Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
It's not Cricket
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY Town were this afternoon outfought and outplayed by big-spending Fleetwood at Blundell Park. In a game of few chances, it was the Cod Army who carved out the best of the openings, and their superior finishing power saw them over the line.
The Mariners, for all their possession, found it difficult to penetrate the visitors' defence and the closest they came to scoring was when the ball was cleared off the line in the second half.
Grimsby have now lost all three games they have played against Fleetwood and go on to face two tricky long distance away fixtures at Braintree and Newport in their quest for the first point of the season.
Five Town players made their debuts in the first fixture of the campaign and Grimsby started off nervously, taking ten or so minutes to settle into the game.
Fleetwood came closest to scoring midway through the first half when McKeown tipped the ball over his bar from a cross-shot by right-back Matthew Silk and, from the resulting corner, Coulson cleared the ball off the line.
The Mariners had an injury blow just before half time when full back Gary Silk was replaced by Bradley Wood after he failed to run off an earlier knock.
After the break a piece of skill from Mangan left Garner for dead and he advanced on goal, curling the ball past the 'keeper from a narrow angle.
The game then entered a fairly ugly phase with the home crowd and players getting frustrated with the gamemanship of Fleetwood. The referee seemed to lose control of the game and was fairly lenient with the chief culprits.
The frustration eventually came to a head when Town's Wood accused Brodie of play acting and grabbed him off the ground where he was pretending to be injured. The ref took no action with Brodie and booked Wood. From thereon in Brodie was public enemy no 1, and he milked the role with more histrionics whenever a Town body went near him.
Makofo had a shot tipped over for a corner but Town never really looked like scoring. A Frankie Artus cross/shot was cleared off the line, and a section of the crowd thought Town had scored when a Garner overhead kick saw the ball land on the roof of the net, but it was the visitors who added to their lead with another clinical breakaway.
The pantomime villain Brodie broke through a tired Town defence and picked out Donnelly who goaded the Pontoon shortly after tapping in the second.
Full Time: Grimsby 0 Fleetwood 2
There will no doubts be complaints about Fleetwood and their gamemanship (they really are the new Crawley in that they will win few friends), but unfortunately it is all part of the modern day game - the cricket season (or at least the part of it we football fans bother with) is over. There are no prizes in football for sportsmanship.
The Cod Army had two good breakaway chances and they scored from both of them. Town's defence though made mistakes on both occasions the Cod Army scored. Fleetwood on occasions did look vulnerable at the back but Town never made the most of the half chances that might have arisen.
The most creative players were Town's wingers Coulson and Makofo, and the latter gets my nod as Man of the Match. Hopefully against lesser defences Town's attacking fire power will be more evident.
Losing one game to Fleetwood is not the end of the world, but if the aim of the Mariners is to be the best team in the league (Town ironically are now bottom of the embryonic table) then they have a long way to go on this showing before they can even claim to be contenders for the title.
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