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Rochdale 4 Grimsby 1
By: Rob Sedgwick
LEAGUE leaders Rochdale ended up comfortable winners at Spotland today despite the presence of over one thousand Town supporters cheering Grimsby on. Two soft goals within three first half minutes set the scene, and Town's only reply came just before the break to make the score 3-1.
There was some improvement in the second half, but Town still looked vulnerable at the back and it was no surprise when Dale sealed game, set and match with Chris Dagnall's hat trick in the last minute of normal time.
The only consolation for the Mariners was all their main relegation rivals lost, with the exception of Darlington who are all but consigned to Blue Square football next season.
Chambers started up front which meant Akpro played on the right, with Jamie Devitt dropping out with an injury. Neil Woods elected to play fit again Olly Lancashire on the bench meaning Jude Stirling kept his place.
On 17 minutes the unchallenged Thompson, who Town had earlier failed to pick up at corners, headed in a Toner cross to give Rochdale the lead.
Two minutes later Stirling hesitated on the edge of the box Dagnall nipped in to give Rochdale a second goal and virtually condemn Town to rely on other results.
Town continued to be put under the cosh and the Mariners continued to look vulnerable at corners. But Rochdale scored their third goal from open play when the front two combined and Dagnall finished well for his second.
On the stroke of half time Town grabbed a goal back against the run of play. A Sweeney free kick was helped on by Peacock and Akpro, before eventually falling to goal poacher Chambers who finished from close range for the second match running.
Early in the second half Akpro went close with a spectacular overhead kick from a Stirling long throw which just went over.
With Rochdale looking comfortable Akpro then set up Coulson who forced a good save out of Fielding.
In the last minute of normal time a slip by Atkinson allowed Dagnall to roll the ball round the 'keeper for a hat trick.
Town's next game is against in-form Northampton at Blundell Park on Good Friday, with three points being almost essential if the Mariners are to avoid the drop.
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