Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
The Nearly Men
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY came within five minutes of causing the shock of the FA Cup First Round at League One leaders Carlisle. Leading by a superb first half Paul Bolland volley, Town appeared to have weathered a second half storm until a moment of madness by Tom Newey led to a a penalty and a sending off.
On a windy day in Carlisle, Town started the game with an attacking 4-4-2 formation as Alan Buckley unusually dropped two of his first choice players: Ciaran Toner and Peter Till. This allowed Nick Hegarty to start on the left and Danny Boshell was moved to the right hand side of midfield. Jamie Clarke also started for the first time in the position he was bought to play in, right back. Ryan Bennett's performance against MK Dons also gave him the nod to start over Justin Whittle in central defence. Town had a great chance to take a shock lead in the 9th minutes when Hegarty put in a good cross which Jones backheeled to Bolland who failed to connect fully and his strike was saved by the 'keeper.
Barnes made a brilliant save to deny Graham in the 15th minute as Carlisle began to apply pressure to Town's defence. After 22 minutes Garner failed to keep a header down and it sailed over the bar.
After 29 minutes Town broke and Clarke crossed to Bolland who gave Town the lead with an outstanding volley from a narrow angle which bounced in off the crossbar. It was a similar goal to that scored by Boshell at MK Dons.
Graham missed a close range chance, stretching to reach a Garner header which Barnes had left to go out but he lifted his attempt over the crossbar.
Five minutes before half time Jamie Clarke headed a Graham shot off the line and Garner managed to miss the rebound.
Half Time: Carlisle 0 Grimsby 1. The Mariners were half way to an unlikely victory. Their approach play had been much better and they looked much more dangerous when they had the ball in recent weeks.
As expected Town withstood a lot of Carlisle pressure early in the second half. Clarke cleared a cross which has beaten Barnes for a corner.
Bolland caused Town fans to sweat when he handled the ball on the very edge of the penalty area. Barnes fisted the ball out and Bolland gave away another free kick on the edge of the area, which was thankfully cleared.
When Barnes missed a cross and Carlton headed over it looked like it was going to be Town's day.
But with five minutes to go a cross into the box was needlessly handled by Newey, who had already been booked. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot and show Newey a second yellow card. Aranalde stepped up to take the penalty, and scored to level the tie.
Whittle came on in place of Butler as Town set their stall our to defend the last five minutes plus four minutes of injury time. They needed to be at their best when Bennett had to head the ball off the line when Barnes came out and missed a cross. Fenton also has to throw himself in front of a Graham shot in a bit of last ditch defending.
But Town held on and Carlisle will now have to come to Blundell Park for a replay a week on Tuesday for what will be Town's seventh cup game of the season so far.
Man of the Match was Jamie Clarke, a revelation at Right Back. All season we have been told Grimsby don't have a right back only to discover after 19 games that the man with the No. 2 shirt can after all play in this position.
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