League Two Table
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
Notts Co 1 Grimsby 1
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY drew their third consecutive away game this afternoon at Meadow Lane. Although Notts County went ahead in the second half, Town pegged back the Magpies almost straight away when Nick Fenton powered home a deserved equaliser.
Town made two chances from the team which beat Bury in the week. Tom Newey's toe injury meant a start for Ryan Bennett. Gary Jones was dropped to the bench and Alan Buckley made the unexpected decision to play midfielder Peter Till up front in his place, despite Andy Taylor and the likes of Nathan Jarman being available for selection, or even the reluctant Mariner Martin Butler.
Town should have gone ahead early on in the game from their first serious chance. Peter Till made a great run into the box and his initial shot was saved. The ball bounced out to Clarke who had time and space to pick his spot, but delayed slightly and his shot was charged down for a corner.
Town had an even better a chance a few minutes later when North beat the offside trap and found himself in a one-on-one situation with the experienced Kevin Pilkington. North just needed to lift his shot over the 'keeper but struck the ball too low and it was smothered by Pilkington.
Notts County had their chances as well as Grimsby. Barnes had to save a header from the confrontational Lee early in the first half, and the Town 'keeper also plucked to safety a Lee cross-shot right under the nose of the dangerous Jarvis.
Till seemed to be cropping up all over the pitch, and had a tendency to drift back to his "natural" position on the right wing, or even helping out as an emergency right back on occasion. Generally his best moments came from running at defenders and crossing. On 21 minutes he did just this, picking out Hegarty who took two touches, the second of which was a shot just wide.
North had another great chance to give Grimsby the lead their play deserved. A good move with Till at the heart of it culminated in Hird crossing to the unmarked Hegarty in front of goal. Hegarty just needed to direct the ball either side of the 'keeper but unfortunately directed it straight at a grateful Pilkington.
Another ex-Mariner had a good chance to score just before half time, when centre back Mike Edwards blazed over when the ball came to him from a free kick.
Half Time: Notts County 0 Grimsby 0
Grimsby should have really been at least one goal up for all their play. They had had the majority of the possession and all the best chances to open the scoring.
After the break it was a slightly different story. Grimsby's domination was not as complete, and County made the most of their substitutes, something Alan Buckley was strangely reluctant to do,
Town almost gifted County a goal when a bad back pass by Atkinson (I think) was seized on by Jarvis, but Barnes managed to block his shot and the rebound was somehow hacked away to safety.
It was not long though before County did go ahead. Top scorer Butcher was allowed to run into the box and shoot low past Barnes into the bottom corner.
Town though were level two minutes later. They won a free kick when Hunt was fouled and the ball broke to Fenton on the edge of the box who showed Danny North a lesson in finishing, sliding it calmly past the 'keeper.
Town began to string together some good passing moves, but without Gary Jones they were toothless up front, although for some reason Alan Buckley did not want to bring him on.
As County brought on all three of their substitutes, the Town bench remained stationary, instead seeming content to settle for a point and continue their unbeaten run in 2008.
Hegarty did have a chance to win the game but volleyed wide a few minutes before the end.
Jones finally came on with 90 minutes on the clock and hardly had a touch.
Town played well and created more chances than in games they have won recently. Jones was sorely missed up front as neither North nor Till can provide the outlet that is Jonah during games (only Butler comes close to the physical presence of North now Rankin has gone). Boshell and Clarke were the pick of the midfielders, Bosh in particular covering loads of ground. The defence played well and Bennett and Fenton were outstanding. Fenton gets the nod though for Man of the Match as yet again he showed how valuable he is to the side from set pieces.
Full Time: Notts County 1 Grimsby 1
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