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Braintreeser

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 04/03/2012

GRIMSBY lost ground on their promotion rivals as they failed to beat Braintree at home on Saturday. Town had to come from behind to rescue a point, then went desperately close to adding a second: one "goal" was disallowed, and two shots were somehow cleared off the line and over the crossbar.

Even Braintree's goal was shrouded in controversy. Marks received the ball in an offside position, and the linesman raised his flag. The Town defence stopped playing and Marks went on and scored against token resistance. However the ref judged the goal to be legitimate as it had come off Disley when Marks received it and therefore overruled his assistant.

Soares and Duffy started for Town, but Braintree had the better of the first 20 mins as Town struggled out of the starting blocks. Braintree had a strong penalty appeal when Miller appeared to bring down Wright on the edge of the box. Town's chances in the largely dull first 45 minutes were a couple of long range chances for Hearn, and Duffy blasted a half chance over.

After the break Braintree took the lead controversially when Marks received the ball in an offside position. The linesman raised his flag and Town stopped playing, but the referee played on as the ball came off Disley.

The decision promoted widespread criticism, and which video evidence showed was probably correct, mainly came from people who have probably never read the rules of the game and probably couldn't tell you what the offside rule actually was (i.e. the vast majority of supporters, players, managers and TV pundits).

Town, propelled by a sense of injustice, equalised quickly from a corner. Pearson forced a great save from McDonald, but Hearn was on hand to finish it off from close range.

Shortly afterwards Town appeared to have gone ahead through Duffy but the goal was disallowed as Duffy had handled it in the eye's of the referee.

The chances kept flowing for Town as Disley had a one on one with the 'keeper. McDonald did well to take something off the ball but it looked to be going in until it was just cleared off the line by a defender in a miracle clearance.

With Town pressing for a winner 5 minutes injury time were played and Hughes-Mason had an effort cleared off the line.

The ref ended a controversial afternoon by blowing for time just when Braintree were about to shoot from a great position! Both sets of players left the pitch feeling fairly aggrieved.

Town should have won but could have lost. They'll have to be better of Tuesday night if they want to continue their long unbeaten run as they have the most difficult fixture in the calendar - Fleetwood away.

Grimsby: McKeown, Silk, Miller, Pearson, Townsend, Coulson, Disley, Thanoj, Soares, Duffy, Hearn

Subs: Church, Garner, Southwell, I'Anson, Hughes-Mason

Braintree Town: McDonald, Wells, O'Connor, Paine, Thomas, Assombalonga, Symons, Reason, Quinton, Marks, Wright

Subs: Ashlee Jones, Bailey-Dennis, Guy, Bentley

Referee: D Ford (Reading)`

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