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Should Russell Slade be sacked?

Yes immediately
Give him one more game

Conlon: MOM
Conlon: MOM

The Luck of the Draw

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 05/04/2009

GRIMSBY'S fine run continued with an excellent performance at promotion candidates Shrewsbury. The Mariners more than matched their hosts, and took a second half lead through loan striker Barry Conlon, only for the home side to peg a goal back almost straight away.

Home > 2008-2009 Season > Reports > Shrewsbury (a)

A large Town contingent comprising 500 or so raucous Grimsby once again turned up at the New Meadow to cheer the Mariners on. There were no surprises when the team was announced with Mike Newell predictably going for the same line-up and formation as defeated Aldershot last week.

Shrewsbury had the first decent chance after just 8 minutes and what a chance it was! Widdowson was skinned by Chris Humphrey, who got to the byline and crossed to Worrall in front of goal. It looked a formality to finish in front of the Town fans, the sort of chance your granny could bury with her left foot, but somehow a combination of Atkinson and Henderson pawed it off the line. The rebound bounced to Holt which your granny would also have had a decent chance of netting, but he blasted the opportunity just over the bar.

Chris Humphrey was causing Town problems down the right (as did Albert Adomah at Barnet) and he once again beat his man and got in a cross which was headed just wide of the post.

At the other end Town's front two were causing problems for Shrewsbury. Conlon and Akpro were both full of running, and Conlon was winning a lot of the aerial balls and linking up well with both his strike partner and the midfield, especially Sweeny. On 15 Akpro put Sweeney through level with a defender. He didn't quite have the pace to beat his man, but turned to create a shooting chance, and attempted a lob over the 'keeper which might have gone in had it been a little lower.

Town were having a sustained spell of pressure, winning throws by the corner flag and looking for an opening, when Hegarty received the ball on the edge of the box. He appeared to turn too quickly for his marker, who seemed to bring him down on the edge of the box. It looked a decent shot from the other end of the ground, by the referee waved play on.

On the half hour Henderson, who was otherwise flawless (the occasional dodgy kick excepted) came out for a ball, which Chris Humphrey was in hot pursuit of. Realising he was not going to get it, Henderson had to back track. In the meantime Humphrey had tried to go round him but dragged the ball a little too wide and his shot eventually went over the bar.

Just before half time a kick from Henderson was headed down by Conlon and knocked into the path of Hegarty, whose shot was tipped around the post by the 'keeper.

Half Time: Shrewsbury 0 Grimsby 0

Town had more than held their own. Shrewsbury had had a gilt-edged chance but other than that had not overly threatened Henderson. Grimsby had had a few chances of their own, the front two were playing well and taking the pressure off the rest of the team. The defence was playing excellently and at times Town looked assured at the back when they had the ball, taking their time to play a measured pass rather than just hoof the ball upfield when they are under pressure as had been the wont on the past.

Town started the second half brightly and a good move between Hegarty and Conlon led to a shot going just over.

A mistake by the 'keeper who gave the ball away led to a string of shots by Town as the ball pinged around the box. It eventually fell at the feet of Conlon in the six yard box who poked the ball home with jubilation.

Just five minutes later though Shrewsbury were level when substitute Leslie got to the byline and crossed for Davies to tap in from close range.

Shrewsbury then had a chance to make it two. Ashikodi appeared to be have been put through with just the keeper to beat but Ryan Bennett came from nowhere to intercept the ball and it eventually went out off a Town player (via his hand according to the crowd at that end).

Shrewsbury though kept presenting Town with chances and another mistake by the Shrews lead to a double goalline clearance and two defenders floundering in the net, but sadly not the ball.

A great run and cross by Hegarty led to a late chance by Sweeney but the midfielder failed to make proper contact with the ball and his header flashed agonisingly wide.

Full Time: Shrewsbury 1 Grimsby 1

Grimsby totally deserved their draw, and had it been a boxing match might have won on points. Their defence looked solid, the 'keeper was competent when called on once again, and Hegarty and Sweeny the pick of the midfielders. Up front though Conlon and Akpro worked tirelessly and the Mariners always had a target to aim for when playing the ball upfield, which meant we weren't under the cosh for long periods as in many games this season. Man of the match therefore was Barry Conlon, whose contribution to the team both as an attacker and in his defensive duties was outstanding.

As events transpired the other three clubs at the bottom all won so Town have actually lost ground. However their remaining five fixtures are all against clubs in the bottom half of the table and they should be able to pick up from those the points they need to stay up. Man of the Match: Not easy with loads of candidates. I'm going for Henderson who made a couple of vital saves at 0-0 but who has also shown a commendable ability to motivate the players in front of him. His confidence is rubbing off on his team mates and his interaction with the crowd is making him lots of friends.

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