Grimsby Town 1 Rushden & Diamonds 0

Match report by Chris Barritt

Another dubious penalty decision gave fellow strugglers Grimsby three vital points as Diamonds slipped nearer to the relegation zone at Blundell Park.

Manager Barry Hunter and his players were incensed ten minutes from time when referee Pugh adjudged that Rodney Jack had impeded Stuart Campbell in the penalty area and Phil Jevons struck home the penalty. Diamonds’ misery was complete when Robert Duffy was shown the red card in the dying seconds.

Diamonds made two changes from the team that earned a priceless point at Brighton on Easter Monday. Andy Edwards replaced the suspended John Dempster at right back while David Bell came into the side in place of Marcus Kelly. Hunter continued with his 4 – 5 – 1 formation with Duffy the lone striker. 

 

Grimsby were hoping to stop a two game losing run and they made 4 changes from the side that lost 2 – 0 at home to Blackpool earlier in the week. Isiah Rankin and Darren Mansaram came into the attack while Darren Barnard and Stuart Campbell were also called up. 

The Mariners started like an express train. Inside the first minute, Campbell miskicked in front of goal after Rankin had got round Hunter while two minutes later Iain Anderson’s shot was deflected off Hunter for a corner.

Diamonds first attack saw Tony Crane slice Andy Burgess’ cross over his own crossbar while at the other end, Rankin, who was a real livewire in the opening few minutes, shot wide after a corner was knocked out to him.

On 13 minutes, Billy Turley had to react quickly when his clearance rebounded off Mansaram. Opposite number Alan Fettis was nearly caught out

on the quarter hour when Burgess unleashed a 30 yarder which swerved at the last moment. Hunter then cleared a Mansaram shot off the line.

Duffy was causing all kinds of problems in the air and on 19 minutes his flick on allowed Stuart Gray the chance to volley but the shot was comfortably saved by Fettis.

There was very little goalmouth action in the middle of the half although Anderson shot wide for the home side after a good build up. On 36 minutes, Jack almost capitalised on indecision in the Grimsby defence but the ball went away from him. Richie Hanlon followed up but his shot was blocked.

At the other end, there were loud appeals for a penalty when Rankin went down in the area following a challenge from Andy Sambrook and Hunter. The referee looked to have made the correct decision as he waived play on.

In the dying seconds of the half the woodwork came to the Diamonds rescue when Crane latched onto Barnard’s corner only to see his thumping header canon back off the crossbar.

The second half followed the way of the opening period although Diamonds tried to come out and play a more open game. Mansaram shot over early on while a great tackle from Sambrook in the penalty area denied another shooting opportunity.

Anderson headed over from Campbell’s cross and then provider turned striker but his effort from 2 yards hurried over the bar.

Again there was a period of inactivity in either attack but just as the away fans were sensing another hard earned away point, the referee changed the course of the game after 79  minutes. Campbell’s powerful run ended when he ran into Jack just inside the area. Despite limited appeals from the Grimsby players, referee Pugh pointed to the spot. Jevons sent Turley the wrong way to give the home side the lead.

Diamonds sent players forward and they almost immediately got back on level terms. Hanlon flicked on Burgess’ free kick and Fettis had to be at full stretch to deny Hunter’s half volley.

Worse was to follow for Diamonds two minutes from time when Duffy, who had worked tirelessly up front, was adjudged to have used an elbow on Crane and was immediately shown the red card.

As time was running out, Grimsby spurned two more chances to put the game beyond Diamonds reach but Turley made a great save to deny Rankin and then blocked Crowe’s forward run.

As the final whistle blew, Diamonds found themselves in 19th place just one point off the relegation zone and with a real fight on their hands to stay in Division Two.

Diamonds: Turley, Edwards, Hunter, Hanlon, Jack, Burgess, Gray, Sambrook, Duffy, Bell (Kelly 81) Roget

Subs unused: Mills, Gahan, Story, O’Kuonghae

Bookings: Hunter 81, Roget 90

Sent Off: Duffy 88

Grimsby, Fettis, Barnard (Ford 85), Crowe, Crane, Edwards, Anderson, Campbell, Coldicott, Jevons, Rankin, Mansaram (Soames 73) 

Subs unused: Rowan, Hockless, Warhurst

Bookings: Anderson 86

Diamonds MOM: Robert Duffy

Blundell Park

Attendance: 3,890

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