Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Ian Townsend
GRIMSBY Town arrived at Saltergate for the Wednesday night fixture with "local" rivals Chesterfield buoyed by the knowledge of exactly what they needed to do to get out of the dreaded relegation places courtesy of their fellow relegation candidates playing the night before.
It was an attack-minded team and bench that Mike Newell selected as the Town manager sought to build on Saturday's excellent 5-1 win.
The manager was forced into one change as Joe Widdowson replaced the recently departed Stuart Elliott and Town lined up as follows:
Atkinson, Bennett, Newey,
Clarke, Kalala, Boshell, Hegarty, Widdowson
On the bench: Montgomery, Bore, Llewellyn, Forbes, Jarman.
Backed by a decent following Town started quite positively and within the first five minutes the blossoming partnership between Proudlock and Akpro nearly paid further dividends as a desperate block from a Spireites defender prevented the latter's goal bound effort from causing real damage after a great flick from Proudlock.
After an effort from Boshell (and for Chesterfield Jack Lester's first warning that Town ignored him at their peril when he curled a shot over the bar much to the relief of the Town fans in the open end). Nick Hegarty found himself with time and space in the box. However the "Ginger Ninja" snatched at his shot hurriedly and the ball went well wide.
Without really creating a great deal Town looked comfortable for the first 20 minutes or so. Henderson had had very little to do with Town's mobile back three sweeping up much of any danger.
As the game progressed however Chesterfield seemed to find their feet and alarm bells rang for Town as, after a great dummy by Lester, Lowry somehow contrived to scoop his shot over the bar from no more than six yards with the Town defence nowhere.
As the game moved towards half time Town allowed their hosts more of the ball. After 38 minutes the move of the match saw a thunderous drive from about 18 yards from Jack Lester come back off the inside of the far upright with only an excellent block by Clarke preventing an opening score with Henderson in difficulty.
This seemed to spur on the Mariners and a flurry of corners without anyone being able to apply a finishing touch signified the end of a pretty even first half.
HALF TIME Chesterfield 0 Grimsby Town 0
Town began the second half much as they'd finished the first. A great pass long from Boshell was expertly controlled by Akpro but his cross was just too long for Proudlock to get to.
A couple of corners in quick succession ended in the unfortunate Boshell getting in the way of a rasping 20 yard effort from Kalala deflecting the ball harmlessly for a goal kick.
This seemed to spur Chesterfield into action as the pushed forward in numbers. Town's passing which had been good in the first half started to stutter with Newey in particular guilty of some aimless punts up the field.
This allowed Chesterfield to take command of the middle of the park. The Town faithful were becoming uneasy, with just cause, as, on 56 minutes Chesterfield opened the scoring. Kalala gave the ball away midway in Town's half and it ultimately found it's way through to Talbot who chipped Henderson, who was in absolute "no-mans land" and into the net off the underside of the bar.
The goal rocked Town and they reverted to the annoyingly negative long balls out of defence to no-one in particular. Chesterfield sensing a win brought on Niven as they went for Town's exposed jugular.
It was nearly two-nil as only a last gasp tackle by the impressive Bennett prevented Gritton after he'd been put in by a clever Lester ball.
Town had another let off when Newey conceded a poor free kick which was headed against the post. Fortunately referee Howard Webb who was having a decent game had spotted an infringement.
Town had a brief glimpse as Akpro found Proudlock after a good turn. Unfortunately Saturday's hero lost his footing and the moment was gone.
Mike Newell had seen enough and made his first substitution of the night with Forbes replacing the almost criminally under serviced Proudlock, and, with 15 minutes to go gave Chris Llewellyn the chance to continue the reasonable form he'd shown before his sending off.
However, the plans were sent straight back to the drawing board as (in so many cases this season) Town conceded a second goal. The enigma that is Tom Newey made a fine intervention to stop a threatening Chesterfield move but then inexplicably gave the ball away to Lester who eased a sideways pass to Niven who blasted home an unstoppable shot from all of 25 yards for a second goal.
The Town fans feared the worst but, within a minute Town were back in it. A Boshell corner eventually found its way to Bennett who shot home through a gaggle of players.
Town piled on some pressure but woeful finishing from Clarke who sliced well wide from a good position and a slow reaction from Hegarty increased the frustration.
A last throw of the die saw Jarman come on for the last couple of minutes and the combatative midfielder was fortunate to make the return journey after a petulant kick which resulted in a yellow card.
As is often the case with Town the opposition were able to see out injury time without further threat and the final whistle blew on yet another depressing 90 minutes.
FINAL SCORE: Chesterfield 2 Grimsby Town 1
If Town are going to escape from this nightmare they are going to have to maintain the effort shown against Lincoln in every game. Tonight there were too many players who wanted to hide when the going got a bit tough. It seems inconceivable that they don't yet realise they are fighting for their football careers.
Man of the Match: An easy decision for me. Danny Boshell was head and shoulders above the rest of the midfield and could consider himself a bit unfortunate not to get a penalty when he looked to have been fouled after another surging run. His corners offered real opportunities and his general attitude was up for the fight ahead.
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