Concentrating on the league…

fa_cup_6057891Grimsby Town 2-0 Northampton Town

FA Cup Second Round

Saturday, December 7th 2013

Grimsby fans finally got their joyous moment against the Cobblers. In 2006, as they were waiting to party and invade the Blundell Park pitch, Ryan Gilligan stunned them all and the rest is history. On Saturday, the cup celebrations and the Mariner’s progression into Round Three, where they will meet Championship side Huddersfield Town, would have gone a long way to replacing their previous memories of games against Northampton Town.

The Cobblers suffered from sloppiness at the back and a lack of desire to go and win the game. We were inevitably caught out going for the draw and the replay that would have satisfied many. Grimsby weren’t messing about though and although our game plan worked up until a certain point it was destined to be shot down in the second half as the hosts pressed more and more and clinched it with two decent goals.

First, Shaun Pearson rose to meet Scott Kerr’s free kick and looped a header beyond Matt Duke to get the home crowd off their seats, from which they never really returned for the rest of the afternoon. Jacob Blyth was cutting a lonely figure up front and it was always going to be difficult for him to get in the game with the tactics so much leading to a defensive display.

After the goal, we did start to try and get back to where we wanted to be in clambering out a draw but the introductions of Clive Platt and, much too late in the day, Ishmel Demontagnac and Luke Norris, had only minimal success. Platt carved out a good chance on the turn but his left footed effort flew over the bar.

Grimsby kept trying to kill the game off and as we pressed for number two, Patrick McLaughlin wriggled his way through to seal it in stoppage time. It was one of the ‘upsets’ of the day with pretty slim pickings in the rest of the fixtures in that respect and the Cobblers now go back to the age old adage of focusing on the league.

That league campaign is still on dodgy ground despite the recent upturn in performances and we simply cannot afford to go for a draw at Bury on Saturday in what is an absolute crunch game against one of our rivals at the foot of the table. We’re severely lacking in goals away from Sixfields with 2013 a shocker of a year for results on the road.

If we can defeat the Shakers, though, we would be guaranteed to jump out of the bottom two at the weekend – that’s surely incentive enough for a group of players and the manager who need to get this cup exit forgotten about right away.

Finally, best of luck to Grimsby for the rest of the season and if they carry on the way they are we could well be rekindling the old rivalry once again come August!

Grimsby Town v Northampton Town – FA Cup Second Round Preview

fa_cup_6057891Grimsby Town v Northampton Town

FA Cup Second Round Round

Saturday, December 7th 2013

Going into the FA Cup First Round tie at Bishop’s Stortford there were more than a couple of questions over the future of Aidy Boothroyd. But three wins in five, including that victory over the Conference South outfit and a creditable draw at Chesterfield, have saved the Cobblers manager from serious interrogation from Cobblers fans and the board – for the time being at least!

It’s saying something, though, when you come into a cup game against a lower league opponent and feel like the underdogs. Indeed, you’ll struggle to find a bookie that have Town at shorter odds than the Mariners going into the weekend.  Grimsby are fourth in the Conference coming into the game and haven’t been beaten since mid-October, making them as dangerous a non-league side as we could possibly come up against at this point in the competition.

After easing past Rushall Olympic in the Fourth Qualifying Round, they were paired with local rivals Scunthorpe United in the First Round. A goalless draw at Blundell Park in the first game was followed by a famous victory for the Mariners in the replay as Lennell John-Lewis and Clayton McDonald scored either side of a Terry Hawkridge goal for the Irons to set them up for the Cobblers tie.

The game will once again be in the spotlight from the TV audience, albeit as one of the main games on the highlights show on Saturday night, so there’s again the sense that we could be on the end of an “upset”. Big emphasis on the inverted commas there!

We’re one step away from a potentially huge game in Round Three so the gradual transformation of this season could be accelerated big time if we can come through this latest cup examination.

O' Donovan...back in the squad

O’ Donovan…back in the squad

Team News…

Grimsby are without Liam Hearn who limped out of last weekend’s victory over Barnet with cruciate ligament damage. That could that mean young forward Dayle Southwell gets another chance after scoring a second half hat-trick in Tuesday night’s FA Trophy Second Round victory over Coalville Town. Andy Cook, meanwhile, is expected to be fit after coming off in the last few minutes of that game.

The Cobblers are without Izale McLeod who has already played in the FA Cup this season with MK Dons but Roy O’Donovan is back in full training after recovering from a double hernia operation so could return in his place. Clive Platt made a strong return last week and will do battle with O’Donovan, Jacob Blyth and Luke Norris for the starting places up front. Chris Hackett served a one match ban in the win over Accrington Stanley so he returns to the side but Stuart Dallas hasn’t been given permission to play in the cup by parent club Brentford so he misses out.

Previous Six Meetings…

02/04/10: Grimsby 1-2 Cobblers (League Two)

As the Cobblers rose back up the league towards a near miss on the top seven, Grimsby were teetering dangerously in the bottom two. Liam Davis gave us the lead before Michael Coulson levelled just before half-time. The game turned on Grimsby’s Olly Lancashire being sent off ten minutes after the break and Bayo Akinfenwa scored the winning goal to send the hosts closer to the Conference.

14/11/09: Cobblers 0-0 Grimsby (League Two)

There were more red cards in the other game between the sides from that season as the Cobblers’ Peter Gilbert and Grimsby’s Rob Atkinson both saw red in an otherwise uneventful Sixfields clash.

21/11/06: Grimsby 0-2 Cobblers (FA Cup First Round Replay)

After a Sixfields draw in the first game, the Cobblers – finding their feet in League One – came through a difficult replay thanks to a Justin Whittle own goal and Joe Burnell’s strike just on half-time. There would be disappointment in Round Two, though, as Town crashed out 4-1 at Barnet.

11/11/06: Cobblers 0-0 Grimsby (FA Cup First Round)

Ten days earlier, the sides played out a tame goalless draw at Sixfields to set up the replay.

06/05/05: Grimsby 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)

With the Cobblers having been promoted a week earlier, we headed to Grimsby ready for a party and looking to prevent the Mariners from earning that win that would have taken them into League One with us. It looked to be going very much to plan for them when Jean-Paul Kalala stroked home a penalty with fifteen minutes to go but there was still time for the most dramatic of finishes to the season. Leyton Orient, in fourth place and chasing Grimsby going into the final day, suddenly scored a last minute winner at Oxford United and it was suddenly all on events at Blundell Park. With home fans preparing for a pitch invasion, Ryan Gilligan stunned them all with an injury time equaliser that meant that it would be Orient promoted in Grimsby’s place. They never really recovered from that moment, losing in the playoff final and suffering relegation to the Conference in 2010. More on that game here.

11/11/06: Cobblers 0-0 Grimsby (League Two)

A much less eventful game earlier in the season saw the sides share the spoils in a disappointing game at Sixfields.

The man in the middle…

The official charged with taking this one is Scott Mathieson. Mathieson was recently involved in Fleetwood’s epic 5-4 win over Mansfield Town in League Two and last refereed a Cobblers game just over a year ago in the 2-1 defeat at Oxford United, during which he sent off Clarke Carlisle.

Prediction…

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I would take a replay and a place in the hat for Round Three from this one. Grimsby are in a fine run of form in league and cup and proved against Scunthorpe that they’re not to be messed with. I’m going for a draw and to get them back to Sixfields following what could be a big cup draw on Sunday. 1-1.

grimsby

Cup date set as Grimsby upset the Iron

After last night’s dramatic FA Cup First Round Replay at Glanford Park, we now know that the Cobblers will be reunited with Grimsby Town in the Second Round with the teams now just one win away from the ‘big guns’. The Mariners overcame their rivals thanks to goals from Lennell John-Lewis and Clayton McDonald with the victory the final straw for the powers that be at Scunny – manager Brian Laws was shown the door today.

The next round now sees the Cobbler travelling to Blundell Park for the first time since a Good Friday encounter back in 2010 that we shaded 2-1. The sides have met in the competition before, the First Round in 2005/06 when we won through after a replay. The tie will take place on Saturday, December 7th and has been chosen as one of the main games for that night’s highlights show on ITV so the upset hunters at that organisation get another go at highlighting a potential banana skin for Aidy Boothroyd!

Big league games to get through before that though with our build up containing a long trip to Hartlepool United on Saturday and then to Chesterfield on Tuesday night before a crunch battle with Accrington Stanley at Sixfields. The Mariners, currently fourth in the Conference Premier, face Barnet in the league, Coalville Town in the FA Carlsberg Trophy and Welling back in the league ahead of hosting the Cobblers.

There’s plenty of recent history between the clubs with Wembley in 1998 and then that final game of the season in 2006 so it should be a good battle, especially with the carrot of Round Three dangling there for the winners.

First, though, let’s get more league places between us!