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That Winning Feeling
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY climbed to within spitting distance of the play-offs with a 2-1 win at Southport last night. Once again they did it the hard way: Elding gave the home side the lead when he headed the ball into his own net from a corner just before half time.
Miller then levelled the game just before half time from a corner, very much against the run of play to give Town a crumb of hope.
After the break with the wind in their favour Grimsby were the dominant side. They still had a couple of major scares, but managed not to concede. Then with 10 minutes to go Southport failed to clear the ball from their own box and it eventually ended up at the feet of ace marksman Liam Hearn who made no mistake from close range.
The result, which flattered the Mariners somewhat, massively improves the chances of Grimsby making the play-offs as they are now level on points with fifth placed York, and have a game on hand on Southport
Town chose the same line-up which won their last league game against Telford. This meant Ian Miller returned for Shaun Pearson in central defence, with Pearson starting on the bench alongside new signing Louis Soares - still yet to make his debut.
Southport from the off dominated in the windy conditions and McKeown was in action early on to make several blocks. Just after Ledsham blasted a good chance for Southport over the bar Town centre back Scott Garner was knocked unconscious and was carried off on a stretcher (he soon recovered afterwards) to be replaced by Pearson.
Southport's dominance and succession of set pieces eventually paid dividends when another corner deflected off his head into Town's net to give Southport the deserved lead.
Pearson had two half chances for Town (a volley from a corner and a near post flick-on from another set piece), but with the first half coming to an end Grimsby could count themselves fortunate to be only one goal down. Amazingly just before the break Miller headed in another corner after he was not picked up by the Southport defence.
The wind had changed, literally, for after the break Grimsby had it behind them and that and the confidence which a goal brings gave them the edge.
Hearn was played through with a long ball which split the defence, but the 'keeper came out and the Town striker overhit the ball and didn't manage to get a shot on goal.
With the game opening up Whalley's cross shot across the goal came within inches of the onrushing Gray who just needed to make contact to put Southport in front.
Within moments Town were ahead. Southport dithered and dallied (as they were prone to in their own box), and failed to clear the ball from their own six yard box despite several attempts. Inevitably it eventually fell to the feet of the ace goal scorer Hearn who prodded into the net from close range,
Town had to withstand a final 15 minutes of Southport pressure. Their best chance fell right at the end to Gray who incredibly completely mishit the ball from a corner when presented with a gilt-edged chance at the edge of the six yard box.
It wasn't an emphatic win by any means. Town were not at their best but they never lost their belief that the would get something out of it and they hit the jackpot coming away with three points against a promotion rival. The fixture list makes even getting to the play-offs still a very hard prospect but it is getting to the stage where Town can now be regarded as serious contenders rather than just an outside prosepct.
Man of the Match goes to Pearson. He came on unexpectedly but slotted in effortlessly into a back four who had to deal with a lot of Southport pressure and he also had Town's two best chances of the first half.
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