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Pond Heads Town to Seventh Heaven
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY defeated early pacesetters Forest Green at Blundell Park yesterday in a game of few chances which it always looked might be settled by a single set piece goal. That proved to be the case. McKeown made two great first half saves from set pieces, before Pond headed in a second half free kick.
Forest Green created a few chances in the final 20 minutes, but by and large Town restricted their opponents to just a handful of chances. The Mariners had to do it the hard way as well. Two players went off injured in the first half and Grimsby also had two defenders on yellow cards going into the break. However Grimsby managed to cope with these set backs and send Forest Green to their first defeat of the season.
On the downside Cook (ankle) and Wood (hamstring) both have injuries which could cause them to miss upcoming games, although thankfully this week there is no midweek game. Grimsby manager Paul Hurst also faces a ban after being dismissed for a touchline comment he made in the second half.
The only change to the side that drew at Barrow in midweek was the return of Elding up front, after his two sub goals saw Town overturn a two goal deficit.
Town had two early injuries to contend with. Firstly Racine made a nasty challenge on Cook. The ref initially played on, but then went and booked the defender once Town's attack fizzled out.
Then Wood pulled up holding his hamstring, and tried to play on after treatment. But neither Cook not Wood were able to shrug off their knocks and both were substituted, Hatton and Southwell took their places.
The ref angered the crowd by giving FGR several dangerous free kicks and McKeown was needed to pull off two great saves from Ben Wright. But with very few chances the main talking points at half time were the referee who was inconsistent in his application of yellow cards, and a rather pathetic drunken pitch invader who was carted off horizontally into the tunnel - his last appearance at Blundell Park.
Grimsby took the lead when the ref awarded them a free kick just in front of the police box. Artus took the free kick and Pond rose high in the air to dispatch it right into the centre of the goal.
A terrible mistake by Hatton gave Taylor a free run on goal but fortunately McKeown was on hand to make a save. Then an abysmal Town corner almost saw Rovers score at the other end. The ball failed to even reach a Town player and another Hatton miskick gifted Norwood another chance on goal. Fortunately Thomas was on hand with a excellent challenge to restrict Norwood to a shot wide of the target.
McKeown had one final save to make when he once more denied Norwood, but Town hung on for all three points. The win sees them in seventh place, which is probably the highest position they have ever been in three years in this division.
Special mention must go to McKeown who made a couple of top draw saves, Thomas who was excellent both defensively and offensively, and Disley who helped Town boss the midfield.
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