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Chambers Ends Horror Show

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 20/03/2010 (Last updated: 22/03/2010)

GRIMSBY gave their management, players and supporters a big dose of hope this afternoon after the Mariners scored a late winner to grab three vital points against promotion contenders Bournemouth. Town had led twice only to concede two soft goals, before sub Ashley Chambers popped up in injury time to claim all three points.

It was the second successive win for Grimsby at Blundell Park, and with Cheltenham only drawing and Torquay losing it reduces the gap at the bottom of the table to four points and a few goals.

New signing Jude Stirling, on loan from MK Dons, made his debut after a training ground injury to Linwood reduced Neil Woods's central defensive options. Midfielders Sweeney, Devitt and Sinclair all returned after missing the draw at Morecambe with various injuries.

Bournemouth made Town kick the "wrong" way in the rainy conditions, which meant they were attacking the Pontoon in the first half, with the visitors playing towards their paltry collection of around 100 supporters.

Town got off to a great start and Bournemouth barely got out of their half for the first ten minutes. Grimsby were using the full width of the pitch and getting dangerous looking crosses into the box from both flanks.

New signing Jude Stirling caused more excitement in the play resulting from his first long throw into the penalty area than there has been in whole halves this season, but after a few ricochets and attempted clearances the danger for the Cherries passed.

On 20 minutes Akpro broke into the box but failed to capitalise on the chance. A few minutes later though he went one better from a similar opening. The pacy striker burst into the box, took a couple of touches before shooting, and forced a good save from the 'keeper. However Devitt was on hand to tap the follow up in from close range.

Another long throw by Stirling fell to Rob Atkinson on the near post and his quick flick forced a good save from the 'keeper low down at the base of the woodwork.

Bournemouth forced a series of corners around the 30-40 minute mark, the first few of which Town were not especially troubled by. They did however vary their routine to keep the Mariners' defence on its toes, and around the sixth corner there was a major defensive lapse when Bradbury was left completely unmarked in the six yard box and levelled from close range to make the score 1-1.

It was a bitter blow which saw a half which Town had dominated end 1-1.

Half Time: Grimsby 1 Bournemouth 1

Town went desperately close to scoring just after the break. Coulson played a terrific long ball to Devitt on the wide right who whipped in a cross which just eluded Peacock and Akpro managed to get on the end of it, but from a narrow angle, from which he could only hit the side netting (a few deluded souls in the Findus thought momentarily it was a goal).

A few minutes later though Town had gone one better. Coulson headed in a corner from close range in a similar fashion to Grimsby's first goal and Bournemouth will probably complain about the marking.

Within seconds though a truly calamitous moment took place. Bournemouth's Feeney struck the ball from the edge of the box and it should have been a comfortable save for Colgan. The six yard box by this stage was very muddy and Colgan misjudged the flight of the ball as it came into the box and it slipped through his hands. There initially seemed to be time to rescue the ball before it crept over the line as Colgan had taken most of the pace off it. However, like a snooker ball with top spin on it, it seemed to gain momentum as it headed towards the goal and by the time Colgan had grasped it, there was no doubt that it had gone over the Pontoon goal and Town had shot themselves in the foot once again. The Pontoon, still celebrating the second goal, was literally speechless as the horror show unfolded in slow motion before it.

For once though the crowd seemed to shrug aside this latest blow and reacted positively to this set back, cheering the players on, rather than shouting at them. Town's players responded likewise and pressed forward for the winner they needed.

The referee soon gave them a big helping hand though when he sent off the Bournemouth substitute Goudling just seconds after coming on. The ref showed him a straight red card for use of the elbow against Peacock. He'd been on the pitch such a short time his kit didn't even need washing.

Town have been a man up several times this season but have never managed to beat ten men. They had a number of half chances, but their shots and headers went high and wide (with a sublime chip from Peter Sweeney being the highlight) until the game had just passed the 90 minute mark. Then up popped substitute Ashley Chambers to turn and slot the ball home from close range following a corner. 95% of the ground went mental as the goal meant the Mariners would probably live to fight another day.

Grimsby had to survive four minutes of injury time, which must have been more like six because of extensive time wasting by the Mariners. The most relived man in the ground at the end must have been Town 'keeper Nick Colgan who saluted the Pontoon with an apologetic wave come the final whistle.

Full Time: Grimsby 3 Bournemouth 2

Hopefully all those people who left in the last 5 minutes of normal time are gutted that they missed one of the highlights of the season. You deserve it each and every one of you for giving up on Town when they were a man up!

Town were the best team and deserved to win. They created plenty of chances for a change and outclassed one of the best sides in the division. Akpro was a handful for the Bournemouth defence, the wide players Devitt and Coulson very dangerous. Stirling's long throws added a new option in attack, and he looked a solid enough defender. But Man of the Match was once again Peter Bore who not only looked comfortable on the ball in defence, and was willing and able to pass his way out of danger, but also was one of Town's best players going forward and delivered some telling crosses into the box. The only minus point really was the two goals, but with a new defender making his debut, they probably have an excuse for at least one.

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