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Brentford 4 Grimsby 0
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY'S decent start to the season came to a crashing end at Brentford this afternoon, a woeful defensive display contributing to a 4-0 reverse at Griffin Park, normally a happy hunting ground for the Mariners.
Town as expected made just one change, Ryan Bennett coming on at right back in place of the injured Robbie Stockdale. Andy Taylor continued alongside Martin Butler up front, and there was no place in the squad for Danny Boshell who is close to recovering from an ankle injury.
Town started reasonably, Butler heading over an early free kick, and Taylor trying cheekily to lob the ball over the Brentford 'keeper after racing on to a long ball by Peter Till.
The warning signs were there though on 15 minutes. A poor clearance by Bennett almost led to a Brentford goal, but the ensuing shot was charge down.
On 22 minutes Taylor was felled just outside the box, and Newey stepped up to take the free kick. It was to prove Town's best chance of the game when Hamer tipped the ball spectacularly over the bar.
Brentford took the lead shortly afterwards. Wilson made a mazy run through Town's defence and passed to MacDonald, who curled the ball past Barnes.
The Bees, who had gone into the game with two defeats and low in confidence, stepped up their game, and seemed to realise that the key to breaking Town down was to put them under pressure and watch the Mariners crumble.
Eight minutes later Barnes made a rare mistake, coming out for a cross and missing the ball altogether. It was crossed back to Elder for a simple tap-in into an empty net.
Brentford continued to press back Town, and just before half time another defensive mix-up this time between Bennett and Barnes led to the Bees' third goal. Bennett's indecision allowed MacDonald to curl his leg around the ball and slot it past Barnes from close range.
Town brought Hegarty on after the break for Taylor, an interesting move given that Danny North was on the bench. Clearly North is once again out of favour with Buckley, although it has to be said that he doesn't look 100% fit.
Town tried to make a game of it and Heslop brought a save out of Hamer after good work by Till, but shortly afterwards Brentford put the game beyond doubt with their fourth goal. Elder burst through Town's defence on the right and crossed to Poole who volleyed the ball into the net.
Town finally brought on North for Llewellyn, but it was too late for many Grimsby fans who left long before the end, including myself.
There were no further goals in the 20 minutes of the game I never saw.
Town's problems began in defence. Yes the midfield and forwards were also disappointing, but with the back four in disarray their chances were limited. Bennett looked totally out of place at right back, and the whole unit did not play well. Brentford seemed at times to be able to run through our defence at will.
The squad needs an extra full back if we are going to play 4-4-2 to cover for when Newey or Stockdale are not available. Jamie Clarke is supposed to be a right back so why didn't he play instead of Bennett? If we can't get cover as full backs then Grimsby would be better playing with three at the back again as they did last year.
Town's next three games are all against some of the more fancied teams in the division: Chesterfield, Lincoln and Gillingham. Brentford didn't have to do anything special to break us down, so we are going to have to improve to pick up many points in the next three weeks.
Man of the Match was Phil Barnes despite his mistake for keeping the score down to four.
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