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No festive cheer for the Mariners
By: Jonathan Bell
A Jamie Clarke hat-trick for the ‘Red Army’ summed up Grimsby’s year as they were beaten in Lancashire. Blue skies and a change in personnel welcomed the Grimsby faithful to the Fraser Eagle stadium as the Mariners looked for some festive cheer to end their year.
James Hunt and Nathan Jarman came in for Richard Hope and Danny Boshell with Peter Bore replacing Robbie Stockdale as he did against Notts County on Boxing Day as Newell stuck to his 4-4-2 formation.
The match began with Town kicking towards the few hundred travelling fans but it was a rather tentative start from the boys, who were playing in the blue third kit.
Mullin and Clarke for Accrington caused early problems to the back line and there was a barrage of corners in the opening minutes for the home side. Clarke forced a decent save off Barnes as Grimsby held strong.
Eventually Town found their feet and Proudlock set Jarman down the left but his pull back came to nothing. It was down the left where Town this time felt they should've had a penalty.
Grimsby’s Jamie Clarke jinked passed three Stanley defenders as he cut inside from the right before laying it off for Jarman who played it into the box for the over-lapping Hegarty to chase. He got there before the defender and as he knocked the ball past the Stanley player, the makeshift left-back was (rather blatantly) brought down with a sliding challenge. Play on was the call, much to the dismay of the players, staff and supporters.
As the game opened up it was time for the first goal. Accrington won possession in the middle of the park and as the ball was spread left Peter Bore was left two-on-one, he went towards the ball and it was played past him to the marauding full-back who centred the ball and Jamie Clarke fired home clinically to give the home side the lead.
Town seemed stunned and were unable to win or keep the ball until a defensive blunder brought the Mariners level. A hopeful punt forward caused disarray between the centre-halves as they tried to shield the ball from Proudlock on the edge of the area and as the ball was touched back to the ‘keeper Dunbavin clumsily let the ball bounce off him to the onrushing Proudlock who needed no second invitation to lift the ball over him and into the net.
The boys were lifted and Akpro burst into life hitting the crossbar with a sweet left-footed effort from the edge of the area. Moments later he showed some skill Robinho would've been proud of with a sexy flick to Jarman, which ultimately ended in nothing but it brought a cheer from the away fans on the terrace.
Shortly before the break Accrington nearly retook the lead with a thunderous effort from outside the area which was tipped onto the post by Barnes before it span back only to go out for a corner.
There was time for one more chance before the interval as Kalala brought the ball down in the Stanley box only for his goal-bound effort to hit a desperate defender.
As the whistle went for half-time the visiting fans were in good spirits and with some of the football on offer towards the back-end of the half it looked like we could go on to win the game. Hegarty had been denied one of the most blatant penalties you're ever likely to see, Akpro hit the bar and Kalala also nearly found the net.
The following 45 minutes was rather predictable.
The second half was rather less entertaining but started relatively brightly with efforts from Hegarty and Jarman. Then came Accrington’s second. As Clarke held the ball up Kalala came in snapping at his heels but as he held off that challenge Hegarty, who had a good game other than this error, dove in and as Clarke skipped past the challenge he ran in from the right side of the box to slam the ball beyond Barnes.
Minutes later Mullin volleyed in a cross from the left only for the linesman to disallow the goal for offside.
Town tried to get back into the game, Bore had a nice run down the right and Kalala went close with a long range effort but it was all in vein. As we got rather restless in the away end Clarke and Hunt were replaced by Till and Boshell in an attempt to raise a rather flat game.
Till did his best with a great cross to the back stick but Akpro, who had more time than he knew what to do with, brought it down and hit it straight at the ‘keeper.
But if there was to be another goal in the game it was going to come in front of the travelling faithful. Shambolic defending in the Town box saw Mullin clear only for Barnes to keep Grimsby in it with a brilliant save.
There was to be another goal, and it went to Accrington. Danger man Clarke turned Bennett far too easily and tucked it confidently past Barnes.
Overall, it was a poor game and we were beaten thanks to poor errors at the back. On another day it could've gone so differently but as so often this season we came with nothing and left with nothing.
MOM - Kalala - his range of passing and ability to tackle shows how much better he is than any other player in our squad. Hardly lost the ball and sprayed it around well.
Hegarty and Bore did a good job at full back, Bennett and Atkinson were steady for most of the match, Kalala and Hunt were good in the middle of the park and the front two tried hard.
Wingers are needed, but we already new that.
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