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Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
|Crofty: Red Card|
Accrington 4 Grimsby 1
By: Richard Lord
IT was an afternoon to forget for the large contingent of travelling Mariners fans as they witnessed their team go down 4-1 against an Accrington side still scrapping for League 2 survival.
However, the game hinged on a contentious decision just before half time when Gary Croft was dismissed for handball and Stanley scored the resulting penalty.
Striker Paul Mullin had already put the hosts in front when he capitalised on a loose ball that Town failed to clear, but Newey equalised ten minutes later with a precise free kick into the bottom corner.
The second half was a complete non-event as far as the Mariners were concerned, and Accrington added to their lead through Doherty, before captain Cavanagh made it four just before full time.
In the sweltering Lancashire heat, manager Alan Buckley may rue the decision to go with the 4-5-1 formation, which left Danny North to cover a lot of ground in energy-sapping conditions.
But for the most part, Town started well and controlled the game without ever threatening the Stanley keeper. Newey, Toner and North were finding a bit of space down the left, but there was no one waiting in the box for the cross.
North got the wrong side of Antwi but his shot from a tight angle was blocked. Town looked bright when bringing the ball forward but a lack of creativity would stifle most of their attacks.
The Mariners then put together three or four slick passes, but North's finish into an empty net was ruled off-side after Newey had moved too early in anticipation of Toner's pass.
Half way through the first half Till appeared to pull up with an injury, and minutes later he was replaced by Bore in a straight swap.
From a position of relative comfort, Alan Buckley's side once again pressed the self-destruction button as a high looping cross from the left wasn't cleared by Fenton, and Mullin stabbed home from close range.
Town pressed forward in search of an equaliser, and it came on 41 minutes. North was pulled to the ground just outside the area, and Boshell tapped the ball to one side for Newey to drill home a low free kick past Martin.
The goal was probably well deserved on the balance of play, but the euphoria didn't last for long. A corner from the right wasn't dealt with at the back post, and as a shot was charged down the referee pointed to the spot and showed Croft a straight red card.
At first there was some confusion as to who had been sent off, but after a short delay Andy Todd stepped up and fired an unstoppable penalty high into the corner of the net to restore Stanley's lead.
Having been reduced to ten men the Mariners looked to have had their work cut out - and it wasn't a day for extra running. However, they nearly fashioned a second equaliser when Fenton headed Toner's corner onto the crossbar and the rebound was cleared.
Buckley decided to change things at half time, replacing Danny North with Gary Jones. Peter Bore looked to be taking up a more advanced role down the right wing, while Boshell looked to be the one sitting back covering.
It was clear from the start that Accrington were looking to keep the ball and make Town chase everything. The Mariners looked bereft of ideas and were no threat as an attacking force in the second half.
It was no surprise, then, that when a goal came it was for Stanley - and it came from Town's vacant right-back position. The defence was drawn across to the left, and when the ball was chipped into the area Sean Doherty was left free in the area to advance on Barnes and slip the ball under the keeper to make it 3-1.
Matt Bloomer replaced Boshell and slotted in at right-back, with Toner, Bolland and Hunt left to cover a lot of work in midfield.
Jones and Bore worked too far apart up front, and while Town looked to keep their passing game together they often got unstuck as there was no other player available to receive a pass.
Newey, Fenton and Whittle were all guilty of dwelling on the ball on their own 18-yard line, and Barnes had to show some good reflexes when a shot by Boco hit a divot and threatened to jump over the keeper and into the net, but he saved well.
The fourth goal should have been prevented by the referee had he spotted a handball on the left touchline to keep the ball in play. Right back Peter Cavanagh made a marauding run unchecked into the box, and when the ball was played to him he had the simple task of firing it past Barnes to complete a comprehensive victory.
Newey appeared to say too much to the referee regarding the handball incident and was booked for dissent.
Whilst Town competed well while the game was eleven-versus-eleven, they only had one real shot on target and that was the goal. Otherwise it was an easy afternoon for Stanley keeper Martin, and yet again it was basic defensive errors that proved Town's undoing.
MOM Newey with Whittle close behind. It may seems strange to give it to a defender on that performance, but Newey got through a lot of work down the left wing, and this was where we were most effective before we went down to ten men. And, of course, he scored.
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