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Town Reach the Play-Offs
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY have qualified for the play-offs with a game to spare after a 1-0 win over Hyde at Blundell Park combined with a 1-1 draw for Braintree at Barnet ensured Town will finish in the top five whatever happens next weekend.
Town left it late to take the lead against Hyde, with Ross Hannah scoring the game's only goal in the 76th minute. Earlier Hannah had hit the woodwork but generally it was a cagey game with few clear-cut chances for the Mariners.
Gateshead won at Macclesfield so Grimsby had to sweat it out awaiting the evening kick-off between Barnet and Braintree. Only a win for Braintree would enable them to overtake Grimsby by beating Town on the final day, but Barnet took the lead late in the first half. Braintree pulled a goal back on the hour mark with a dubious penalty, but couldn't score the winner they needed to keep their destiny in their own hands. Braintree can still overtake Gateshead if they beat Grimsby on Saturday and the Tynesiders lose at home.
In Town's game Chris Doig came in for Shaun Pearson, who was rested to avoid getting a yellow card. After a 20 cagey minutes Town should have scored when Hannah broke clear but he decided to shoot instead of passing to the unmarked John-Lewis.
Hannah had another chance on 30 mins with another one on one, but his chip over the 'keeper hit the inside of the post and was cleared.
On the 65 min mark Colbeck and Tounkara came on for Thomas and John-Lewis, as Paul Hurst tried to mix things up as Grimsby were not generating enough chances.
With 15 minutes to go Hannah made the score 1-0 when he broke, and hit the ball early to beat the 'keeper on his neat post. Tounkara should have made it 2 shortly afterwards but a free header went over.
Grimsby eventually held on with only a few nervy moments for a deserved win.
Town now have to beat Braintree on Saturday to be certain of finishing fourth and playing the second play-off semi at home.
Grimsby: McKeown, Hatton, Doig, Boyce, Thomas, McLaughlin, Kerr, Thanoj, Neilson, John-Lewis, Hannah
Subs: Colbeck, Cook, McDonald, Fyfield, Tounkara
Hyde: Kettings, Kirby, Day, Thornton, Blakeman, Brown, Tomsett, Hughes, Poole, Walker, Clark
Subs: Fitzgerald, McNiven, Pollard, Lazenbury, Morrell
Referee: Declan Ford (Leicestershire)
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