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Clutching at Straws

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 03/01/2021

FANS can look to an improved second-half performance against Cambridge for hope that new boss Paul Hurst is beginning to turn things around. It may be clutching at straws, but it's all we have got.

The Mariners looked dead and buried at half time with a 2-0 deficit and the combination of their poor scoring record and Cambridge's ability to seemingly score at will. However, the Mariners fought back and Hewitt scored with his head to give Town a lifeline. Grimsby threw the kitchen sink at Cambridge and probably deserved a point, but the elusive equaliser was denied them.

Paul Hurst made just two changes, James Tilley and Kyle Bennett coming into the team, which meant Williams was benched and Edwards has left the club.

Hearts sunk after an early Cambridge goal continued the pattern of games under Holloway. A poor clearance by Hewitt fell to May, whose shot would probably have been saved by Russell but took a crucial deflection which gave Town's keeper no chance.

Cambridge should have gone 2-0 up when Mullin found Knibbs, but Russell made a good save from close range.

Town had most of the possession but Cambridge doubled their lead when Darling play Mullin through, who beat Pollock for pace and blasted it past Russell for a clinical finish.

Grimsby had little to show for their first-half efforts and Cambridge had managed to convert most of their chances, a familiar tale.

After the break, Bennett had a golden chance when picked out by Morais, but headed wide when unmarked near the penalty spot.

Bennett's corners seem to improve after the break and Gibson had a chance saved from one of them. The winger though did turn provider with 20 minutes to go when his cross picked out Hewitt whose glancing header went over the 'keeper and into the net to make the score 2-1.

Williams and Jackson came on for Bennett and Green and Town threw everything at Cambridge. Morais made a number of crosses that nobody got on the end of and the Mariners had a succession of corners, many of which were close.

In the end, though the full-time whistle blew. Certainly, the team that finished the game seemed stronger than the one that started it. Paul Hurst will need to plug the numerous gaps with some transfers that hit the ground running if he is to plug the gaps in a poor squad that he has inherited from Ian Holloway. Top of the list is a target man.

Town travel to Port Vale on Saturday so Hurst has a week to work with his players on the training ground, as well as to bring in some new blood.

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