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The Fall Of Fortress BP

By: Richard Lord
Date: 05/09/2004

A Grant Holt goal ten minutes from time saw the Mariners sink to their fourth League defeat of the season, as they continue struggling to adapt to life in the basement division.

Holt latched onto a long ball dissecting the Town defence and he struck superbly passed the flailing Williams in goal to notch his fourth strike of the season.

As expected before the game, Russell Slade threw Michael Reddy back into the starting line-up in the familiar 3-4-3 formation. Stacy Coldicott dropped down to the bench, where the two loan strikers joined him.

Town began the game kicking towards the Rochdale support but the entire first half proved to be a frustrating event. A Pinault free kick found its way to the far post where Whittle headed just wide.

The visitors certainly did their homework on Town, stifling the home side and forcing them into uncharacteristic errors. Dale themselves created two opportunities but failed to register.

Grimsby were close to breaking the offside trap but both Parkinson and Crowe were caught out by the alert Rochdale defence.

A superb ball from Pinault picked out Parkinson but the ball wouldn't come down for the former Tranmere striker and he was eased away from goal.

Another pinpoint cross from Pinault saw Crowe arrive late at the far post but he could only chest to ball straight to Edwards in the visitors' goal.

Leo Bertos should have put Dale in front just before half time when he was fed through by Holt, but the New Zealander dallied on the ball, giving enough time for Whittle to get back and tackle.

The second half continued in the same manner as the first half closed, with Rochdale looking the more dangerous in the last third of the pitch.

Town briefly rallied when on the break but Reddy, Parkinson and Sestanovich weren't linking up as well as they had been earlier in the season.

Tony Gallimore's return to Blundell Park could have seen him sent off, but luckily for him, neither the linesman nor referee witnessed his kick at Michael Reddy.

The Town striker arrived late as Gallimore lifted the ball forward, and clearly unhappy with Reddy's challenge, he kicked out and handbags ensued. Both players were booked.

Good work by Parkinson should have been rewarded with a goal when he turned his defender inside out before flashing a cross-shot across goal. However, the striker could have had an undisputed penalty had he gone to ground.

After battling away for much of the game, Rochdale grabbed what looked to be the winning goal when Holt was sent through and he made no mistake from 15 yards.

Town substitute and new arrival Chris Williams looked lively when he came on, and he could have put the Mariners in front after weaving his way into the box, only to see his effort sear into Edwards' midriff.

But the goal knocked the stuffing out of the Mariners and they never looked like testing Edwards. Williams lifted an effort onto the top of the bar in stoppage time, but that was about as close as Town came to equalising.

The defeat sees Grimsby drop to 18th place in League Two, with only seven points to show from seven games so far. And Russell Slade won't need anyone to remind him that his side drew another blank.

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