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Season Review: Part Three
By: Sam Kinnaird
"There’s no panic," bellowed Town boss Alan Buckley as we entered September, frantically searching everywhere for points that had so far eluded us in the new season. The Mariners travelled the short distance to Chesterfield in the First Round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on a bitterly cold evening. Nathan Jarman and a late Danny North goal sent the game straight to penalties, which Town won 4-1 with Llewelyn, North, Newey and Jarman all dispatching theirs with ease.
Business as usual in the league though as promotion favourites Gillingham gave Town a lesson in finishing with a fine 3-0 win in a game many argued Town had the better of. The following week, strugglers Chester arrived at Blundell Park also desperate for points after conceding 11 goals in their first two game and achieving only four points so far. An alarmingly bad performance from the Mariners saw Chester run out 3-1 winners. A hat-trick from striker Kevin Ellison won the game for City; only a Danny North consolation gave anything for the Town fans to shout about. The only thing they could shout for was the head of manager Alan Buckley. Chairman John Fenty responded by giving them just that in the following days.
Stuart Watkiss would take temporary control of the struggling Mariners side and immediately added to his squad with the signing of Ipswich midfielder Liam Trotter on a month's loan. He stepped straight into the first team and looked at home as Town earned a 1-1 draw at Morecambe. Only a late Morecambe equaliser prevented Town leaving with all three points in a game they dominated and Watkiss did his hopes for the manager’s job no harm with the point.
Doncaster striker Tomi Ameobi and ‘pacy’ wide man Malvin Kamara signed on loan from Huddersfield Town as Watkiss again boosted his numbers for the visit of Barnet in the League. The search for a new manager continued, as Fenty looked high and low for someone who could drag the Mariners out of the mire. Experience, passion, know-how and good motivation were all attributes demanded by the Town message boards. Steve Cotterill, Richard O’Kelly and Andy Richie were all touted as possible men for the hot seat. "In the interests of the club, and in order to unite the club, players and fans, the board confirms, that this managerial post will be an external appointment," explained a club statement.
Barnet at home then, a perfect game for Town to earn their first win of the season over a struggling side who had a shocking record against the Mariners. It didn't turn out as planned, a poor Barnet side left with a 1-0 win thanks to a Neal Bishop strike on half-time. John Fenty announced that eight candidates were being interviewed for the manager’s job, he knew he had to pull something out of the bag here. But who would the new manager be, and would Town finally earn a win in October, all will be revealed...
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