Defensive muscle ensures the draw
17 March 2012
With Marcus Law's side looking for a change in fortunes on St. Patricks Day ahead of a run of three home games in quick succession (Tuesday v Kidderminster being the first and ending in the return game against today's hosts), The Lambs boss made four changes to the side that suffered the narrow 1-0 defeat by The Mansfield Town Stags to field a seemingly defensive biased line-up, to face another play off chasing side in The Mariners who needed to return to form to close the gap on the pack breaking away ahead of them.
The Lambs got the game underway kicking away from the travelling fans behind the goal but it's the home side that go on the offensive and pen back Tamworth with Winn causing some quick hard defending to clear the ball away from Elding, following his left wing cross.
Inside the third minute Hearn forced Hedge into a low save at his near post with a shot on the turn, and then Elding glanced an unmarked header from the resultant corner past the far post.
On 8 Habergham took a knock and required a visit from the physio on the field as he lay prostrate on the floor but was able to continue a minute or two later.
The Lambs fans were by far the loudest in the ground, despite them being vastly outnumbered but had little to sing about in the opening quarter of an hour, expect perhaps a good defensive display to prevent the home side getting too close to the penalty area and clearing it when they did manage to break through.
Oji, back in the squad for the first time in a few weeks was doing very well and dive headed the ball behind from Coulson's right wing cross on 17 and Barrow rose to make the Mariners take it again with another header behind which Oji then powered away with another header.
Townsend's cross was headed away by Oji again on 19 and The Lambs enjoyed a brief spell in the opposition half shortly afterwards, but a throw in gave the home side the ball back.
Barrow then went on a little run down the left but his final ball into the box went long and Grimsby regained possession again.
Even Couurtney's long throws into the danger area were being met first by the Town defence and Patterson was frustrated when a chipped ball forwards was cut out before he could get to it. However, chinks of light were starting to show but at the other end Elding should have done a lot better with his left wing cross on 28,
Tait spotted an opening and hit a lot right footed strike wide of the mark from 35 yards on 28.
At the other end Elding pushed the ball through to Hearn and he brought a superb save from Hedge to flick it around the left hand upright and a minute or so later Hearn hit a rising shot from 20 yards from the right which Hedge was more than equal to.
In a rare but meaningful foray forward Taylor won a corner on the left after good work from Patterson, however Barrow's flag kick was booted away. This did allow Courtney to launch a couple of long throws into the box though and allow Francis to try and exert some pressure on the home defence.
From the aerial confusion Tamworth won another corner and another Courtney throw but Winn was able to break away and Oji was required to hold the fort and clear the danger.
Inside the final five minutes of the first half, Winn tried to get a clean shot on the end of a long ball from the right side but found Courtney in his way and had to settle for a corner. Hedge punched it clear and Win struck the ball with venom but saw it rise high and clatter against the scoreboard above the roof of the away stand.
Hedge was then called upon to push a Disley overhead kick around the sport and one minute added time was shown as the keeper carefully watched Wood's dipping lob go just over the crossbar and onto the roof of the net shortly before the whistle blew.
The Mariners kicked off and Hedge had the most touches in the first couple of minutes as long balls forward went straight through to The Lambs keeper.
On 51, Elding flicked through for Hearn, but Francis was on hand to put the ball away for a corner and Tait headed the flag kick away.
Tait won a corner on the right as the 55 travelling Lambs looked on in anticipation as the ball went long to Barrow before Grimsby eventually regained the initiative and Oji was on hand to nod away the swirling right wing cross from Coulson.
Elding made way for Duffy upfront just before the hour mark but it was Barrow at the other end who chastised himself for a poor final ball after good interplay between himself and Habergham set up a crossing chance from the left.
McKoy was spoken to by the referee for a crunching challenge on Disley on 62 and shown the yellow card for his efforts.
Wood hit a long range drive which curled harmlessly away from the target on 64, but the home faithful were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress of their side, much like at York earlier in the month, as The Lambs continued to defend strongly and look for a break.
The ball soon found it's way back down toward Hedge though and Winn found Coulson's head with a left wing cross but the Grimsby player was unable to get his effort anywhere near the target.
Tamworth went straight to the other end but found the home defence in no mood to be beaten as Barrow's strike was headed away.
Soares came on for the home side with just over 20 to go, he made seven appearances on loan from Reading for Tamworth in February 2005.
Barrow was then booked for bringing down Coulson as he tried to advance into the area from the right wing on 70. Soares knocked the freekick into the box and everyone missed it until Wood tried his luck from 30 yards but lifted the ball over the stand containing the home fans this time.
Mariners substitute Hughes-Mason hit a hopeful half volley high over the target with a swing of the boot on 77 and when Hearn failed to get a decent purchase on the loose ball to get a shot away, Soares pounced and struck the base of the left hand post with a shot on the turn on 78 from which Hughes-Mason forced a corner with a searching low ball on 79 and the flag kick which came to nothing.
Hearn's cross took a touch off Barrow to win a corner on 84 which Pearson headed behind and when Soares put the ball back into the area Hedge kicked it behind for another flag-kick which he proceeded to catch one handed at his far post.
Silk crossed from the right and Duffy arced his header towards goal on 86 causing Hedge to catch a foot the right side of the goal-line before The Lambs made their first change as Barrow left the field with cramp for Thomas.
A Wood cross from the right ricocheted off the Lambs defence for a corner but Soares wasted his dead ball and gave their visitors time to regroup as the clock ticked into the four minutes of added time.
Oji ws penalised for a late foul on Soares which saw Elding run through and score what could have undoubtedly been ‘the winner' but despite the protestations it was never going to count as the whistle had already blown and Townsend's header from the resulting freekick floated over the bar and failed to trouble Hedge.
Play was stopped for a head injury to Miller well past the fourth minute and when play resume the whistle blew on a hard earned point.
Jonathan HEDGE, Richard TAIT, Sam HABERGHAM, Duane COURTNEY, Francino FRANCIS, Sam OJI, Connor TAYLOR, Kyle PATTERSON, Paul GREEN, Scott BARROW (Danny THOMAS 88), Nick MCKOY
Subs: John-Paul MARNA, Keiron St. AIMIE, Liam MCDONALD, Kyle NIX
Yellow Cards: McKoy 62, Barrow 70
Grimsby Town Team:
James McKEOWN, Gary SILK, Michael COULSON, (Keirnan HUGHES-MASON 73), Craig DISLEY, Liam HEARN, Shaun PEARSON, Bradley WOOD, Conor TOWNSEND, Ian MILLER, Peter WINN (Louie SOARES 68), Anthony ELDING (Rob DUFFY 58)
Subs: Scott GARNER, Andi THANOJ
Referee: Mr. J. Simpson