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Town Grab Three Points
By: Kevin Dolan
GRIMSBY Town dramatically kick-started their away form with a late, late win at Chester to record their first away points of the season. A poor match was eventually settled by two injury time strikes with Gary Jonesâ€™ first of the season and Andy Taylorâ€™s first for the club.
Graham Rodger made one change from the Rochdale defeat with Danny Boshell replacing Ciaran Toner and filling in on the left side of midfield as Town reverted to 4-4-2.
Due to a few travel problems I arrived 25 minutes late at the game and ended up only paying Â£5 for entry, although Iâ€™m led believe that I probably got the better end of the deal as the only incident of note in the first half was a good save from Barnes right at the start of the match.
The last twenty minutes of the first half were very scrappy with neither side able to string many passes together. Both defences comfortably dealt with any crosses or long balls and there was no sign of any chances. The half time whistle blew to ironic cheers.
Town didnâ€™t come out early for the 2nd half as they had in recent matches, maybe aware that the approach had backfired at Rochdale, and almost took the lead with their first attack. Bore, collecting the ball out wide, beat his marker and cut inside and as the home defence backed off and off he hit a great 20-yard shot against the bar with the keeper well beaten.
Unfortunately this didnâ€™t inspire the match and the remainder of the half resumed to the training ground tempo of the first half with neither side looking capable of much potency. Throughout the rest of the 2nd half chances were few and far between; Chester fired a free kick just wide, Bore was prevented from a one-on-one by a superb saving tackle from Sandwith and the same player then brought a good low save from Barnes. With 15 minutes left Andy Taylor replaced Rankin who had made little impact and Taylorâ€™s pace gave Town some extra impetus in attack.
The game trickled towards full time and the fourth official signalled three minutes of injury time. Town showed some urgency to try and clinch a win and attacked down the left. Gary Jones collected the ball thirty yards out and, ignoring the runners either side of him, tried to forge his way through the Chester backline only to lose the ball. The ball bobbled around the Chester defence before Ashley Westwood (ironically named man of the match moments before) left the ball for his keeper who did likewise to Westwood, allowing Jones to run through unchallenged and curl a superb finish into the net from 12 yards. 0-1.
Chester now pressed desperately for an equaliser; but Whittle and Fenton comfortably dealt with their hopeful balls. Town managed to take possession and again attacked down the left. The ball was played out to Jones on the wing who in-turn hooked it on for Taylor to chase. His pace unsettled a defender who failed to reach the ball, allowing Taylor to surge past him and, in almost identical fashion to the first goal, curl the ball around the advancing keeper and into the far corner of the net. 0-2
Overall Town can be grateful of the three points. In these tight, low-key matches it is important that they can squeeze out a victory, albeit with favourable defending from the home side, and a defeat in a match like this would have been a massive blow. The 4-4-2 formation did suit Town and they were much more organised defensively, although creativity in the opposition third was at a definite premium.
Despite the plus points of an away win and a clean sheet, Chester are likely to be close to the poorest home team Town will face on their travels and the majority of the game looked disappointingly like two struggling teams. Again Townâ€™s delivery at set pieces was very poor and Neweyâ€™s stranglehold of every corner and every free-kick needs seriously reconsidering if Town are to make more of these opportunities.
In a forgettable game, most of the performances were generally average. Bore was always a threat from the right when in possession, Boshell added some composure to the midfield and Taylorâ€™s pace unsettled the homes sideâ€™s defence, but in light of the first clean sheet of the season and the fact that he dealt with everything that came his way, man of the match was Phil Barnes.
With consecutive home games against two teams below them, and who are both winless away, Town have a good opportunity to establish themselves in the top half and put a difficult start to the season behind them.
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