Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY recorded their second consecutive win and their first home League Two victory of the season with a entertaining 2-1 triumph over form side Hereford. Goals by Boshell and Newey gave Town a 2-0 lead but the Mariners had Phil Barnes to thank for keeping Hereford's reply down to just one goal.
Grimsby started the game with Alan Buckley's favoured 4-5-1 formation, with Jamie Clarke coming in as a direct swap for the injured James Hunt. Otherwise the team was unchanged from that which won at Lincoln on Saturday.
Town had nearly all the possession in the first half, passing the ball around well and generally running rings around Hereford's midfield but without creating many chances further up the pitch. The Mariners were awarded a number of free kicks in and around the Hereford penalty area but their delivery was generally poor in a first period of few chances for either side.
Hereford though on a rare foray into the Grimsby box almost drew first blood. The ball was played to Easton in space on the edge of the box. His shot took a deflection but Town 'keeper Phil Barnes managed to get his hand to it and claw the ball out of danger for a corner.
Town's first decent chance of the entire first half ended in a goal. Tom Newey, who had just made a forward run into the box and forced a save from the 'keeper, produced an inch perfect cross as Town raced towards the Hereford goal. Town had two players queuing up to tap the ball in and Danny Boshell's foot was there first to prod the ball into the net. Alan Buckley must have been purring as Grimsby had literally walked the ball into the net.
Benjamin had a free header shortly before half time but his goal attempt from an Easton cross sailed over the bar.
Half Time: Grimsby 1 Hereford 0
Grimsby had totally dominated the game possession wise but had largely been contained by Hereford, who arguably had carved out slightly more goal scoring opportunities. Town though, buoyed by their victory over Lincoln, were playing with a swagger, passing the ball about flamboyantly, with Newey and Toner looking especially dangerous down Town's left. Newey on one occasion even had the audacity to try a Poutonesque stepover in front of the Pontoon.
Early in the second half Boshell was fouled outside the right hand corner of the penalty area. It was too narrow an angle to shoot at goal, so Town piled players into the box in the hope of someone directing Newey's free kick towards Brown's goal. That was what everyone was expecting, including the keeper, for Newey instead hit the ball towards his near post and Brown failed to get down in time to stop the ball going directly in from an acute angle. Only Newey will know if this is what he intended.
Hereford almost pulled a goal back straight away in a truly slapstick moment. Barnes and Fenton misunderstood one another, allowing Ainsworth to dispossess them leaving a gaping goal to put the ball in. Somehow the presence of another Hereford player seemed to fractionally put him off and Ainsworth's sidefooted shot was mishit, striking the base of the post and running along the goal line before being hacked off the line by Fenton. It was huge let off, Hereford would have scored 99 times out of 100 in that position and all of us who have grandmothers who are still alive could say our granny could have scored from there.
Hereford got the goal their play deserved within a couple of minutes though. A ball into the Town box saw the Grimsby defence stand and watch as dangerman Trevor Benjamin headed it past Barnes to give the Bulls a lifeline.
Alan Buckley reacted by taking off Bolland, who had not been 100% fit, and replaced him with the lively Taylor. The Mariners switched to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation to accommodate the young Grimbarian.
Taylor almost made Buckley look like a tactical genius as within minutes he raced into the box and just had Brown to beat in the Hereford goal. He tried to go round Brown, but the Hereford shot stopper smothered the ball at Taylor's feet. It was a chance the young Town striker should have taken.
Hereford a few minutes later had the first of several chances to draw level. A free kick from the edge of the box eluded everyone and landed at the feet of the unmarked Taylor, literally just a few feet from goal on the far past. Taylor however blasted the ball over when he should have done much better.
Jones came on for Rankin with 20 minutes to go and him and Taylor were a real handful up front, and Town had a number chances to put the game beyond doubt with a third goal. It would be nice to see these two start a game rather than the odd cameo here and there.
Hereford themselves looked dangerous as they themselves pressed forward in an exciting final phase of the game. An Ainsworth shot forced a good save from Barnes and Benjamin struck the rebound into the side netting.
Ryan Bennett came on for a tiring Boshell and Town readjusted with Bennett moving to the right back spot he is likely to occupy when Mulligan goes back to Scunthorpe after Tuesday's game with Chester. The 17-year-old though was booked soon after coming on for time wasting from a throw in.
The last twist of an exciting game came in injury time when Phil Barnes blocked a low shot from Hereford substitute Phil Robinson, who had looked odds on to score. It was the second game on the trot that Barnes had made crucial saves to allow Grimsby to take maximum points from a game.
Full Time: Grimsby 2 Hereford 1
Although Barnes was excellent he was not called on quite enough to justify the Man of the Match tag, which goes to Tom Newey who linked up well with Toner all game, scored one goal and set up the other. Not bad for a left back!
So what a difference a week makes. Although Town have ridden their luck a little in the last two games, they have shaded them both and secured points which had eluded them earlier in the season. With a points total which is probably more representative of their performances Town will be looking forward to another home game against Chester on Tuesday night and a chance to move further up the table.
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