall came racing out of his box, and the ball struck his arm with the striker racing through in a goal scoring position. The referee, however, waved play-on, presumably adjudging the contact not to be deliberate. The Boston players were livid not to be even given a free kick, as most officials probably would have done as a minimum.
Mildenhall made another good save from Pilgrim's substitute Hall by tipping it over for a corner. The resulting spot kick came out to the same player on the edge of the box, who blasted it over although he had the time and space to do better.
With the game going Boston's way Russell Slade shuffled his pack, and Terry Barwick moved to right back, with Gary Cohen going up front. Barwick shortly made way for JPK Kalala, with Ciaran Toner becoming Grimsby's third right back of the game.
The changes in personnel seemed to make an immediate impact as Grimsby's attacking play looked more incisive than it had previously, and the Boston defence began to look ruffled for the first time.
Town took the lead when Michael Reddy was first to a loose ball in the box. The Irishman swivelled and fired the ball back into the net. It was a rare poacher's goal for a striker who specialises in the spectacular. Reddy was then booked for his celebrations in front of the adoring Pontoon. It was his second booking in as many games, and Reddy is now just one yellow card away from a suspension.
With their noses in front Town seemed to step up a gear and looked fairly comfortable for the final few minutes, in which Gary Jones came on the boost the attack, with the tireless Cohen finishing the game at right back where he had started.
History almost repeated itself, however, when Joachim shot wide in the final minute of injury time with the goal at his mercy. In the corresponding game at York Street the former Villa striker had scored an undeserved equaliser deep in injury time, but today the role's were reversed.
Town clung on to record a hard-fought victory, although they rode their luck at times. How often do you hear that good teams win when they don't deserve to? By this reckoning Town therefore are a very good team!
Man of the match was Gary Cohen who battled for every ball from start to finish, and played all over the park.
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