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Season Review: Part Six
By: Sam Kinnaird
Date: 02/06/2009 (Last updated: 27/05/2009)
DECEMBER started with the strong rumours of former Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler moving to the Mariners on a short-term deal. The rumours became so strong that Chairman John Fenty felt it necessary to come out in the media and publicly announce the club’s position on the matter. Fenty said: "He is now waiting for Blackburn to clarify their position. He is under contract there until December. There is a real chance, and logically it is likely to happen this way, in that he gets a contract extension at Blackburn. If this doesn't happen, there is a glimmer of a chance that he might come to Grimsby."
With that cleared up, Town headed west to Port Vale for a game against a side not many places above them in the table and struggling for results. Port Vale took the lead in the first half through Marc Richards against the run of play. But Town fought their way back into the game and were rewarded when Adam Proudlock’s diving header on 85 minutes brought his first goal for the club. The Town fans’ surely felt that the game would end in a draw, but it was snatched away from them when young striker Simon Richman raced clear to score the winner at the death. Heartbreak for the Mariners.
Mike Newell announced the signing of Ivorian striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro after a successful trial period. "His attitude has been fantastic", the boss explained.
Akpro was thrust straight into first team action against Shrewsbury at Blundell Park, who were massive favourites against a struggling Town side. But Town turned the game on its head when Adam Proudlock fired home in the 53rd minute, a much deserved three points against a fine Shrewsbury side. A disappointing crowd of only 3,283 saw the game, a figure that Chairman John Fenty was hoping to improve in the upcoming home games against Notts County and Rotherham.
Next up in the league was a trip to Aldershot, who had been promoted the previous season. Like their fellow promotes Exeter, Aldershot were finding life in League Two much less tough than many had expected. An early JP Kalala strike followed by a Nick Hegarty goal gave Grimsby a deserved 2-0 lead going into the break. But two questionable penalty decisions against Richard Hope left Scott Davies to bury them both and the match finished in a 2-2 draw.
Another lead had been thrown away, but Town’s Boxing Day visitors Notts County would be a game that, on paper might just be a home win. It wasn’t to be, as a Delroy Facey tap-in just before half time left County to take all three points from Blundell Park in front of a bumper 5,432 crowd.
It was announced that former Reading and Yeovil defender Curtis Utah had not done enough to earn a contract in his trial with the Mariners. The highly rated centre-half had been linked with a contract at Blundell Park.
On-loan Blackburn striker Jamie Clarke was the star of the show with a thumping hat-trick against Town in the 3-1 loss at Accrington. The young frontman netted three times after Adam Proudlock’s fortunate equaliser, it extended Town’s shocking record at the Crown Ground in recent seasons.
December ended with Grimsby only picking up four points, a disappointing return in five games of which four were against sides in the bottom half of the table. Manager Mike Newell announced that he was looking to strengthen the squad in the upcoming January transfer window. He also stated his intention to extend the loans of Rob Atkinson, JP Kalala and Adam Proudlock until the end of the season at least.
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