Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
Pride of Lincolnshire
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY finally recorded their first league victory of the season with a 2-1 victory over local rivals Lincoln City at Sincil Bank. A rare Justin Whittle goal and a Ciaran Toner penalty were enough to see Town leapfrog over City in the table and more away from the relegation zone.
Town started with Alan Buckley's first choice XI in his preferred away formation of 4-5-1. Danny North was once again overlooked despite his fine midweek reserve performance with Andy Taylor and Gary Jones the two strikers on the bench.
Lincoln's recent poor form and the midday kick off had clearly put off the locals as the home sections of Sincil Bank were less than half full. Town had a healthy contingent of supporters there as well, well over a thousand Mariners fans making the short trip by train or road.
The pitch was in immaculate condition but was heavily watered shortly before kick off which caused a lot of the Town players problems keeping on their feet in the first half.
Town had virtually all the possession for the first ten minutes, but their were no incidents of note in the opening spell.
Despite Town's dominance Lincoln almost drew first blood in the first serious attack of the game. Sloppy play in the Town defence saw Lincoln handed the ball in a dangerous area and Tom Newey was forced to hack the ball clear over his own cross bar.
At the other end Newey was involved in a clever 1-2 with Rankin. The Town left back was brought down on the edge of the box and the City defender was shown the yellow card. Mulligan's free kick was blocked.
Town took the lead with a strange goal from Justin Whittle. A Grimsby corner missed everyone and was crossed back into the box by Toner. In the ensuing melee Whittle got his foot to the ball and the ball looped in slow motion over everyone and into the bottom corner of the net.
Grimsby continued to create chances. Paul Bolland almost took advantage of a mistake by the Lincoln 'keeper who presented the ball to the Town midfielder but Marriott managed to get back and clear Bolland's shot from a narrow angle for a corner.
Fenton then had a completely free header for a corner, but could only direct it at the 'keeper.
City then got back into the game somewhat against the run of play. A mistake by Justin Whittle on 38 presented the ball to Jamie Forrester on the edge of the box who buried the ball past Barnes.
The goal gave Lincoln a boost and they finished the first half strongly, almost adding a second when Barnes failed to latch onto a cross.
Half time: Lincoln 1 Grimsby 1
Town's defence was coping with Lincoln by and large and Grimsby were able to hit Lincoln on the break, playing the ball to Rankin who was able to link up with onrushing players. Rankin had to put in an immense amount of work however and it could only be a matter of time before Gary Jones had to come on. But for a moment of madness Town should have gone in a goal up.
The two sides drew the cross bar challenge 1-1 at half time with Town's fan "scoring" first and Lincoln's "equalising". Could this be an omen?
After 5 minutes of the second half Rankin was brought down on the edge of the box in full flight with the referee awarding a penalty. It was a unnecessary challenge as Rankin still had a lot to do to score and his scoring rate is not exactly prolific. Toner scored from the spot to give Town the lead View.
The goal opened the game up with Lincoln pressing for an equaliser and Town able to take advantage of gaps at the other end.
Dodds missed a good chance for Lincoln, striking the ball just wide when in a good position.
Hunt came off after a clash of heads with a Town player and was replaced by Clarke.
Barnes kept Town in the game with a truly outstanding save. Lincoln looked certain to score when Stallard headed a cross goalwards just a few feet out. Barnes managed to somehow claw the ball away and the rebound was blasted over the bar.
Barnes however then failed to catch a throw-in directed to the near post. The ball came out to Forrester on the far post who blasted it over from close range with the goal at his mercy. It was another let off for Town.
Grimsby had the biggest let off when Nat Brown headed what looked like a Lincoln equaliser but the referee disallowed the goal for a push.
Jones came on with 10 minutes to go for an exhausted Rankin and had a great chance to put the game beyond doubt. The big striker was put through by Till and with just the 'keeper to beat his shot was saved. The ball rebounded to Bolland but his shot was too low and Marriott, still on the ground, managed to get up and save it.
Lincoln's hopes were raised with five minutes of injury time but it was the Mariners who had the best chance when Till, who had earlier shot when he should have crossed, unselfishly broke into the box and squared to Bolland who skied the ball into the Town supporters.
Town hung on to claim a deserved first win. Although both teams had chances in the second half, the Mariners deserved to win as they dominated the first period of the game. Everyone played well with Newey strong in the first period but Peter Till was a constant danger on the right hand side and win's the Man of the Match award.
The Grimsby fans received their customary escort from the police to the train station, which gives everyone the opportunity if they wish to to goad the people of Lincoln with total impunity.View (may take a while!)
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