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Fortune Favours the Brave

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 18/11/2023

GRIMSBY rescued a point after recovering from a 2-0 halftime deficit at Forest Green. A second-half comeback with goals from Holohan and Wilson completed the turnaround and both sides could have won in a tense finale.

Defenders Rodgers and Glennon returned to the starting line-up replacing Waterfall and Amos.

The game kicked off in blustery conditions and Cartwright had to come to the edge of his penalty area to ensure he was first to an early through-ball.

Town had the first shooting chance when Gnahoua pulled the ball back for Holohan from the right but the midfielder’s 20-yard shot went over the bar.

Rose then picked up an early booking for a late challenge on defender Jordan Moore-Taylor and the yellow card came out again with less than six minutes on the clock, this time for the home side’s Dominic Bernard after a foul on Holohan.

Town could have scored from a free kick which was played to Green on the right who crossed for Rodgers but poked the ball goalwards but it was blocked on the line. At the other end, Cartwright has to react quickly when a Maddox cross-shot took a deflection, needing a save at the near post.

Both sides traded chances in the next few minutes. First, a Pyke shot was saved by Belshaw and then a chip from dangerman McAllister beat Cartwright and came back off the bar.

Forest Green were starting to dominate and Cartwright was called into action again to deny Maddox.

The home side were given a penalty when Jones fell over from Maher's challenge and McAllister made no mistake from the spot. In the last minute of the first half, Town's defence parted to allow McAllister time to beat Cartwright with another chip, which this time found the net and put Rovers 2-0 up at the break.

Town's management team replaced Green with Conteh at the restart and Grimsby started brightly, helped by the wind as well as the personnel change. Despite all the Grimsby possession FGR went closest to scoring the third goal when McAllister, on a hattrick, flicked a header just wide of the post.

Another prompt substitution by Town reaped almost immediate dividends though. Wilson replaced Pyke just before a Grimsby corner. From the kick, Glennon launched the ball and it eventually made its way to Holohan who drilled a low shot which Wilson may have got the final touch to. With half an hour remaining suddenly the one-goal lead looked vulnerable.

Holohan had a great chance to add a second but headed over the bar before Hunt replaced Gnahoua. Wilson's hard work paid off when he robbed the ball high up the pitch and it bounced nicely for him opening up a clear run on goal. A cool finish from the Town sub saw the Mariners level the game with 10 minutes to go.

Grimsby looked the stronger in the closing stages, but Robertson had a glorious opportunity to win the game for the home side but fired over the bar from close range after a Jenks pullback.

In the end, a draw was probably fair and Grimsby could easily have lost. It was definitely a point gained. Two good saves and the woodwork denied Rovers, but the unbeaten run under the caretaker team continues. Much of the season has seen close games like this which could have gone either way. Unfortunately, the defence still remains very leaky and the Mariners are having to score 3 goals to win a game most of the time, which is why they haven't won many. Fortunately, goals are starting to become more common at the right end, which is yielding positive results. This game saw positive substitutions at good times which helped change the game - something that often was not the case under Paul Hurst. You are allowed 5 subs in a game, you should use them if you need to and give them enough time to make a difference.

The Mariners next face bottom side Sutton United at Blundell Park on Saturday.

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