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Men Against Hayes
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY won the their first ever match to take place in the county of Surrey, against West London side Hayes and Yeading. The match was very one sided until the final 2 minutes, when Church received his marching orders for bringing a player down in the penalty area.
When Hayes scored from the spot it prompted a late flurry, but Town hung on. In truth it would have been a travesty had the Mariners recorded any less than three points against a side who looked well short of the standard to stay in this league.
There were so few supporters at the game that everyone was on first name terms by the time the game kicked off. The exception appeared to be the Hayes back four, who looked like they had met for the first time 10 minutes before the kick off and spoke no common language.
On another night Town could have had a hatful. As it was they scored two, hit the woodwork and had two goals disallowed for offside.
With Town winning 2-0 and seemingly coasting the mood amongst the crowd, most of whom were from Grimsby, turned into one of jovial celebration of 3 points to come. The opposition's deficiencies were loudly proclaimed and gloried in, as they were at Bath, and like Bath it almost came back to haunt Grimsby.
Town started without Liam Hearn and Rob Duffy finally got his chance to start a game, partnering Elding up front. Winn was selected on the left wing, Church came into midfield alongside Disley and Bradley Wood replaced Silk at right back.
Town should have taken the lead on 10 minutes when Duffy got on the end of a Coulson cross, but it hit the base of the post and was cleared.
Elding was played through with time and space to pick his shot a few minutes later but his effort went just over the goal.
Hayes had a chance when a shot deflected off the backside of one of their own players, fortunately straight into McKeown's hands.
Hayes conceded a sloppy ball from their point of view. A Town corner should have been cleared but bounced back into play off a Hayes player and fell to Duffy who hooked it in from close range.
The Mariners looked to have gone 2-0 up just before half time but they had a goal disallowed for offside. The ball was played in to Coulson who crossed to Duffy who nodded it in at the far post. The free kick was taken at the point where Coulson stood, so whether he was the one offside is open for debate.
Town scored early in the second half from a corner. Coulson and Winn both wanted to take it but Winn won the debate and it was a good decision for his cross went straight into the path of Pearson who rose and headed it in unchallenged to give Town a 2 goal cushion.
Duffy then forced a good save out of Arnold but the match looked won without the need for a third.
With Town seemingly coasting the match suddenly turned in the last few minutes. Hayes looked like they were going to score in a goalmouth scramble, and then Church brought down a player which the ref deemed both a penalty and a red card. Hand scored from the spot and set up a nervy last few minutes for Town.
Town hung on but in the end it was much closer than it should have been. Man of the Match was Coulson who looked the best player on the pitch, especially in the first half. Winn had a good game on the other flank, and Bradley Wood was the pick of the defenders. Town's front two were both a handful and caused problems all night for Hayes. Hayes will do to stay up, but hopefully they will at the expense of Lincoln.
The dream of entering the top five looked to have slipped away but will definitely be back should Grimsby beat out of form Luton on Saturday. If not they'll be able to look forward to coming back to Woking's ground Kingfield next season to play their first match in Surrey against opposition from Surrey.
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