League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
|Up the Mariners!|
By: Rob Sedgwick
POOR finishing by the Mariners in the second half cost them the draw that their overall play probably deserved. Rochdale had had the better of the opening period and gone a goal up. It was Dale though who struck the killer blow when they added a second five minutes from time.
The result meant that the Mariners dropped in the bottom two first the first time this season, and Town therefore will be under increasing psychological pressure to start picking up points soon and fast.
Injuries and suspensions meant once more Mike Newell was forced to field a totally changed side, with no less than three players making their first ever appearance for the Mariners. New loanees Josh Magennis and Arnaud Mendy both made their debuts up front and in central midfield respectively. Jammal Shahin, who had never been in contention for a first team place before, played his first senior game on the right wing.
Adrian Forbes had an early half chance for Town. Peter Bore picked him out on the edge of the box, and Forbes turned and shot, striking the ball just wide.
The warning signs were there though early on when Rochdale's Gary Jones was allowed loads of space to advance on goal at will. His shot though was wide of the target.
On 20 minutes Rochdale broke from a Town set piece, and the home crowd were furious when no offside was given. Fortunately Dale failed to make the most of a promising attack and Town got away with it.
Dale did not take long to make amends though. Rundle received the ball outside the penalty area, and three Town defenders attempted to intercept him. He skipped past each defender in turn, trying to get the ball into a shooting position. When he finally had the goal in his sights he slotted past Colgan with ease.
Akpro had a promising run at the defence on the half hour mark, beating several players. As so often though he failed with the final ball, his cross/shot being easily saved by the 'keeper at his near post.
Rochdale looked good value for their lead at this stage, but Town responded strongly in the last ten minutes of the first half, with a number of dangerous free kicks and corners at the Osmond end of the ground. One Sweeney free kick in particular eventually came back out to Town's playmaker. He crossed the ball back in to Magennis at the far post, but the Cardiff loanee sent his header across the face of the goal and wide.
Forbes and young Bradley Wood both had late chances for Town, and the home side were applauded in at the break despite being a goal down.
Half Time: Grimsby 0 Rochdale 1. Town had not started well, and looked very shaky at the back when Rochdale were in possession. Grimsby had been second to too many balls. They had though come back strongly and looked capable of getting at least an equaliser in the second half.
No changes were made at half time, but Town continued to make most of the play. Magennis had a fantastic early chance from a corner in front of the Pontoon, but missed the ball completely and Linwood's follow up lack the power to trouble the 'keeper.
Akpro was Town's danger man when he had the ball at his feet and ran at defenders, and he opened the defence right up with a great turn on 55 minutes, crossing the ball to Sweeney whose header went just wide.
Town continued to have most of the possession but could not make a breakthrough and Mike Newell decided to bring on Jamie Clarke at right back, allowing Bore to move up the field into his usual position.
Magennis had his best chance of all with about 10 minutes to go. Peter Bore created some space for himself with a great run and picked up Magennis, who blasted over from close range.
With everyone cursing his profligacy Dale went down the other end and scored with a deflected shot from O'Grady.
Town had a mountain to climb with a few minutes to go and never got past the foothills.
Full Time: Grimsby 0 Rochdale 2
It was a frustrating match, and on another day Magennis could have had a hat trick. Grimsby had lost, but Colgan had barely a save to make. In fact neither 'keeper had much work to do as all Grimsby's chances fell wide of the target.
Town's general play was not great. They played a lot of long aerial balls out of defence, but Rochdale gobbled these up and won virtually everything in the air. When Grimsby did play to feet Bore, Akpro and on occasions Shahin managed to create chances for Town.
Confidence is evidently not high. When we do manage to get a cross in there's frequently nobody there to receive it, presumably because most of the other players are expecting it to not arrive. Likewise the team are just not helping one out enough, not making themselves available when other players are in a tight position.
Although once again decimated by injuries you do get the feeling that this squad of players could do a lot better than they are actually achieving. Oh to have a settled side for three or four games to see what we're really capable of.
None of the new players was fantastic. Magennis improved as the game went on, but failed to take his chances. Shahin looked a bit small but on occasions looked useful coming forward. Mendy in midfield failed to stand out for me, and I didn't really notice him much to be honest.
Man of the match though once again was Bradley Wood playing on the wrong side at left back. He looks like he cares, he is a good tackler, has good anticipation and comfortable with the ball at his feet.Has long attacking throw-ins are also a valuable weapon.
Bore also deserves a creditable mention. He filled in adequetely at right back today and looked good going forward.
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