In all honesty the first period was a big let-down for the travelling support of about 300, and not just because of the referee. Bournemouth struggled to impose their class on a gritty Grimsby team seemingly determined to prove themselves for their new manager, despite early half chances for Supa and Purches. The first real action of the game, however, despite the furious efforts of the ref to book all 22 players in the shortest period of time possible, was the Mariners taking the lead on the 11 minute mark. Like the majority of the 1st half the goal was scrappy – Shaun Maher slipped when trying to clear on the right, another half clearance allowed a dangerous looking cross to be whipped in and there was Rowan for Grimsby unmarked to make it Grimsby 1 Cherries 0.
There was very little else to write about for the 1st 45 minutes, except for 6 bookings which incensed the home crowd and left me feeling very sorry for Maher who did not deserve a yellow for an innocuous looking challenge! Browning’s booking later was a different matter, although his attempts not to get booked for the foul would have won acclaim from Equity!
The second half saw a transformed performance by the Cherries. Suddenly our passing game, which was non-existent before the break, was working and Grimsby were in trouble. The Cherries' travelling contingent really started to get behind their team with vociferous verbal support which hardly let up for the whole of the second half.
But despite the pressure and the possession, the equaliser wasn’t coming. With about 23 minutes left, on came Deadly Derek for Maher in a bold attacking move which paid virtually immediate dividends. By now we were camped in the Grimsby half, and to huge sighs of relief the equaliser came on the 73 minute mark. Supa whipped the cross in and Warhurst for Grimsby under strong pressure from Holmes had no chance of diverting the cross anywhere bar into his own net. Grimsby 1 Cherries 1.
Almost immediately it was Supa again in the role of provider with Fettis in the Grimsby goal somehow keeping Deadly’s point blank header out. Minutes later it was Carl Fletcher’s turn when the ball dropped to him unmarked on the volley – the moment it left his foot I and the majority of the away end thought it was in, but it flew agonisingly inches wide! Credit to Grimsby, they managed a rare attack after this and even won a corner, one of the few times in the second period that Mossy had anything to do.
With minutes to go we seemed to accept the point with Feeney being replaced by O'Connor, a tactic with the play-off picture being so tight that I thought was totally justified.
To me this was two points lost rather than a point gained though, but it leaves us still with every chance of 6th place which I firmly believe we can make! All roads now lead to Hillsborough!
AFCB: Moss, Buxton, C.Fletcher, Maher (Holmes 72), Cummings, Hayter, Browning, Purches, Jorgensen (Elliott 90), S.Fletcher, Feeney (O'Connor 80)
Subs not used: Stock, Broadhurst
Rob Mann, Newton Abbot