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Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
|Hearn : MOM|
By: Rob Sedgwick
LIAM Hearn returned to the Grimsby side in spectacular fashion after his recent illness. Town's marksman overturned a 1-0 half time deficit to his former club Alfreton with a four goal Pontoon blitz in the second half.
Also in a frenetic second period Alfreton had two players sent off for violent conduct, Nathan Jarman scored a consolation penalty to make the score 4-2 with seconds left, but just enough time for Anthony Elding to find the net himself and salute the Pontoon with the Imperial Corner corner flag.
It was a stunning goal fest with Town chalking up 17 shots on target, and an additional 8 off target. Alfreton in contrast had just 7 shots on goal and won a solitary corner. Had the Mariners been more ruthless in front of goal they could easily have managed double figures.
Town made two changes from the side which came away with a last gasp point at Kidderminster. Hearn started in place of midfielder Frankie Artus, reflecting the Mariners' change of formation from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2. The other change saw Wood replace I'Anson at right back after returning from a one match suspension.
Town quickly created the first chance in the opening minute, Hearn racing through the centre of the pitch, and passing to Makofo to his left hand side. However Makofo slightly delayed his shot and it was charged down.
The Mariners had a scare at the other end a couple of minutes later. Grimsby lost the ball on the edge of the box and it eventually fell to Broughton in a good position but he scuffed his shot and it went tamely wide.
On 8 minutes Disley picked out Makofo wide on the right. The winger had a lot to do, but managed to wriggle his way past two defenders and burst through into the box, but he skewed a feeble shot wide of the post.
Alfreton drew first blood on 18 minutes. Jarman split the Town defence with a ball through to Clayton, who just had the 'keeper in his sights. Clayton calmly slid the ball past McKeown and celebrated in front of a silenced Pontoon (normal service soon resumed from the drummer and his entourage however).
A strong challenge by Coulson won the ball for Town on 23 and he quickly passed to Hearn who shot first time, the 'keeper theatrically tipping the ball over for a corner.
Town continued to press forward but struggled to beat a resolute Alfreton defence who won most of the long balls which Grimsby kept pumping forward. Town looked far more dangerous when they tried to use their wide players Makofo and Coulson.
Alfreton did threaten on the break. In one attack McKeown pawed away a long looping shot which was heading towards the top corner. Unfortunately it landed at the feet of Broughton about one yard from goal, but he didn't react in time and it bounced off him for a goal kick.
No changes were made at half time and after a quiet first 10 minutes the game came to life. Coulson fired a terrific cross into the Pontoon goal, which was met by Duffy's head and rebounded back to him. Duffy fired it back, the ball was saved by the 'keeper and bounced out to Hearn, who managed to keep the ball down and fire it into the net.
Almost straight away Town were ahead. Duffy and Hearn combined, and Hearn beat the offside trap to go clean through on goal, making no mistake with his finish.
Town suddenly began stroking the ball around with a swagger and purpose which has been sadly absent in recent times. Makofo made yet another of his trademark runs, skipping past defenders, and he looked certain to beat the 'keeper, but Lowson managed to get something on it and block the Congolese's shot.
Lowson however was responsible for Town's third and Hearn's hat trick. Hearn fired a low shot to Lowson's right which appeared to squeeze under his body and into the net.
Ellison was then shown a red card for an elbow on Wood on 75, which gave Town a virtually impregnable position with a two goal margin.
Pearson almost added a fourth with a header from a corner, but the next action saw another Alfreton player sent off for use of an elbow.
With Town now able to completely relax and enjoy themselves Hearn added a fourth with a shot from a narrow angle which he bent round the 'keeper.
Alfreton were then awarded a penalty for a trip on Moult right on the corner of the box near the goal line, a decision which was neither celebrated by the Alfreton fans at that end, nor contested by anyone in the Town stands. Jarman stepped up and took the spot kick, to almost total silence around the ground.
Everyone thought that was that and the crowd started streaming out. However there was a final moment of celebration when Coulson's shot was saved but bounced into the path of Elding, who headed it into the vacant goal. Elding celebrated by hoisting the corner flag into the air and saluting the Town fans in the Pontoon making their way out of the ground.
The sendings off helped but this match was won long before the first red card was shown. Hearn was exceptional, but special mention much also go to Coulson, Makofo and Duffy for their roles in a much improved second half display.
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