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Cloud Nine!

By: Richard Lord
Date: 20/10/2002

SANTOS and Raven saw red as Grimsby battled out a 0-0 draw against Rotherham at Blundell Park this afternoon. The Millers missed several chances to take all three points but the Mariners could have won it at the death.

Steve Livingstone made a welcome return to the first team after two months out with a head injury. Paul Raven passed a late fitness test and started alongside Ford at the back, with Santos moving into midfield and Cooke dropping to the bench.

There was little goalmouth action in the opening exchanges, although the sides looked well matched. Santos had a shot that flew over the bar for Grimsby, and Rotherham threatened briefly through Alan Lee.

Santos was booked for a clumsy challenge 30 yards outside the Grimsby box, and the resulting free kick swept wide of the far post without delivering any danger. Then minutes later Santos was involved in an altercation with Garner and Branston.

Garner lost control of the ball before Santos won the ball with a sliding tackle. As the Cape Verde international passed the ball off, Garner gave away a free kick after catching Santos' ankles.

Garner came face to face with Santos and the two players appeared to push each other away. But the referee, who was weak all game, saw differently and pulled out a straight red and sent Santos back to the dressing room.

After discussing with his linesman the referee booked the wrong man in Branston. Gallimore's effort from the initial free kick given to Town was comfortably held by the Millers' keeper at the near post.

Despite being reduced to ten men, Town kept Rotherham at bay. Early in the second half they were further reduced to nine men when Raven was shown a second yellow card.

Lee was booked for diving under a challenge from Raven, but the Mariners defender's next contribution was to give away a free kick on the half way line when his late challenge caught Lee who was bursting through on a great layoff by Warne.

It seemed to take an age for the referee to finally make up his mind and send the former Baggie off. Although Rotherham pushed on, Grimsby remained a threat on the break and had three chances to win the game.

First, Kabba's shot from the narrowest of angles nearly caught out Pollitt in the Rotherham goal. But Grimsby were no threat from corners as they couldn't afford to commit players to go forward.

Coyne made a good fingertip save at the other end, Byfield missed a great chance when his header bounced up off the turf and over the bar. Rotherham also his the top of the bar and Coyne was made to make one last fine save from a long range effort.

Bizarrely the last five minutes belonged to Grimsby. Iain Ward anticipated a loose pass by Bryan and played a lovely one-two with Kabba, similar to the breakaway goal against Ipswich.

Ward's cross to the near post forced the defender to scuff a shot which Pollitt did magnificently to save. And when Mansaram came on near the end, his mazy dribble brought about a shooting chance for the other sub Cooke. His blast stung the fingers of Pollitt who turned the shot over the bar.

All in all the Mariners could only come out of the game with credit. Having been reduced to nine men so early, they kept Rotherham at bay and the visitors were often forced into shooting from long range.

Coldicott, who came on in place of Livvo when Town were down to ten men, ran his socks off along with Pouton and Campbell in the middle. Gallimore played well as the emergency centre half and Kabba did well on his own.

Ronnie Moore will be kicking himself after witnessing his side's inability to take three points from the game, but they in truth played poorly and did not look like a top half side on today's evidence.

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