Question of the WeekHow important is data in League 2 football?
|Not this year|
Seagulls and Trawlers
By: Rob Sedgwick
BRIGHTON ended Grimsby's historic FA Cup run with a 5-0 walloping of the Mariners and progressed to the FA Cup Semi-Final where they will play Man Utd.
The Mariners were comprehensively outplayed by their top-flight opponents but Town can hold their heads high after beating 5 teams in higher divisions only to succumb to the 6th best team in the country.
Brighton's team was packed with international players, including a World Cup winner, whereas much of Grimsby's side were non league players a year ago, and few have played in the top two divisions. The Seagulls scored 6 minutes into the first half, and 6 minutes into the second half. Grimsby at least has some hope until the last 20 minutes when three further goals made it game, set and match to the Premier League side.
Paul Hurst made a controversial team selection leaving star player John McAtee on the bench, as well as Ryan Taylor, and opting to play Dani Orsi up front, where he had played well in the Luton and Southampton games. Other than that there were no great suprises with Glennon, Holahan, Khan coming into the side with Amos, Morris, and Lloyd missing out.
Brighton immediately dominated possession and went ahead when Caicedo's shot was saved by Crocombe, and Undav was quickest to react to slot in the rebound. Grimsby got the breaks at Southampton through mistakes and there were two moments in the first half when they might have done. First, Dunk overhit a backpass and Sanchez only just prevented the own goal. Other than that Sanchez appeared to handle the ball outside his area under pressure from Orsi. VAR looked at it but decided it wasn't a foul. Has it been so, it would have been a red card and the match would have been compltely different.
Otherwise the first half was one way traffic and Brighton dominated possession and chances. Any Grimsby opportunity was ruthlessly and efficiently snuffed. The only surprise was they didn't go further ahead.
Hunt and McAtee came on for Green and Orsi at the start of the second half. Brighton gave themselves a two-goal lead after just 6 minutes with a brilliant goal by Ferguson after a Mac Allister assist. All the play continued down the far end with only occasional sortees across the half way line from the Mariners. McAtee had a toe poke which was well saved by the keeper, but it was just crumbs really. Ferguson soon claimed his second goal, and March and Mitoma both netted in the last ten minutes as Town sought a consolation for the fans.
Grimsby's players were clapped off at the end by both sets of supporters who recognised that they were a credit to the club and the division. Hopefully it won't be another 84 years before they emulate their historic achievement.
Supporters of the Mariners can look forward to the proceeds of the FA Cup run going into next season's playing squad and perhaps a more long term boost to the team's league status. Town have rarely featured in the top half of League Two for 15 years and are long overdue a competitive season at this level. A top half finish this season would be progress, but the extra income could perhaps ennable the Mariners to go a step further and reach the top 7. Alternatively, perhaps the team fancy another crack at the FA Cup next season...
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