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Can it Get Any Worse?
By: Luke Fraser
GRIMSBY Town slumped to another defeat on Saturday losing 2-1 to Morecambe, meaning they have now only gained 1 point from a possible 24. It was a particularly abject performance and even the most positive of Mariners' fans must be extremely worried about our capability to maintain our league status.
Alan Buckley was again forced to tinker with his team and formation with both Ryan Bennett and Justin Whittle unavailable. Phil Barnes was between the sticks as usual. Clarke, Newey and Fenton made up a back three with Hunt, Bolland, Boshell, Hegarty and Till making up a midfield five. Danny North was joined up front by Martin Butler. Morecambe, with only one win in their last six had the dangerous Jon Newby up front and former Manchester United youngster Michael Twiss in their line up.
It was Morecambe who had the better of the opening exchanges as they passed the ball around nicely. The Mariners were looking very lethargic from the off and despite some vociferous backing from the home fans, and some good recent results against higher division opposition, Grimsby just couldn't get going.
The visitorâ€™s first real chance came after 11 minutes. After working a neat short corner routine the ball was swung into the box but Bentley could only put his header straight at Barnes. Grimsbyâ€™s best efforts were mainly set pieces and they won a free kick in a dangerous position when Butler was fouled on the edge of the box. However, Boshellâ€™s delivery was poor and the Morecambe â€˜keeper claimed a comfortable catch.
The game continued with Morecambe looking the more assured footballing team and it was only a matter of time before they took the lead. Ironically, it was just after Townâ€™s best move of the match. Peter Till had picked the ball up in his own half, ran 50 yards before unleashing a shot straight at the â€˜keeper. As the ball was pumped back up the field Jon Newby picked up possession on the edge of the Town box and neatly chipped the ball over Barnes. It was a super finish and a real blow to the Mariners but the visitors were certainly worth their lead.
Alan Buckley responded by swapping Hunt for Toner and reverting to 4-4-2 but it didn't make much difference as Morecambe continued to boss the game. Twiss headed over when he perhaps should have done better and Phil Barnes was alert enough to come off his line and smother another Morecambe attack. The Mariners were looking toothless and even though Fenton headed a ball just over the bar as the half drew to a close it had been a dreadful 45 minutes and surely things had to improve in the second half. Surely?
Andy Taylor replaced Danny North for the second half, Alan Buckley no doubt hoping his pace could liven up the dreary Town attack.
Disaster struck though four minutes into the second half. Morecambe played some neat passes on the right hand side, Allen crossed the ball in and Twiss was on hand to head past Barnes. It was a cutting blow for Town just when they were hoping to seize the initiative. They hadn't played like a team capable of scoring one goal let alone two!
Morecambe missed a great chance to make it three shortly after and Town were then given a lifeline. Andy Taylor pounced on a short back pass after some lazy defending to squeeze the ball past Lewis. The Mariners were back in it after a real gift!
For the next quarter Grimsby played their best football of the match. Newey hit a free kick just passed the post and Taylor and Toner had half chances after neat build up play. Morecambe though were still dangerous and Baker squandered a chance to finish off the game. Possibly Townâ€™s best chance to equalize fell to the tricky Taylor whose shot across the face of the goal went just wide. Jones replaced Butler after 73 minutes as Alan Buckley played his last card.
The game was all but over two minutes later when Danny Boshell joined the list of recent Town red cards. He was shown a straight red for a dangerous tackle on Yates. It seemed a bit harsh but Boshell will now serve a three match suspension which will further test the reserves of the Mariners' paper thin squad.
That was pretty much that and the final 10 minutes were played out comfortably by the visitors. Three minutes of added time came and went and as the referee brought proceedings to the end boos rang around Blundell Park. Another league defeat and a pretty disgraceful performance all round. The only real shining light of the day being Lincolnâ€™s defeat at Wycombe!
Man of the Match: I can't remember an occasion when itâ€™s been so difficult to actually pick out a town star man. Phil Barnes dealt comfortably with most things he had to deal with and couldn't be faulted for the goals. However, Andy Taylor gets my vote for simply adding some energy to a team that lacked anything resembling energy, desire or creativity all afternoon. He also finished off his chance well. Make no mistake, if you didn't think Town were in trouble and are "too good to go down" the evidence of yesterday says otherwise!
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