FA Trophy Win
11 Dec, 3pm
Redditch United who were looking forward to receiving their half share of the gate receipts to give themselves a much needed financial boost, arrived at Blundell Park as clear underdogs in this FA Trophy 1st round tie.
The Reds, currently propping up the BSB North league table, were without four cup-tied players and could only name four substitutes for this, their first game for almost a month.
On the other hand, Town boss Neil Woods had a squad who were itching to play football after three weeks of inactivity. He brought new signing Dean Sinclair straight into the starting line-up to replace Andy Wright who had been recalled by Scunthorpe and Rob Eagle dropped to the bench after suffering a slight hamstring injury in training.
With the Main and Osmond stands closed and a sparse crowd inside BP, the teams took the field in an atmosphere more akin to a reserve game. The away fans were housed in one section of the lower Findus stand. But, most importantly, the pitch looked in great condition - a tribute to all of the staff, youth players and the army of volunteers would cleared the snow in the last two days.
The Mariners, in a 4.4.2 formation, began kicking towards the Osmond end. They settled quickly into their rhythm, passing the ball around sharply and Sinclair was instrumental in much of the link play. Rob Atkinson had the back four playing a higher line than normal, suggesting that Redditch may be without significant pace up front.
Straight after Atkinson had headed into the arms of keeper Dormand from a corner, Grimsby took the lead in the 14th minute through Micky Coulson following the best move of the match so far. After five or six passes in the last third, he was on hand to convert from a superb back heel from Alan Connell.
The lead was fully deserved by the Town team who were dominating possession, looking sharp and totally controlling proceedings. For Neil Woods, all was going to plan and every one of his team was playing their part in a confident display.
On 25 minutes Redditch forward, Nathan Smith, was injured and replaced by Rob Ager.
Then that man Connell produced another moment of his magic on 26 minutes. He received the ball on the edge of the D, with his back to goal. Turning and putting the ball onto his left foot, the defence stood off as he hit a stunner into the top left hand corner.
The remainder of the first half was more of the same for Town. With Cummins in front of the back four, Sinclair prompting from the centre, and wide men Bore and Coulson linking well with the front pair, Grimsby were not allowing Redditch any opportunity to get a foothold in the game.
The half drew to a close with Charles Ademeno hitting a fierce shot that Dormand managed to punch to safety and a Redditch effort sailing wide of Kenny Arthur`s goal.
Perhaps, as expected with the score line and the pattern of play, the game went flat in the second half. Whilst Town were playing efficiently, Redditch were posing little or no threat to the Town defence. Any time that they were called into action, Atkinson and Kempson were both looking more than equal to the task.
Town were in cruise control, and although their dominance suggested that they could grab another goal, there was now a lack of penetration in the final third. But that changed with 20 minutes to go, when Rob Eagle replaced Peter Bore. Eagle took up his usual position on the left, with Coulson switching to the right.
Eagle had almost scored with his first touch of the ball before his corner in the 69th minute was met by the head of Connell to score his 17th goal of the season in all competitions. 3-0 and Grimsby were strolling.
Two substitutions followed the goal, with Lee Peacock and Mark Hudson replacing Charles Ademeno and Dean Sinclair. The pattern remained the same, with Peacock shooting straight at Dormand having been played in, unselfishly, by Connell. But Connell did have a chance for his hat trick, but his effort was blocked at the near post. Before the end Rob Eagle had two shots, one saved from close range and the other from 25 yards that flew just wide.
As the game went into added time, the 48 Redditch faithful fans started doing the Conga.
As one sided as this game had been, there are positives for Neil Woods to take from the game - Sinclair`s undoubted class; the developing partnership of Connell and Ademeno; and match fitness ahead of a busy league schedule.
Kenny Arthur ; Bradley Wood ; Rob Atkinson ; Darran Kempson ; Lee Ridley ; Michael Coulson ; Dean Sinclair (Mark Hudson) ; Micky Cummins ; Alan Connell Peter Bore (Rob Eagle) ; Charles Ademeno (Lee Peacock).
Subs not used : Steve Croudson ; Scott Garner.
Scorers : Coulson (14), Connell (26 & 69)
James Dormond; Kevin Spence; Shaun Timmings; Jordan Fitzpatrick; Lee Ayres; Joseph Hull; Samuel Manson; Adam Newbury; Marco Adaggio; Phillip Green; Nathan Smith (Rob Ager).
Subs not used : Jemiah Richards; Luke Edwards; Joshua Quaynor.
Attendance : 1,116
Referee : Scott Duncan