Grimsby Town v ECFC 18.08.79
Grimsby Town v ECFC (L 1- 4)
Grimsby take their chances
by Roy Line
Grimsby Town: Batch, Dave Moore. Kevin Moore, Waters, Wigginton, Stone. Brolly, Ford, Liddell. Mitchell, Cumming Sub. Lester
Exeter City: O'Keefe Roberts P. Rogers M., Hore, Giles, Hatch, Neville, Pearson, Rogers P. Delve, Pullar.
Sub Roberts L
Referee: L Robinson. Sutton Coldfield
A 4-1 WIN over Exeter City at Blundell Park on Saturday gave Town and new manager George Kerr a dream start to the league season. The Mariners, promoted last term, got a great result against a club which finished high in the table at the end of the last campaign. The match, finely balanced even after Grimsby got a first minute goal, swung Town's way in the 67th minute when they made it 2-0 from a penalty. At this point Exeter were beginning to take a tighter grip in midfield where John Hore's impact influenced the central action. Grimsby needed another goal at this stage and when it came it dispelled the lingering doubts that City might pinch a point, though their attack had seldom looked capable of finding a way through the tight Grimsby defence. When Town got the lift they wanted, it was all over as a contest with Gary Liddell's two contrasting goals, superbly taken, providing the game with an exciting finish. It was the ability to stick the ball away when the chances arose which provided Town with the points and it was also the skills and individual con- tributions up front which pro- duced both the threat in Grimsby's attack and the goals themselves. In midfield the contest was stalemate. City matched Grimsby stride for stride so that the usual drive, service ,and domination we have come to expect from the Town engineroom fell a shade short. City were always in the game. They moved the ball around neatly in approach and might have posed a lot of problems but for the organistaion, sureness in the tackle and quickness to the ball displayed by the Town back four in which John Stone and Clive Wigginton sealed up the middle, with the Moore brothers in formidable, destructive mood. Apart from a shot by David Pullar which Nigel Batch smothered as he came off his line and two chances which were squandered early in the second half, the City attack lacked penetration and was wel! contained by the Tow rearguard. Only when the Mariner were 4-0 ahead did Exete develop any serious threat as they deserted defence to push forward. It was little more than a token effort in which Steve Neville took his chance well to score with an angled drive though Batch made two fine saves from Neville and Hore. But the goalmouth action and glory was Grimsby's in this game.
What a wonderful start: Straight from the kick off Bob Cumming made tracks along the left flank, crossed a good ball into the box and Jim Giles cut it out at the expense of a corner. Wigginton, got on the end of the flag kick to knock it down into the box where Cumming managed to twist and make contact with his head sending the ball into the net off the inside of the post. Exeter fought back well to offset the blow yet they could make no impression against the Grimsby defence. Vince O'Keefe in the City goal who kept his side in with a chance when saving at full stretch from Liddell. He was beaten all ends up with a cracking shot by the skilful Mkie Brolly who did not see the linesman's flag offisde go up when the ball was played to him. It was Brolly, whose control often had the City defenders in a tangle, who very nearly extended Town's lead with a well-drilled shot which swished past the foot of the post as O'Keefe went down too late. Again O'Keefe rescued his side with a fine one-handed stop in the top corner from a Cumming header. The anticipated push from City early in the second half was delivered with venom and pace and they should have made far better use of two chances which fell to Pearson and Peter Rogers. With all the goal to shoot at, they gave Batch a chance to get to the ball and, once this brief threat diminished, City were shut out on the edge of the Grimsby area until that late forlorn push. The turning point arrived with the 67th minute penalty awarded when Brolly, about to shoot from just inside the box, had his legs whipped away by Martin Rogers. Skipper Joe Waters took the kick. If he had not been his usual dominating self in mid- field, there was nothing amiss with his spot kick which put the issue beyond doubt. Shortly afterwards, City had another moment of agony when Phil Roberts, seeking to ease pressure when forced to head out for a corner, sent the ball bobbing slowly a mere whisker wide of the foot of the post with the helplessly positioned O'Keefe forced to stand and watch. But the best was still to come for Grimsby and for Liddell. City had given top scorer Tony Ford maximum attention which left Liddell with some space in which to operate. There was an element of for- tune even so, when in the 79th minute, a ball was deflected in flight off Ford and Liddell swept on to it clear of the City defence. O'Keefe raced off his line but Liddell beat him to the ball and chipped it with ice- cool precision into the net. Two minutes later, he scored again this time with a spec- taculare 20 yard drive right into the top corner. Again he was left unmarked folloing a free kick. The ball came out to him just outside the crowded box. He brought it down, took one pace forward and despatched it with slide- rule accuracy just under the angle of the woodwork. No wonder he raced in delight to acclaim the cheers of the Pontoon brigade. With Neville's 85th minute counter for City, the match produced a three-goal finale in the space of six minutes and sent the Town fans home happily looking forward to next Saturday's encounter with Blackpool.