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Grimsby 1-2 Derby

By: Richard Lord
Date: 17/08/2002

GRIMSBY Town have lost 2-1 against Derby County at Blundell Park this evening. Darren Barnard grabbed a debut goal but two strikes from Adam Bolder sealed the victory for the Rams in an entertaining clash in front of the Sky TV cameras.

The Mariners entered the game without midfield dynamo Alan Pouton, so former Barnsley winger Darren Barnard made his full debut on the left of midfield and Stuart Campbell slotted into the middle.

Otherwise the team was unchanged from the one that drew 0-0 against Wimbledon in midweek. Grimsby made a positive start and won a succession of corners but they failed to make an impact.

Just ten minutes into the game Steve Livingstone suffered a serious injury inflicted by a rash challenge from Danny Higginbotham. The former Manchester United apprentice was booked but the challenge left Livingstone unconscious.

Nearly a quarter of an hour passed when play finally resumed. Jonny Rowan was next to be booked for a late challenge. Then Adam Bolder, brother of Grimsby's Chris Bolder, saw yellow for a rather rash challenge on Gallimore.

The game threatened to boil over but the Mariners soon got their act together and were ahead on 29 minutes thanks to a superbly taken goal from Barnard.

A long punt from the back drew out Rams keeper Mart Poom and his headed clearance fell to Barnard 40 yards out but the Welsh international kept a cool head and stroked the ball neatly into the back of the unguarded Derby net.

Grimsby thoroughly deserved the lead, though Derby began to increase the tempo. Malcolm Christie and Fabrizzio Ravanelli proved to be a lively pairing up front but Groves and Chettle had kept them in check for much of the half.

Derby pushed men forward until the equaliser eventually arrived, and it came about in sloppy circumstances. Christie was able to shield the ball away from Groves and turn, but when the block was made, the free ball was crossed to an unmarked Bolder and he calmly headed his side back on level terms.

The timing of the goal came as a big blow to Groves' side, but they could have been behind at the break. Ravanelli failed to capitalise on a Groves mistake, and on the stroke of half time he blasted a left-footed volley just wide of the far post.

The second half got underway with some Derby pressure, and Chettle appeared to aggravate his lower back, and, after treatment, he was brought off and so Simon Ford entered the fray.

Ravanelli again had a chance to put his side into the lead but failed to convert with just Coyne to beat. The Italian tamely toe-poked the ball wide from eight yards with the goal gaping.

Though the Mariners tried, they could not break down a resilient Derby back line that included Higginbotham, who was jeered and booed whenever he touched the ball.

Lee Morris had Derby's next chance when the ball fell to him in the area after a corner was not cleared by the Town defence. His shot was somehow blocked and scrambled away, but that was just a warning.

The winning goal came on 75 minutes when the initial danger appeared to have been cleared. Again Christie and Ravanelli combined well up front, and although Ford and Groves dealt with the pressure, Coyne still had to produce a fine save.

From the clearance the ball fell to Bolder who slotted the ball into Coyne's top left-hand corner. In the final 15 minutes the game became an open affair, and with ten minutes left Coldicott left the field and was replaced by Robinson.

Good work down the left by Jevons gave the striker just enough time to pick out and cross to the waiting Terry Cooke on the edge of the area. The former Manchester City striker scraped the top of the bar with a superb strike.

Then just minutes from the final whistle, a Cooke free-kick picked out Groves in the area, and his glancing header found Jevons free at the far post who 'nodded' the ball into the back of the net.

However, the goal was ruled out by the referee for either offside or handball. Grimsby failed to create any more chances and Derby were just happy to hold onto the ball.

It was brutally unlucky for the goal to have been disallowed because it was nothing more than the Mariners deserved, who matched a Derby side still full of quality Premiership players.

Although Town only have one point to show from three games, if they keep up that level of performance then there should be no reason why they can't stave off relegation for another year.

It was a real dogged and determined effort from the Mariners and they can be sure that their first win of the season won't be too far away. They have bagged their first goal of the season and they have another chance at Bradford next week.

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