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A spring day out on the Lincolnshire coast took me to Cleethorpes for a vital clash to avoid relegation from the EFL between 22nd place Grimsby & 23rd place Barnet at a sunny mild Blundell Park.
Martin Allen's Bees were first to threaten on 3 minutes when striker Shaquille Coulthurst found himself in a shooting position just outside the box but he lifted his effort just over the bar. Grimsby's first attack led to the games first goal on 6 minutes. After JJ Hooper's effort was deflected for a corner, Luke Summerfield's delivery was headed on by Hooper for veteran defender Danny Collins to fire home with aplomb. Encouraged by the early goal Hooper tried a 20 yard effort which was well saved by Bees keeper Craig Ross. Barnet were struggling to get a foothold in the game & on 25 minutes an Andrew Fox cross from the left was headed wide by Summerfield when he was unchallenged & should have at least hit the target. Barnet started to come into the game more in the latter part of the half & centre back Michael Nelson had a header comfortably saved by James McKeown in the Mariners goal. The Bees even had time to waste two free kicks in dangerous positions before the half time whistle.
HT Mariners 1 Bees 0
Martin Allen must have verbally ripped into his troops during the interval as Barnet started the second period with more vigour but on 50 minutes Grimsby really should have added to their lead as forward Harry Cardwell found himself with a shooting opportunity 12 yards out but he wastefully blazed his effort well over the bar. Mariners followers were made to rue their sides missed opportunities when Barnet equalised on 62 minutes when ex Mariner Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro stabbed the ball home from just inside the area following good hold up play from big striker John Akinde. Barnet started to take control of the game after the equaliser & after another goalbound Akpa Akpro effort was blocked the Bees deservedly gained the advantage when midfielder Curtis Weston's shot took a wicked deflection wrongfooting McKeown. The Mariners needed a massive effort to get back into the game & salvation came just two minutes later when Grimsby substitute Harry Clifton sent in a lovely low cross & fellow sub Simeon Jackson was fouled by Nelson to give the Mariners an 84th Minute penalty which top scorer Mitch Rose converted for his 7th League goal of the season. The remainder of the game & the 5 minutes of added time produced great endeavour but no real chances to leave honours even which suits the Mariners more than the Bees as the last three weeks of the regular season beckons.
FT Mariners 2 Bees 2
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