Something strange has to happened to me over the past couple of years. I’ve started to feel sorry for Grimsby Town. To drop one level below your natural position, as we have done, is one thing. To plummet through the leagues in the manner Grimsby have is entirely another. In September 2001 they topped Division 1. Now they play league games against Barrow. It’s too much for one club to take. So now instead of reacting to a Codland misfortune with mocking laughter I now find myself saying “oh dear”.
“Grimsby lost 5-0 to Braintree!”
“Grimsby got knocked out of the cup by Salisbury!”
And during the first half at Sincil Bank yesterday it looked like being another one of those “oh dear” days for Grimsby Town. Outplayed in every area of the pitch they went in at the break a goal down, but it should have been considerably more.
Conal Platt, on loan from Cambridge and a lively presence in the first half, opened the scoring after the Grimsby defence allowed him a lengthy solo run. City had other chances too, notably Francis Laurent’s close range effort early in the half that forced a quick, low diving save from impressive goalkeeper James MacKeown.
Immediately after the half it was all Grimsby. The travelling Mariners had emerged from their dressing room long before the Imps, clearly raring to get going. And so they did, going close early through Bradley Wood and Emmanuel Panther. The equaliser came when what initially looked like a well taken corner found the head of Scott Garner. In fact the taker had slipped. A fluke. Obviously the luck was with Grimsby today.
Nine minutes later came the winner, a pass played into the path of Liam Hearn and slotted under Paul Farman as the Imps back line struggled to adjust to the loss of Josh Gowling.
At that point it was clear that the game was up. The lowest scoring team in the league, one devoid of the confidence to come back from behind was done. Forty-five minutes of good work, undone in ten.
We hope for better in the rematch on New Years Day.
So why did we lose then? Simply, I think, complacency. Even the Grimsby management acknowledged we were the better side first half. The telling thing was the way both sides reacted. Our players went in high fiving each other at a job well done. Theirs came out early, gagging to get at us.
What do we need to do to win on New Years Day? Remember that the game doesn’t end if and when you take the lead.
Man of the Match: I’m too annoyed to nominate one.
Moment of the Match: Conal Platt’s mazy, jinking dribble to set up his goal.
Best Name of the Match: Emmanuel Panther.