League Two Form Guide
Question of the WeekHow important is data in League 2 football?
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY turned on the style to crush League One leaders Plymouth 5-1 at Blundell Park. The Mariners started nervously and it was no shock when they fell behind after 5 minutes. But a quick reply calmed their nerves, going 4-1 up at the break, and adding another after halftime.
It was a pulsating display of attacking football that blew away the opposition. Kiernan got a brace, and 3 of the back 4 also weighed in with goals from set pieces. Town's attacking play won them a lot of chances from dead play positions and the Mariners made the most of them. They'll be hoping now for a kind draw and a passage through to the potentially lucrative Round 3 in January.
Glennon, Hunt, Khan and Kiernan were changes from Hartlepool's starting XI, with Maher, Amos, Richardson and the injured Taylor dropping out. Grimsby started nervously and it was no great surprise when Plymouth took the lead, thanks to a long-range Randell strike, low to Crocombe's right.
Town though soon established themselves in the game and could have scored from their first attack when Hunt's shot was deflected over from close range. Shortly afterwards, from a corner, Smith glanced the ball in at the far post off the back of his leg.
Town continued to look dangerous with Clifton and Holohan dominating the midfield, and they continued to win corners which enabled them to bring their defenders into the box. Town took the lead from a short corner when Glennon and Hunt combined and Efete scored with a delicate glancing header to turn the game on its head.
Clinton was fouled three times in the build-up to the next goal, but the referee played a brilliant advantage and Clifton delivered a perfect cross for Kiernan to backheel into the net. It was a brilliant goal and Town were starting to play exhibition football against a team theoretically much stronger than them.
A Holohan bursting run into the box brought a good save from Cooper and then Khan had an effort cleared off the line. Grimsby's emphatic dominance got the fourth it deserved when Plymouth failed to clear the ball and it was eventually drilled in by Glennon just before the halftime whistle blew.
Grimsby were prepared for a second-half onslaught and Plymouth brought on two players at half time but the home side still dominated. Waterfall was the only member of the back four not to score and he could have joined the club but his header was blocked on the line just after the break.
Town though put the game further beyond when Clifton brilliantly played in Efete whose cross was absolutely perfect, and he picked out Kiernan alone amongst several defenders and the Town striker volleyed in his second for a stunning goal.
With the game all but won Hurst brought on three subs, all like-for-like swaps: Richardson for Kiernan, Simmonds for Khan and Khouri for Holohan. Cropper came on for Efete a few minutes later.
Town if anything looked the more likely to score and Plymouth failed to create anything of note and the match ended 5-1. It was a stunning display. Taylor's absence from the team meant Town's attack had no focal point and they were forced to play a lot more football as there wasn't the option to launch it up front. Kiernan linked superbly with the midfield runners behind him, making some very clever flicks, and Town won themselves a lot of corners and free kicks from the ensuing dangerous attacks. In the last year they have been especially strong at set pieces and today they were lethal when these came along. Plymouth were completely outplayed, but most of the goals were more Town's brilliance than their poor defending.
Grimsby next play Manchester City U21 at BP on Tuesday when they can qualify for the knockout phase of the Papa John’s Trophy for the first time. It's not a tournament that is popular with supporters but does bring money into the club, as did today's FA Cup win. After two demoralising defeats, Town fans once more have something to brag about.
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