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Late Night Horror at Carlisle

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 09/03/2021

A SICKENING injury-time equaliser denied Grimsby what would have been a deserved three points at Carlisle. John-Lewis had headed Town into a first goal lead and the Mariners continued to be the better side, frustrating Carlisle.

The hard-working Mariners looked to have earned a much-needed three points, only for poor defending from a long throw-in to break their hearts in the 92nd minute. Town will have to lick their wounds and reflect that this was their best performance since the autumn, and at least gives some hope of a late rally to the season rescuing Grimsby from a second relegation to the National League.

Paul Hurst settled for the same side as had lost to Forest Greem, with one enforced change Julien Lamy replacing the injured Idris El Mizouni.

Town started well and looked to have scored direct from a corner, but it was disallowed after the linesman adjudged that John-Lewis had impeded the 'keeper, somewhat dubiously. Town looked threatening, with Hanson and John-Lewis combining well, and it was Hanson who started an attack which ended with Lamy crossing onto the head of John-Lewis who guided it into the net for the game's opener.

Grimsby continued to dominate the game, but Carlisle started to come into it more on the half-hour mark. A Dickenson long throw fell to Partick who could only fire the ball straight at Eastwood from close range. Riley then struck a fierce shot straight at Eastwood which the 'keeper spilled but managed to smother the ball.

Habergham was replaced by Bunney in what looked like an injury for the left-back.

Carlisle could have scored straight after the break when a free-kick fell to Hayden but his far post header flew across the line and out for a goal kick.

John-Lewis could have added a second after a mistake by Carlisle but decided to shoot early and narrowly missed the target. Town continued to frustrate their hosts and Clifton came on for Lamy to strengthen the midfield.

An excellent piece of defending saw Hendrie take the ball off the toes of Zanzala in a dangerous position, then a mazy run by Matete ended with a shot deflected for a corner.

With Town wasting time at every opportunity Hurst brought on Waterfall to replace Morais and Carlisle pressed forward in the last few minutes. They should have scored when Dickenson headed a cross straight at Eastwood but did not react in time to hit the rebound correctly and blasted it over the bar. It looked like it was not going to be Carlisle's night after a glaring miss but then a long throw led to a cross by Dickenson which should have been cleared but fell to the unmarked Zanzala who fired in from the six-yard box.

There was still a few seconds for Carlisle to grab a winner, but Town held on to at least grab a point.

It was a big disappointment to concede so late, but Grimsby can take solace from being the better side for the first time in a long time, including the recent win over Crawley. The front two in particular worked tirelessly and gave Town an attacking dimension that has been missing all season. By scoring first Grimsby at least gave themselves something to defend, whereas for the vast majority of the games this season they have been fighting to overcome a deficit.

Paul Hurst at least knows what his best side is and can go forwards with as settled as XI as possible, after months of swapping and changing.

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