League Two Form Guide
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|MOM: Nick Fenton|
Grimsby 2 Torquay 0
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY bounced back from the defeat last weekend at Lincoln with a 2-0 victory over a Torquay side whose overall play belied their lowly position in League Two. Goals from Isaiah Rankin and Nick Fenton sent the Town faithful home happy with an early Xmas present.
Alan Buckley was once again faced with an injury in the area where Grimsby's squad is hopelessly deficient: central defence. As against Lincoln last week when Nick Fenton was suspended, the Town boss this time had to deal with an absentee at the back, except this time it was Justin Whittle with a thigh strain.
Buckley's solution to the problem today involved rotating the entire back four. Gary Croft moved from right back to left back, Tom Newey from left back to centre back, Nick Fenton returned at centre back, and midfielder Danny Boshell came into the side as an emergency right back.
Other changes to the starting XI saw Gary Harkins and Peter Till come into midfield at the expense of Ravenhill and Bore. Rankin and Paterson started up front for the Mariners.
The game started quietly with both sides attempting to pass the ball, but frequently giving away possession. Town's makeshift defence didn't look convincing, with Croft misplacing several passes early on, and Newey frequently drifting away from central defence into his normal left back role. Indeed Newey got booked for a needless handball at the edge of the pitch, with play too far away from the goal to present an immediate danger.
Grimsby however broke the deadlock with the first decent chance of the game. Good play down Town's right hand side, saw the ball break via Paterson to Rankin on the left side of the penalty area. The big Town striker bundled the ball into the net to give the Mariners the lead.
A Torquay defender almost scored an own goal, when a clearance under pressure whizzed past the post for a corner to round off a fairly dull half.
Toner came on in the second half in place of Hegarty. Torquay came close to scoring early in the half when Murray curled a shot just wide of the post.
Paterson nearly added a second for the Mariners when he turned his man and blasted a ferocious shot just over the bar.
Just before Town's second goal, Torquay came very close to equalising when a passing move ended with a volley just wide of Phil Barnes's goal.
But then Grimsby gave themselves a two goal cushion when Fenton was left totally unmarked at a corner and planted the ball in the net in front of an exultant Pontoon.
Grimsby had several chances to add a third but Paterson was guilty on a few occasions of failing to pass the ball to better placed opponents. The on-loan Stoke striker had only one thing on his mind.
After the final whistle Paterson threw his shirt into the Pontoon. Could this be his final game for Grimsby?
Town had the better chances and their finishing was superior. Torquay played some good football, but looked suspect at the back and over-passed the ball sometimes in front of goal. As with Barnet a few weeks ago though, the opposition looked better than their league position.
Town were more organised and a better shape at the back in the second half, but throughout the match Nick Fenton was outstanding, and was a large part of Grimsby managing to keep a clean sheet with a very makeshift back four.
Town head now to one of the hardest grounds on the circuit in recent years when they take on bogey team Hartlepool on Boxing Day.
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