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Town Hold the Hatters
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY'S unbeaten run continued with a battling 1-1 draw at Luton. The Mariners were under the cosh for long periods of the game but took the lead through Nicky Southwell and for a while look the better of the sides. However Luton ended the game the stronger and equalised, but Town held out to prevent a home win.
Grimsby fielded a side packed with fringe players, resting a number of regular first team players following the arduous last few weeks, and were immediately under siege as the game kicked off. Luton could have gone 3-0 up in the opening 10 minutes, but were guilty of some shocking finishing - as they proved to be all night.
But Town gradually played their way into the game and eventually took the lead when Southwell's shot crept over the line. However Luton finished the stronger and equalised when Lawless struck with 14 minutes left on the clock. Town survived late pressure to hang on for a point.
Grimsby gave the first starts of the season to Liam Hearn and Simon Ford, not something either player would have expected to wait until April to make.
Sloppy play by Town saw them give the ball away after just 2 minutes and only a terrible miss by Shaw allowed Town to escape. Minutes later the ball was cleared off the line three times as Luton ran siege to Town's goal from a corner. Bradley Wood nearly scored an own goal from the next Luton corner when his mishit clearance bounced off the post.
After a rocky start Grimsby gradually began to settle into the game, and Luton had to wait another 20 minutes for their next chance, which Bradley Wood did well to put his body in the way of a Gray shot.
Town's first chance of note came just before half time when a long swirling shot by Thanoj almost caught the 'keeper unawares but he managed to paw it away for a corner.
After the break Town stepped up a gear and Thanoj and John-Lewis combined well to set up Southwell who took two touches, his second sending it over the bar. The Mariners were then unfortunate when Hearn set up Thanoj whose shot struck the underside of the bar and bounced the wrong side of the line.
Town didn't have to wait long to take the lead though. Thanoj launched a free kick into the box and it was nodded down and eventually came to Southwell whose shot just crept over the line in front of the celebrating Grimsby fans.
Grimsby looked the better side for a while but lost their way again following the double substitution of Taylor and Artus, who had both been prominent for the Mariners. Griffiths should have scored for Luton but ballooned over from prime position, but shortly afterwards Lawless latched on to a loose ball and blasted it into the net.
Cue the search for a winner. Luton piled forward and won a succession of corners. They would have won on most nights but McKeown made a top class save to deny Gray from point blank range.
Grimsby hung on for a good point and with plenty of positives. Man of the Match was Thomas for an excellent 70 mins, Wood was not far behind him though,
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