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North Slays Bees
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY recorded their first league win since September with an impressive 3-0 win at Barnet. Town absorbed a lot of pressure in the first half, but were clinical in front of goal with North capitalising on two chances. Town controlled the game after the break but only sealed it with a late Taylor strike.
Town started with a 3-5-2 formation with both new loan players making their debuts. Rob Atkinson played in a back three alongside Fenton and Bennett. Sam Hird played as a right wing back. Up front Alan Buckley kept faith with Danny North and Gary Jones who played so well in the midweek win over Carlisle. Gary Montgomery continued in goal in the absence of Phil Barnes, who is still ill.
Barnet tested Town from to off, pumping dangerous balls into the corners of their sloping Underhill pitch, and whipping in some difficult crosses for Grimsby's defence to deal with. This was a tactic they were to continue to employ all goal.
But it was Town who took the lead with their first chance of the game. Nick Fenton flicked on a ball from a corner, which the Barnet defence failed to clear, and North managed to stick out a foot to squeeze the ball into the net.
Barnet then continued to pile on the pressure and had to rely on Montgomery to make a good save to deny the dangerous Birchall. Birchall then broke into the box and looked to have scored from the away end, but his shot had struck the side netting.
Barnet had several good chances in the remainder of first half but with the half drawing to a close a brilliant individual goal by Danny North doubled Grimsby's advantage. The young striker was played through and with no Town player near him he had to go it alone. With three defenders around him, North managed to shrug off their challenges and bear down on goal, flashing the ball past Harrison for a brilliant finish. It was a superb striker's goal, the likes of which has rarely been seen since Michael Reddy left the club.
After the break Town ironically created a lot more chances than they had in the first half. Barnet continued to have a lot of possession but Town's formation allowed them to soak up the pressure and the Mariners for once looked dangerous on the break.
Substitute Peter Bore was put through by Danny North but could only manage a feeble shot. Then Town were denied a certain penalty when the officials failed to spot a blatant handball by Sagi Burton.
Taylor came on for North and had two great chances to score, before he finally did. The Town striker broke into the box and decided to pass backwards to Toner who was in a much worse position than him. Toner managed a shot and the ball broke back to Taylor who had a simple tap in to ensure Grimsby took three points.
Town played well. They defended especially well and, other than in the first 20 minutes where Barnet looked dangerous, the Bees did not create a lot of clear cut chances from all their possession. The two new defenders both fitted in well, with Rob Atkinson looking the pick of the two of the left side of Town's back three. The rest of the team also worked hard to close Barnet down and help defend. Up front though Danny North was a menace for the Mariners and terrorised Barnet. His partnership with Gary Jones is beginning to develop and hopefully Alan Buckley will persevere with this pairing rather than recall Rankin or Butler when they become available. Likewise Montgomery has been excellent in the last two games and has managed to do what Phil Barnes failed to do and kept a clean sheet in the last two games. Hopefully he too will keep his place as a reward.
Bizarrely Town's perfect record against Barnet continues with 5 wins out of 5 and no goals conceded.
The Mariners face another League One side Huddersfield in the FA Cup Second Round on Saturday, a tie which the club would desperately like to win in the hope of acquiring a lucrative draw when the big clubs enter in the Third Round.
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