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Town Win Away
By: Rob Sedgwick
TOWN edged a close-fought encounter at Forest Green (Britain's only meat-free ground), with Michael Coulson's first half goal proving the difference between the two sides. It was their first away win of the season and their first win over 11 men.
Town defended well in a game of few chances, and although their usual problem of not creating enough in the final third was still apparent, the fact that they restricted Forest Green to just a smattering of chances meant the possibility of winning the game was there provided they took one of their own. A tenacious run by Serge Makofo created a chance out of nothing for Town and Coulson got on the end of it to score the winning goal.
Jamie Green started for Town at left back in place of Charlie I'Anson. Town also started play 4-4-2, after the recent unsuccessful 4-3-3 experiment, with Makofo starting on the wing in place of Church. The third change was up front with Spencer getting the nod over Duffy to play alongside Hearn.
The opening 10 minutes were fairly uneventful and the first chance of game came on 12 minutes. Town won a free kick and the ball eventually ended up with Makofo, who turned a fired a dangerous looking cross-shot along the line, which Hearn got a head on to but it went wide.
Town were handed a gilt-edged chance on 25 minutes when a weak header back to the 'keeper was intercepted by Spencer, making his first start for Town. With just the 'keeper to beat he failed to even make the target, his shot flashing past the goal and wide.
Just before half time a harsh handball decision went against Town to the anger of their players and supporters. The set piece came to nothing and Town quickly broke. Makofo initially looked second best to get to a long ball played out wide, but his pace and tenacity allowed him to beat his defender and when the keeper came out Makofo managed to get past him as well. Still in a wide position and with defenders getting back there was still a lot to do, and Makofo's shot was cleared off the line, However it fell to Coulson who picked his spot to give the Mariners the lead going into the break.
Just before half time Norwood appeared to kick out at Bradley Wood off the ball. The referee had his back to the incident and received little help from his linesman (the same one who had awarded the harsh hand ball immediately prior to the goal), and Norwood got away with a yellow card.
McKeown was called into action early in the second half. He first made a reflex save with his feet and then had to be on hand to save the follow up.
FGR started at this point to dominate the match and Town struggled to get the ball out of their own half. However their main threat seemed to come from a few set pieces which Town were forced to conceded. From one of these the ball went over the top of Town's defence and fell to Norwood in a good position but he was not expecting to get the ball and fluffed a good opportunity.
Duffy came on for Spencer, then Elding and Eagle were introduced, but Town still had to defend most of the time.
Grimsby managed to negotiate a nervous last few minutes, then conceded a free kick on the stroke of full time in a dangerous position. Fortunately the initial shot came to nothing and the final whistle blew almost straight away to send over 200 away fans home happy.
Grimsby defended well with McKeown looking solid behind a back four who worked hard and denied FGR many chances. Town look better playing with two wide players in a 4-4-2 system, and Artus has a good game in midfield. Once again their moves tend to break down in the final third, and other than a chance which fell to Spencer from a defensive mistake there were few openings for the forwards, any of whom have yet to score this season.
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