Question of the Week
Where does the team most need strengthening?
Town Suffer Cup Shock
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY slumped out of the FA Cup last night in a demoralising defeat to Salisbury in the Round 2 Replay. Defeat means Town miss a big day out in Sheffield, plus face a huge financial blow from the loss of expected gate and prize money.
With Town well off the pace in the Conference league table, it means there is little to play for in what remains of the season apart from picking up enough points to avoid relegation, unless you consider the FA Trophy to be a competition worth participating in, which many fans don't.
The Mariners were expected to progress in the competition against a side a league below them, and one they had already drawn with in Wiltshire. However the warning sides were there in the first game when Grimsby were well below par and second best for long periods of the game.
Salisbury should have won the game in normal time. They utterly dominated the first 85 minutes of the game and Town were incredibly lucky to score a last gasp equaliser and take the game into extra time.
When Duffy scored a second early in the additional period it looked like Grimsby had won the game. However poor defending from a corner allowed the away side to equalise and then Grimsby conceded a penalty for the match to swing again. Grimsby rarely threatened in the time that remained and few in the ground can dispute the eventual result.
Salisbury made a good start in windy conditions. L'Anson had to make a good clearance off the line from a Salisbury free kick. Then from the ensuing corner McKeown made a superb save to deny Salisbury and the rebound was headed over off the bar.
Salisbury dominated the first 40 minutes and then Elding hit the bar in a rare opportunity for the Mariners.
Town fell behind almost from the kick off of the second when a terrific long range shot from Fitchett saw the Town defence and 'keeper stand and watch as the ball flashed into the net.
Shortly afterwards Williams almost made it two but hit his shot over the bar.
A mistake by McKeown saw his clearance go straight to Reid and fortunately go just wide of the post. From the resulting corner the ball was cleared off the line. The visitors were creating all the chances and Town were unable to create anything against a big side who seemed to win everything in the air in the windy conditions.
Salisbury continued to boss the game and Town made an attempt to improve things by introducing Artus and Makofo and switching to 4-3-3 but initially it seemed to make no difference.
Deep into injury time Town won a late corner which McKeown went up for and Duffy rose to score an undeserved equaliser.
Grimsby almost threw the game immediately when Reid was allowed to run at the defence and his shot just went wide, then Town somehow found the time to win another corner which they almost scored from.
Almost straight from the kick off of extra time Grimsby scored when Coulson set up Duffy to unexpectedly give Town the lead.
Poor defending from a corner allowed City back into the game, Dutton heading in an equaliser. Then McKeown had to make a save after good play by the substitute Knight.
Pearson conceded a penalty in the second half of extra time, which Anderson converted.
Town never really looked like scoring in the remainder of the game and the best team went through.
Grimsby: McKeown, Wood, Pearson, I'Anson, Townsend, Coulson, Disley, Panther, McCarthy, Hearn, Elding
Subs: Silk, Garner, Spencer, Artus, Duffy, Makofo, Thanoj
Salisbury: Scott, Adelsbury, Webb, Brett, Alexis, Giles, Anderson, Dutton, Williams, Fitchett, Reid
Subs: Neish, Knight, Macklin, Kelly, Casey, Clarke, Cooper
Referee: Geoff Eltrigham (Tyne & Wear)
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