Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY lost again in League Two, this time to Gillingham at Priestfield, although the final 3-0 scoreline flattered the Kent side a little. Had the woodwork not denied substitute Danny North a cheeky goal when the score was 1-0, it could have been a different outcome.
Alan Buckley stuck with the same side that won on penalties on Wednesday night in the Johnstone Paint Trophy at Chesterfield, which meant Till and Jarman once again spearheaded Town's attack.
Around 150 Town fans gathered on the upper part of a new open seated away end at Priestfield, with the lower half of it being closed to the paying public, and a strong wind blowing through the stadium.
Town kicked off the "wrong" way, attacking their own fans for the first period, with the prevailing wind seeming to favour them for the first 45 minutes. Despite the conditions both sides tried to pass the ball around on the ground in the early exchanges.
The first chance of the game fell to Gillingham when Bennett gave the ball away, but Gillingham failed to capitalise on the opportunity and the danger was averted.
On 16 minutes Town were given a free kick in a dangerous position just on the edge of the box. Tom Newey decided to play the ball quickly, but unfortunately the recipient Jarman seemed not to be expecting the ball and failed to make the most of it.
Gillingham and Grimsby were having an about equal amount of possession, but it was the home side who looked the more likely to score. Jarman is not the target man that his role alongside Till demands, and on 21 minutes when he broke through alone, he was unable to hold the ball up and any advantage evaporated.
On 28 minutes Town took another quick free kick, and this time Newey was the recipient. He tried to curl the ball around the Gillingham 'keeper, who managed to get a hand to it and pawed it round the post for a corner.
Barnes was then almost immediately called upon to make a good save from Jackson, and the ball went out for a Gillingham corner. The ball was whipped in from the corner and glanced in on the near post by Jackson, to give the home side the edge.
The match was fairly even in the remainder of the first half which ended 1-0 to Gillingham.
Town simply did not look like scoring and it was no surprise when Alan Buckley brought on Danny North after the break for Heslop, with Till moving back into midfield.
Gillingham almost went 2-0 up when a Weston shot was deflected off a Town defender, but Barnes managed to get down late and save it.
Peter Till then had a chance to score a great individual goal, beating five or six defenders in a mazy run, but unfortunately ended shooting straight at the Gills' 'keeper.
Danny North was then very unlucky not to equalise for Town. He spotted the 'keeper off his line, and brilliantly lobbed him from about 35 yards. The 'keeper was totally beaten and made no attempt to intercept the ball which sailed over his head and bounced into his arms off the cross bar!
Town though went two behind, when a pass to McCammon split the Town defence. The big striker's first attempt was well saved by Barnes, but he had a simple tap-in from the rebound.
Jarman was replaced by Llewellyn in the closing stages, but it could not prevent Gillingham wrapping the game up with a well struck free kick at the death.
Gillingham were not that much better than Town. The main difference between the sides was the quality of the finishing. Town had no end product at all, whereas Gillingham frequently looked threatening when they went forward.
Man of the Match was Peter Till who looked easily the best Grimsby player on the pitch. The supporting striker role suits him, but he needs a much more physical partner than Nathan Jarman. Martin Butler would be more suited to the role, if the club manage to sort out his logistical problems.
Town now have three crucial league games against the "lesser" sides in League Two: Chester, Morecambe and Barnet. They will be looking for a haul of at least six points from the three games in order to avoid getting sucked in to a relegation battle for the third successive season.
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