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Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY failed to make the most of having an extra man for most of the second half against Northampton, and in the end were relieved to have gained a point. The referee eventually reduced both sides to ten men, harshly sending off Rob Atkinson for a late tackle.
Overall though the Mariners had very little to show for their efforts, having created very few chances throughout the game. Ironically they left the best to last and could have stolen all three points when Danny North failed to convert by far their best chance in injury time at the end of the game.
In truth Northampton could have had the game wrapped up at half time. The corpulent Adebayo Akinfenwa missed three golden chances to give his side the lead, and the Mariners only had his profligacy in front of goal to thank for them going in level at the break. In contrast Town had failed to generate a chance in a dire first half.
Town arrived late at the Sixfields in part because of the atrocious weather sweeping across the country. Neil Woods was the first Grimsby manager this season who was able to name an unchanged side from the one which started at Leeds on Tuesday night. It was also the first game for a couple of months in which nobody was suspended.
Northampton should have taken the lead twice in the opening 20 minutes. Guinan missed an early chance for the Cobblers when Rob Atkinson gave the ball away in his only penalty area, and the former Cheltenham striker shot wide in the ensuing scramble.
On 20 minutes Town found themselves out of position and Gilligan raced past Sweeney who was in the left back position, got to the bye line and cross to Akinfenwa who headed wide from close range to the derision of the 300 Town fans behind the goal.
Town's only chance of the first half came on 20 minutes, but Shahin missed the ball completely after a Northampton mistake presented the ball to him on the left hand side of the penalty area, and the chance went begging.
Around the half hour mark Akinfenwa missed an even easier chance. A horrendous backpass by a Town player (sorry not sure which one) fell short and Akinfenwa intercepted it. Colgan forced him wide, but his shot was so feeble it lacked even the strength to get over the line, had not two Town defenders raced back to cover the gaping net.
In the dying embers of the first half Akinfenwa had another header saved by Colgan, which was then cleared off the line by the Town defence.
Half Time: Northampton 0 Grimsby 0
The only good thing about the game was the scoreline. Had Northampton taken their chances Town would have been out of it by now. Grimsby had failed to create anything of note in the entire 45 minutes, and were not playing well.
Early in the second half North was put through and his pace took him past Gilbert, the last defender. Gilbert made a desperate lunge to try and save the situation, and brought North down. The sending off was a formality once the foul had been given, as North would have been clean through on goal.
The sending off caused the game to be more open and Town initially had more possession, but had very little to show for their efforts. The away contingent became increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress.
Town's best chance of this period fell to Leary, whose shot appeared to strike a Northampton hand, but nothing was given by the referee, who made several bizarre decisions in the second half.
The Cobblers' confidence grew as they realised they were still a match for Town with ten men and Colgan made a fingertip save to deny Guinan from a free kick.
Town's chances of winning the game effectively ended when Rob Atkinson was shown a straight red card for a more or less routine challenge which looked late but not malicious, and for which the ref made no allowance of the difficult conditions.
Northampton surged forward in the dying minutes and Lancashire had to save Town on a number of occasions with some late challenges.
But Grimsby almost had the last laugh in injury time. Northampton had so many players forward that Town were able to break with a three on two attack. Sweeney and McCrory linked up and did the right thing playing the ball through to Danny North, the third of the trio. North's first touch wasn't the best, but he still had time and space to do something. He decided not to go round the 'keeper but to shoot from the edge of the box, and his effort went just past the top corner.
Full time: Northampton 0 Grimsby 0
It was definitely a point gained, and probably one that most fans would have settled for beforehand. It was also the last game of Neil Woods's caretaker spell. Town have definitely changed their playing style under Woods to a more passing game, but it has to be said it has not been any more effective than the way Grimsby were playing in the Newell part of the season. Our confidence is still low and nobody looks either comfortable on the ball, or seems to want it in the first place a lot of the time. It has to be said as well that once again we look like we could play all day and hardly create a chance.
Man of the Match in this game goes to Oliver Lancashire, who was a real rock at the back, and saved Town's bacon on a number of occasions.
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