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Town Express Themselves at Orient

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 17/10/2020 (Last updated: 18/10/2020)

GRIMSBY came from behind to beat Leyton Orient in an exciting match in which substitute Montel Gibson scored his first-ever goal for the club, from the spot, in the dying minutes of the game. The penalty came from a charging run from Windsor which was only ended by a mistimed challenge from former Mariner Craig Clay.

It was an exciting climax to the game, in which the home side had taken an early lead, a lead which then changed hands, and both sides levelled before the later winner. There was still time for more controversy thanks to a strong penalty claim for a handball on the ground by Waterfall, which saw angry remonstrations to the officials from the Orient players and staff in the post-match scenes.

Town boss Ian Holloway shuffled his pack once again, making no less than five changes to the side, and switching to a 5-3-2 formation. This looks to be the pattern for this season with Grimsby playing two games a week for the foreseeable future. Rose, Williams, Taylor, Green and Windsor all came into the side, with Edwards, Tilley, Morton, Gibson and Ohman dropping to the bench. James Hanson did not even feature as a substitute, despite his cameo role from the bench on Tuesday night in the win at Cheltenham.

Town started brightly, passing the ball around well, and their movement off the ball looked sharp. It was Orient though who drew first blood when Sotiriou split the Grimsby defence with a ball to Wilkinson who blasted the ball past McKeown.

The goal didn't deflate Town and they continued to look dangerous, and they looked like they would take the lead when a brilliant cross from Preston saw a Green flying header tipped over the bar. From the resultant corner, a Waterhall downwards header struck a combination of 'keeper and post to fly in across the face of goal and into the net.

With Town back in the game, it was the visitors who looked lively and Green stole the ball from the 'keeper who was slow collecting it before it was grabbed back off the striker's feet by a relieved 'keeper.

Town took the lead with a fantastic move. Windsor won the ball in midfield and split the Orient defence with a perfectly times pass to Williams who finished in style with a fine strike.

Both sides had spells of possession in what was left of the first half but there were no further goals and Town led 2-1 at the break.

The Mariners looked comfortable as the hour mark approached when the dynamic of the game changed as both sides brought on their subs. Morton and Edwards came on for Rose and Green and veteran winger Jobi McAnuff took the stage for the home side. McAnuff's presence on the pitch spurred Orient on and the Town front two were not retaining the ball as well as the two players they had replaced had.

Leyton Orient looked the more dangerous at this point and it was no surprise when the levelled the game through another sub, Jordan Maguire-Drew, who left Preston for dead on the right and side before cutting inside and firing past McKeown.

Grimsby looked more likely to conceded to score but continued to offer hope of nicking something on the break. They did just that thanks largely to a solo effort by Windsor who skipped past a couple of challenges in a mazy run, bursting into the box with the ball only to be hacked down by the pantomime villain Craig Clay, who had seemed desperate to get one over his former side.

Up stepped Gibson, who had been profligate against Cheltenham, to score from the spot and give Town a 3-2 lead with injury-time already underway.

There was still time for a final twist when a strong Orient attack saw a prone Waterfall appear to handle the ball on the ground but the ref waved play on.

The final whistle was greeted but jubilation by the Town players and anger directed at the officials from the Orient managerial staff.

Town made full use of their squad once again and they have talent throughout the group of players which Ian Holloway is selecting from every week. His clever use of different line-ups and formations makes it difficult for other sides (or fans) to know what to expect and, with so much raw talent at his disposal, it's a refreshing change from the tactics employed by some of his recent predecessors.

Town return to Blundell Park on Tuesday to face Harrogate who have started the season well, and who Grimsby beat on penalties in an EFL Trophy game in September, before another home game with Carlisle at the weekend.

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