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Bolly: Winning Pen
Bolly: Winning Pen

Town Win a Classic Tie

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 13/11/2007

GRIMSBY went into the last four of the Northern Section of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy after a dramatic game at Blundell Park tonight, culminating in a penalty shoot out of high drama. The Mariners are now just two games away from a lucrative Wembley final ten years on from their '98 double season.

Town twice pressed the self-destruct button tonight, allowing an ultra-soft goal to be scored against them and then conceding a penalty for a fourth consecutive game. But Town also rode their luck with Doncaster twice hitting the woodwork, but a draw against their League One opponents was a fair result as Grimsby also missed a few chances of their own.

Grimsby got off to a great start at a windy and rainy Blundell Park, a Tuesday night phenomenon so dreaded by away teams that it has had books named after it. Bizarrely Rovers brought along 2000 supporters for the competition they were proudly defending. Danny North played a one on one with Peter Till who eventually crossed to Boshell who slid the ball home from 6 yards out.

Danny North then went close when he ran into the box and tried to chip the 'keeper. who just managed to reach the ball.

Then Bennett, hand raised appealing for an offside decision, stood motionless as Guy took the ball around him and shot past Barnes. It was an appaling mistake that will have left Alan Buckley fuming once again.

Phil Barnes then kept Town in the game when he brilliantly clipped a Heffernan diving header onto the bar.

Just before half time Town went back in front with a bizarre own goal. Rovers 'keeper Ben Smith cleared the ball against the wind and it looped up and back in his direction, almost returning to him. Rovers defender Mills in front of goal tried to head the ball back to his keeper but the wind carried it over him past Smith and into the net.

Town had two great chances at the start of the second half to go two goals clear. Firstly Danny North headed the ball over from about 1 foot out, then Bennett headed the ball forward to Jarman who set off on a run and shot into the side netting with his left foot.

At the other end Doncaster again hit the woodwork when a Heffernan shot hit the foot of the post with Barnes beaten.

For the rest of the game Doncaster pressed forward for an equaliser, bringing on three attacking substitutes and throwing everything at Town. With 10 minutes to go Fenton was penalised for holding a player back in the box and the referee awarded a penalty. Heffernan blasted the ball high into the roof of the net to equalise the game with 10 minutes left.

With two minutes left Barnes made another superb save from a Wellands's point blank shot.

The match went to penalties, which were taken in front of the away end, who were immediately silenced when Barnes saved Green's first kick. All the other penalties were scored when Paul Bolland stepped up to take Town's final penalty, needing just to score for Town to win the game. The 'keeper though saved the penalty, only for the linesman to signal that Smith had moved off his line. Despite the protests, the spot kick had to be retaken and this time Bolland made no mistake.

With all the other League Two clubs winning tonight in the Northern Section, at least one League Two side is certain to be at Wembley this season. Why can't that team be us? With Carlisle, Leeds, Doncaster and Hartlepool all out Grimsby just need win two games (the second over two legs) against Bury, Stockport or Morecambe to find themselves once again at the most famous football stadium in the world.

A full report will appear later.

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