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Grimsby 1 Chester 0
By: Rob Salt
ON a cold afternoon at Blundell Park, the first half performance was not the best; however with a dozen or so matches left and a better second half, the result was all that mattered.
Town kicked off defending the Pontoon end with Macca returning at right back. With Michael Reddy, JP Kalala and Gary Croft all banned it meant Gary Cohen was pushed up front with Cairan Toner on an unfamiliar role on the left wing.
The match started at a very quick pace with Chester winning a corner in the first few minutes, this resulted in a Chester player heading into the side netting with most of the Town fans thinking they had taken an early lead.
Shortly afterwards a free kick from Town was knocked into the path of Ben Futcher, and with his back to goal and a Chester player holding him back, he was unable to turn. Grimsby appealed for a penalty but the referee was not impressed.
The rest of the first half was very lacklustre from both teams, with only Curtis Woodhouse for Town showing how passing should be made. The only attempts on goal came from the Mariners through Woodhouse, Parkinson and Cohen who all shot wide and high from long range.
The best move of the first half came 5 minutes before half time: some good work in the Town midfield saw Woodhouse out wide on the right, his first time cross was well headed and placed by Gary Jones, however there did seem to be a hint of offside, even Jones running off to celebrate had to look twice at the linesman.
Town could have doubled their lead shortly afterwards, a free kick was delivered into the box and up rose Ben Futcher to meet the cross but the Chester keeper parried well and a Chester defender cleared the loose ball.
The 2nd half began just like the first half, Chester broke away and, from a tight angle, shot into the side netting, again with most Town fans thinking they had scored.
Town were beginning to dominate and were looking the better side without playing to their full potential. A couple of set pieces seemed to trouble the keeper slightly with one of them being clawed just off the line.
Halfway through the second half Cohen, who already had some bad challenges on him, was subject to a flying forearm to the face, this was in front of the referee who apart from giving Town a free kick did nothing else, despite Town fans calling for a deserved red card for the Chester player. This resulted in Cohen having to go down the tunnel for treatment for a good 5 minutes. Shortly after coming back on Cohen seemed to receive a blow to the face, again in front of the ref, but no action was taken.
The best chance in open play came when Toner was free on the left hand side on goal. He choose to square the ball to Bolland and the chance was gone, all Town fans were screaming that Toner should have had a go at goal.
Then with 6 minutes left, Town were awarded the dreaded penalty, (Quick bring on JP, even though he was banned)! Surely the odds of a Town player scoring from the spot are getting better and better, surely he canâ€™t miss, up steps Woodhouse sends the 'keeper the wrong way, but well over the bar it goes (I am personally going to start a campaign for Mildenhall to take all future pens!)
Despite two late corners from Chester, Town hold on for the win. Not the best of performances, however Town deserved to win and were the better team.
Man of the Match : Gary Cohen, for taking a lot of bad tackles from Chester, but showing he would not be beaten, and just getting on with it.
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