Question of the WeekWho will finish bottom?
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY'S relegation fight ended with a game to go thanks to a fairy tale finish at Blundell Park. The Mariners looked like they had blown their chance to reach safety when Notts County scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to cancel out Nathan Clarke's first-half goal.
But the game was to take a late twist when substitute Jamille Matt popped up in the 93rd minute to power in a late winner for Town. The goal ensures Town will compete in the Football League for another year and means new boss Michael Jolley has already ensured his place in Grimsby's history as the man who saved Town from a second relegation from League Two. It is a great achievement when you consider the form of Barnet in the last six games. The London side looked doomed a few weeks ago but now have given themselves real hope going into the final game, while Town can relax at Forest Green with their safety secured.
Michael Jolley picked the same team as the one which returned home from Swindon with maximum points chose to keep the faith with the same side that brought him victory at Swindon the previous weekend.
Town started brightly and Harry Clifton went close for Town, while at the other end Jonathan Forte headed narrowly wide. Town took the lead when a deep free kick by McKeown was not cleared and Clarke drilled home from the edge of the box. Town kept the pressure up and Woolford should have done better but spurned a good opportunity.
After the break Hooper made a mazy run in the box and his cross-shot just eluded Cardwell. McKeown then produced a "wordly" to somehow claw the ball away from the goal when County look certain to score in a made goal mouth scramble.
County, who needed to win, continued to press but Town still threatened and Mitch Rose skied a good chance high into the Pontoon.
Town looked relatively comfortable but the news that Barnet had taken the lead at Morecambe suddenly rekindled the nerves, with everyone aware that just one goal stood between safety and a possible final weekend relegation.
Hooper produced a good save from the County 'keeper but suddenly Blundell Park was silenced when McKeown made a rash decision to try an dispossess an opponent and was left stranded when the ball was played back into the box and Jones was on hand to smash it in from close range.
Both sides still needed to win and there were minutes for a final twist. Town won a late corner and Matt rose to power it in from close range.
It was a sensational finish to a dramatic game that belied all the boring games of the Russell Slade era.
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