The Mariners came into the game against Blackpool after a heavy 5-1 defeat against the league leaders, Doncaster, a week ago. Despite the horrific result, over 1,500 Town fans travelled to the Fylde Coast to watch a clash of two fallen giants.
Of course, it was not that long that Blackpool were playing their trade in the Premier League. Their fall from grace, along with the frustration with the club’s owner has seen a dramatic fall in attendance.
Blackpool came into the game with one eye on the play-offs, whilst Grimsby seemed to be planning for next season. However, the omens looked good for the Mariners; the last time they had lost away at Blackpool was in an FA Cup clash in 1991.
Grimsby seemed to play the better football in the first-half and they appeared to be more up-for it then Blackpool. Defensively, they looked solid; the midfield looked comfortable and the attack looked dangerous. Early-on, you could sense that Grimsby weren’t going to settle for anything less than 3-points.
It took Town 17 minutes to break the deadlock. Danny Collins headed the ball-in at the back-post from a superb cross; sending the following Town fans into mass-hysteria.
All looked good and well from Grimsby. They continued to press and cause trouble for the Blackpool full-backs, who were struggling to deal with the pace from Osbourne, Jones and Dyson.
Blackpool didn’t offer much in attack, until late on the first-half when McKeown had to come to the rescue on a couple of occasions. However, he could do nothing on 43 minutes when Boyce managed to divert a shot/cross with his head into his own net – just when you thought they were going to end the half with a clean-sheet.
This didn’t stop the travelling fans from singing though. A sarcastic applause was given when, for the first time, the Blackpool fans started making some noise.
The goal clearly had an impact on the Seasiders and not too long after finding a leveller, they almost made it 2-1, just missing the target by a few yards.
But, the team in black and white didn’t stop fighting, and before the first-half was over, Sam Jones managed to net Town’s second of the game from close range.
In the second-half, Blackpool played the better football and forced McKeown into some very important saves, including one he cleared off the line.
The defence looked solid and assured, with both full-backs putting in strong challenges, causing much frustration to the opposing team.
Despite Grimsby’s strong defensive performance, they lacked much imagination in the attacking half of the field and were subjected to constant and fruitless long-balls. But, eventually Town did get a breakthrough as Sam Jones cut-in from the right-wing to go one-on-one with the Blackpool keeper and then score, securing all 3 points on the 70th minute. Game over!
The Blackpool fans had had enough and were seen starting to leave.
With all 3 points seemingly in the bag, Town started to relax and play again, much to the frustration of the Blackpool players, with Brad Potts, Ian Black and Tom Aldred all receiving yellow cards very late on in the match.
So, at full-time it finished Blackpool 1, Grimsby 3. A well-deserved victory. Neither side played attractive football, but none-the less it was still an entertaining game with strong challenges, well-worked goals and also some fiery head-to-head encounters. The travelling Town fans played their part in the win, and it clearly had an effect on both sets of players. It felt more like a home match than an away and Grimsby used this encouragement to their advantage. Town’s stand-out performers were Zak Mills, Danny Collins, James McKeown and Sam Jones.
The fans sang their hearts out, before, during and after the game. An ‘anti-Oyston’ song was also sang too, in support of the Blackpool fan’s trust – which was nice to hear.
Hopefully, both of these fallen giants will be playing in divisions higher in a few years, but a lot of work needs to be done on the pitch before they can start dreaming of such things.
Another mention has to go again to the town support, after a disastrous couple of results, it was important to show the team they still had their support. But, with results like this, one can only wonder where they would be in the table if they had picked-up more points in February and March.