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Penalty Fair

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 07/03/2012

FOR the second game running Grimsby fell foul of a controversial refereeing decision. Leading 1-0 with 15 minutes to go Hull-based referee West awarded a penalty to the league leaders which surprised everyone in the ground. The decision gave Fleetwood the impetus and they sealed the points with an injury time winner.

It was a harsh outcome for the Mariners who had defended resolutely, withstanding long spells of pressure from the home side, and taking advantage of a defensive mix-up which allowed Liam Hearn to draw first blood.

The first defeat since October now leaves Grimsby six points shy of the play-offs and with a tough run-in the Mariners need a few good results to lift them back into contention.

Elding returned for Tow up front, and Church came into midfield in place of Thanoj. The Mariners were otherwise unchanged.

After a first 20 mins with no clear chances but a fairly open game, McNulty made a terrible back pass and Hearn pounced on it, eventually poking the ball past the 'keeper, and seeing it trundle over the line inside the post.

Town needed Miller to save them with a last gasp challenge to deny Vardy, but otherwise Town's backline stood reasonably firm.

The first half ended 1-0. Town had limited Fleetwood to just a few long range effort and taken advantage of the one mistake made by the home side to give the Mariners a shock lead.

After the break Fleetwood soon switched to 4-4-2 by bringing Brodie on and they tried to create a chance by diving in the box when Brodie was booked.

Then Brodie almost scored but Townsend cleared it off the line in a last gasp interception. as Town were stretched.

Several Town players were booked and then the ref gave Fleetwood a penalty when Church was adjudged to have fouled Vardy in a decision that few anticipated. Mangan scored from the spot.

McGuire should have given Fleetwood the lead but headed his cross wide, and with the match reaching 90 minutes it looked like Town might hang on for a draw.

But when the match had just entered injury time Vardy fired a deflected shot into the top corner to seal the points for the champions-elect.

Fleetwood Town: Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Pond, Brown, Mangan, McGuire, Cavanagh, Fowler, Seddon, Vardy

Subs: Stephenson, Brodie, Vieira, Till, Goodall

Grimsby: McKeown, Silk, Miller, Pearson, Townsend, Coulson, Disley, Church, Soares, Elding, Hearn

Subs: Duffy, Wood, Thanoj, I'Anson, Hughes-Mason

Referee: Richard West (East Yorkshire)

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