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Reduce squad size
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Forest 2-2 Grimsby

By: Richard Lord
Date: 10/03/2003

YET another last-minute goal proved Grimsby's undoing as they dropped two vital points at Nottingham Forest in an eventful 2-2 draw. Groves and Pouton had struck minutes either side of half time to put the Mariners firmly in the driving seat.

Town had gone behind to an unfortunate deflected goal from Reid's 30-yard effort. The ball was played to the left and Pouton's attempted block only helped in Coyne diving the wrong way.

It was cruel on Town who had begun the game well. The back four that looked so unsteady against Sheffield United last week were holding firm and so when the goal arrived it knocked the stuffing out of them.

Despite this, the visitors reorganised and set about the difficult task of getting back into the game. With Groves instrumental in midfield, the player/boss put Town on level terms just before the break.

What was bizarre about the Town equaliser was the quality and circumstances in which it arrived. Grimsby literally toyed with Forest as the home side failed to get a touch of the ball in the three-minute build-up.

Hughes played a clever ball forward, which Oster stepped over to allow Mansaram to collect with his back to goal. The youngster turned and fed an intelligent cutback for Groves to steer home from six yards.

It was nothing more than their work merited and so the two sides went in at half time locked at 1-1.

Town began the second half just as they had finished the first. Again they were first to every ball and kept possession for a length of time before they took the lead.

A cross was floated into the edge of the Forest area, which Ward felt the need to rush out and punch, but Pouton was on hand to pick up the loose ball and hammer home from 25 yards.

A frustrated Forest side, which had seen very little of the ball in a 15-minute spell either side of half time, gradually worked their way back into the tie.

Huckerby was a constant threat in the wide positions but the in-form Harewood saw little action. Dawson had a great chance to equalise from a corner but he miscued his header and it dropped just wide.

Coyne made a superb save from a Huckerby shot after the ball broke for the Man City striker on the edge of the area. Harewood had an effort that drifted just wide of Coyne' left post.

The division's top scorer David Johnson was given a run-out and his long throws caused some consternation in the Town back line but Santos was there to head clear the danger.

Forest were beginning to become desperate and some lax play let in Oster but his final ball to an energetic Pouton was miss-hit and it rolled harmlessly through to Ward.

With five minutes to go Livingstone replaced the tired Mansaram and Barnard came on for Pouton.

It was in the very last second of normal time when Town let themselves down. A hopeful punt forward was headed out by Ford to Oster who was nudged out by Brennan.

The ball dropped back into the area where Harewood miss-hit his left-footed effort and the ball skewed across goal to Williams who toe-poked the ball home from four yards.

The Town heads dropped and they had to withstand another minute of pressure to collect a hard-earned point - although Groves and the rest of his troops know that it should have been all three.


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