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By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 31/08/2014

GRIMSBY lost their unbeaten record for the season at Aldershot, the game hinging on a first half sending off of Lennell John-Lewis. Prior to his dismissal Town had looked the better side, but two pieces of clinical finishing by Shots striker Brett Williams proved the difference.

Paul Hurst unsurprisingly named an unchanged team from that which thrashed Alfreton 7-0 on Monday.

Craig Clay had a good early chance for Town, firing over after good work by John-Lewis to win the ball. Town continued to look the better side and nearly went ahead when John-Lewis volleyed a Nsiala cross, which was tipped over for a corner.

Town came desperately close to scoring when a McLaughlin free kick eluded everyone and bounced off the post, John-Lewis failing to connect with the rebound. A minute later Pitman was put through onside on a one-on-one with the 'keeper after a ricochet off a Aldershot player. The Town striker though made a mess of the opportunity, running the ball too wide and barely getting any sort of shot on goal.

Just when it looked like Town were in the ascendency a bolt from the blue changed everything. John-Lewis had received a long talking to from the referee for arguing with an offside decision which went against Town. After this pointless altercation the referee seized upon a challenge made by John-Lewis near the dugouts for his first yellow card. Five minutes later John-Lewis saw a second yellow for an innocuous looking challenge in a similar position. Whether either of these challenges was accompanied by any "verbals" I don't know. John-Lewis didn't do much wrong but arguing with the referee brought him to the official's attention and after that two minor misdemeanours (assuming neither of the bookings was for dissent) saw him harshly dismissed.

Aldershot had not threatened Town at all in the first half, and they made two half time substitutions to change their formation. Ten minutes into the second half Aldershot scored with their first attack. The ball was played to the left hand side and Fitchett pulled the ball back from the bye-line to Brett Williams to fire the home side in front.

With Town temporarily down to nine men with a bleeding McLaughlin having to leave the field, Aldershot nearly added a second a minute later but McKeown made a fantastic reflex save to deny the Shots player from close range.

It didn't take long though for Town to concede a second. Brett Williams took advantage of a stumble by Pearson to give himself space and clipped the ball past the advancing McKeown.

It looked like the game was beyond Town's reached but Aldershot gifted Town a lifeline. Tonkin's totally mishit a defensive clearance straight to the feet of Neilson, the last person you want to give the ball to. The Town winger brilliantly volleyed the ball into the back of the net from 25 yards to give Town a crumb of hope.

For the final 15 minutes Town were once again on top, pushing for an equaliser but they weren't able to really muster a serious chance and the game fell away from them.

The sending off changed everything and Town also picked up two bookings for petulance and arguing with match officials. John-Lewis's demise also stemmed from an argument with the ref. Arguing with the match referee clearly doesn't pay and today cost Town dear! Yes he was relatively lenient with Aldershot, but they didn't argue with him so maybe that helped their cause.

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