Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Happy Newey Year
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY began 2008 with a 2-0 win at Chester, gaining revenge for the defeat by City at Blundell Park earlier this season. A dull game which looked to be heading for a goalless draw came to life when Town were gifted a second half penalty. A late set piece header for Atkinson then sealed the win.
Buckley started with Gary Jones up front, who had come off the bench to score the winner against Lincoln of Saturday, which meant than Danny North had to settle for a place on the bench. Otherwise the formation was the now customary 3-5-2 and everyone was where you would expect to find them.
A scrappy first half meant chances were few and far between for either side, but City had the edge. On 20 minutes Town were caught in possession and when Chester broke Grimsby had to rely on Barnes to push away a cross/shot on the edge of the six yard box. Shortly afterwards Ellison failed to capitalise on a misplaced Grimsby pass in midfield, only managing to blast his shot well wide.
Town's only attempt of note in the first period was a Bennett header from a Newey free kick which landed in the roof of the net.
Shortly before half time Chester had a golden chance to take the lead. In an appalling mix up Hird and Newey went for same ball and both missed it. McManus broke with the ball and found himself in a one-on-one with Barnes with time and space to beat Town's keeper. The young striker totally fluffed his chance though and didn't even get a shot on target.
Half Time: Chester 0 Grimsby 0
It was a poor first half and Town would need to improve to get anything from the game from this point.
Early in the second half Town continued in the same sloppy vein and Alan Buckley brought on Danny North for the ineffectual Butler. It was a turning point as Town began to assert themselves much more in the game.
The Mariners missed a great chance on the hour mark when a Hird cross towards the unmarked Boshell and North in the box, picked out Danny Boshell. The Town midfielder though misdirected his header headed over bar.
On 65 minutes Paul Bolland pushed a ball into the box and Danny North raced towards it, heading away from the goal. The forward was brought down by the Chester keeper even though he was not directly threatening the goal. The referee awarded a penalty and Danby was booked. Danny Boshell then dispatched the ball from the spot, beating the keeper who dived the right way.
With Town's noses in front Nick Fenton came on to strengthen the defence and Atkinson moved to left back with Town now playing 4-4-2.
Fenton immediately showed his value, making a great challenge to save Town after Atkinson was dispossessed.
Chester brought on Simon Yeo and switched to three up front, pressing for an equaliser. Yeo quickly brought a save out of Phil Barmes, turning and shooting for Barnes to palm the ball away at the foot of the post.
Town were awarded a free kick when North was brought down, and Newey curled the ball into the path of Atkinson, whose glancing header went into the net at the far post. It was a set piece goal that Grimsby had been recently threatening.
Chester's bad day was complete when (their) Butler was booked for dissent in injury time.
It was a much improved second half from Town, with Alan Buckley making two excellent substitutions at key points in the game. 236 Town fans went home happy and consigned Chester to a miserable Christmas with three defeats on the spin.
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