League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
By: Ian Townsend
MIKE Newell’s hand was forced into making changes due to injury and suspension for this afternoon’s League Two clash between The Mariners and Bury.
The afternoon was looking perfect for football after the wild weather of the past few weeks as the teams entered the arena.
With last week’s two goal hero Nathan Jarman suspended and Jamie Clarke, Robbie Stockdale, Dean Sinclair and Akpo Akpro all injured the team had a distinctly unfamiliar look:
- Town started with Barnes in goal.
- A back four of recent contract signee Bore, Atkinson, Bennett and Widdowson
- In midfield Llewellyn, Kalala, Boshell (making his 100th appearance) and Elliott
- Up front, Proudlock and Forbes.
- On the bench: Montgomery, North, Hegarty, Norminton and Heywood.
Bury included the much admired front two pairing of Bishop and Morrell as they looked to cement their place in the automatic promotion places.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Bury were the first to show as very early hesitation at the back allowed them a snap 25 yarder that Barnes was happy to see drift wide.
Then Bishop tried his luck but Barnes made a comfortable save.
At the other end good work by Kalala put Proudlock in but, although the keeper was unable to hold it, the effort was cleared from danger.
Llewellyn who’s had his share of criticism since his close season arrival from Wrexham was next to show. Picking up the ball just inside his own half, he ran for about 30 yards skipping challenges before putting in a final cross that was just too near the keeper.
It’s fair to say though that Bury were having the better of the half and Town benefited from a real let off when a ball over the top found Morrell in acres of space in the box, only for the striker to blast over the top when placement would surely have brought a reward.
Referee Woolmer was having a good game and it was an excellent piece of refereeing which saw Town take the lead somewhat against the run of play. Forbes was brought down on the right but the referee waved play on as it broke to Proudlock who, holding off the attentions of two Bury defenders, advanced before hitting a smart shot beyond the keeper on 31 minutes.
The goal signalled the start of Town’s best section of the whole game. Boshell, revelling in his recall was instrumental in getting Town going down the flanks. It was Welsh international Llewellyn however who came closest to doubling the lead when a great ball from Elliott put him in only for the keeper to make a fine finger-tip save.
Although Town were in the ascendancy there was a sense of unease amongst the faithful as to how long the Mariners could hold out. At times the defence had looked very hesitant against the strong running of the Bury midfield and forwards and one got the impression that key players like JPK would need to do better in the second half if Town were to triumph.
Half Time: Grimsby Town 1 Bury 0
The second half began with fans around the ground believing that Bury had been urged to up their game by manager Alan Knill. As early as the 50th minute Barnes had to be alert to turn away a Bishop effort.
It was beginning to look ominous for Town and the fears of the faithful were proved justified when Bury’s Bennett was able to get the better of Widdowson, caught in two minds obviously thinking about the penalty he gave away on Tuesday, got to the by-line. His cross found the unmarked Bishop who had a simple task to put the ball beyond Barnes for the equaliser.
An air of desperation was beginning to creep into Town’s play and there was a let off when only a brave block by Boshell after a good Bury run prevented them taking the lead.
Town were being systematically overrun in midfield as the misfiring JPK and company struggled to come to terms with Bury’s energy and passing ability. Llewellyn to had faded.
Newell decided to freshen things up and on 64 minutes Elliott after possibly his quietest game in a Town shirt made way for Hegarty.
Before the “Ginger Ninja” had a chance to impose himself on the game however, Town found themselves behind. As Town appealed for offside in vain Bishop hit a shot that Barnes could only parry with the rebound tucked away by striking partner Morrell, to the obvious delight of the vocal 291 visiting fans.
From that point (66 minutes) the game was, to all intents and purposes, lost. Bury had way too much experience for Town’s youngish side and despite the introduction of Danny North for Forbes, the Mariners never looked like repeating their comeback exploits of Tuesday night in London. Only Barnes’s agility prevented a third goal as he got to a thunderous shot from Morrell. The fourth official signalled four minutes of time added on as Town threw everyone forward but it was to no avail and Town tasted defeat for the seventh time in the campaign.
Six games in 21 days have taken a lot out of the team and there is a lot of hard work ahead still if the drop is to be avoided. Having said that Bury were easily the best of the top four sides to visit B.P. this season. Town’s fate lies not in games like this but in those coming up against the teams around them.
Final Score: Grimsby Town 1 Bury 2.
Man of the Match: Nobody really shone today but I’m giving it, (like the sponsors) to captain Ryan Bennett for another performance showing that Newell has made a great choice of skipper.
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