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Question of the WeekHow important is data in League 2 football?
A Good Shift
By: Andrew Doherty
TOWN managed to score twice on Saturday, confounding my theory that we're not set up to score, but we appeared to be vulnerable in several areas. Last year's corresponding fixture against the Reds of Salford was a fiasco, so that's hardly a source of encouragement, but that was then and this is now. I just hoped that every second between Sat
The team assigned to produce this performance this evening was: Eastwood - Mullarkey, Waterfall, Rodgers, Amos - Conteh - Gnahoua, Holohan, Clifton, Eisa - Rose. The Left Back Conundrum has been resolved by the welcome return of Amos, with starting spots also given to Holohan and Gnahoua. It's time to make the football do the talking. With Glennon out of form, Vernam not contributing anything to date and Hunt doing ok but looking lightweight, my own view was that these were good, positive changes.
Salford started strongest, winning two corners. Mullarkey and then Amos did well to head the ball out before Eastwood saved and Town managed to clear the threat. Town got into the game slowly, and on 9 minutes had a chance when Rose chested down to Clifton from a Mullarkey cross, but Clifton couldn't get his feet under control. Amos then put in a dangerous cross following a Waterfall cross pass but no one was there. Rose had a long-range effort on 17 minutes which went over. Town's passing and movement were promising. The midfield were competing for and winning the ball. On 20 minutes great work by Holohan in defence won possession and started a move. Holohan found Gnahoua in the middle. Gnahoua lacked support so waited and found Eisa who advanced, playing it off Amos before receiving it back, cutting inside and firing a low deflected shot from outside the box to Salford keeper Cairns's right and into the net. Great goal - Town 1, Salford 0. Salford broke after Amos wasted a free kick. It was Amos who was first to the ball. The back pass was heavy but Eastwood saved the day. Mullarkey then did well to cut out a cross. Town won a free kick on the left edge of the Salford box on 30 minutes. Amos's cross was cleared. Ashley then flattened Gnahoua 35 yards out and was booked. Gnahoua sent a cross to the far post where Waterfall was on hand to head it but the header hit the side netting. Salford came close when McAleny took advantage of a poor Waterfall pass. The shot went inches wide with Rodgers able to get in position to deflect the shot for a corner. In added time, Conteh made a great interception and advanced but made a poor effort of his shot, screwing it atrociously wide. Town went in at the half with the lead intact. The game had been even but Town were competing for the ball well and were imposing themselves thanks to their effort and teamwork.
Town had a chance early in the second half when Eisa crossed from the left but the Salford defender heeled the ball away. Town were soon back on the attack. Mullarkey was scythed down by Ashley who received a second yellow card. The free kick was poor - another one wasted. Town sought to take advantage of the numeric advantage, passing the ball and pressing forward. Salford responded with a double substitution. Gnahoua was hauled down in the right corner and earned a free kick, sending it in himself. Waterfall headed wide. Rose was adjudged to be offside on 58 minutes when threatening to break clear after a Conteh pass. In spite of being a player down, Salford combined to attack and put Town's defence under pressure. After a blocked shot, Town broke from the back on 64 minutes. Holohan passed forward to Eisa who returned the ball as Town entered the Salford box. Holohan had his back to the goal. Eisa took charge and drilled the ball home under the defenders. Town 2, Salford 0. Three minutes later Eisa broke out again, finding Holohan again who supplied Mullarkey. The cross posed no threat. But Town were well on top. A mix-up between keeper Cairns and Smith led to a Town corner from an Amos free kick. Gnahoua was then fouled in the right corner before brilliant skill by Eisa whose lofted ball over the defender inside the box almost led to a clear chance. Clifton then ghosted through and was inches wide. On 80 minutes Eisa forced a save with a cross-shot from the left. Salford continued to press forward but although Town struggled, the defence was holding firm with Amos twice cutting out threats. Vernam replaced Gnahoua on 82 minutes, and was supplied 3 minutes later on the right from where he cut inside. His left-footed shot wasn't clean but won a corner. Town commendably continued to go forward. On 87 minutes Efete, Pyle and Green came on for Town, replacing Mullarkey, Rose and Conteh. Salford fought on and won a free kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out. Mallan's free kick was curled around the wall, but Eastwood was equal to it, diving and pushing it round his left post. Town battled hard to clear the ball away following the corner. 7 minutes were added. Town continued to play their game and reduced Salford's opportunity to create any threat. Khouri replaced Eisa on 95 minutes. The whistle went soon after. The final score: Grimsby Town 2, Salford City 0.
This is what we wanted. Where passing on occasions can seem like a mystery cult, this evening it was good. Town clicked as a team, and the level of intensity and energy resulted in Town winning balls and dominating spells. Salford looked like they could be a threat but having been frustrated by Town, were guilty of poor discipline with one player sent off and several receiving yellow cards. We still need to improve our dead ball work, but the introduction of Amos improved the defence just as Holohan and Gnahoua made good contributions. Eisa deserves special mention for his goals but this was a team effort, and hopefully one that we can replicate. It was our first league win, and Mr Hurst and everyone involved can be very pleased that we put in a really good shift this evening.
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