AFC Telford 1 Grimsby Town 2
GRIMSBY Town registered their second away victory in five days as they claimed all three points against AFC Telford United at the New Bucks Head.
The Mariners followed up their win against Alfreton with a success in Shropshire to climb into the Blue Square Bet Premier play-off places.
Nathan Pond put Town ahead early in the first half but the hosts drew level through striker Steve Jones.
But Grimsby were back in front six minutes before half-time, when the recalled Ian Miller scored what proved to be the winning goal.
The result added further weight to the visitors’ growing promotion challenge and lifted them to fourth in the table.
Miller came into the Town starting XI in place of Shaun Pearson in what was the only change to the side that won in Derbyshire in midweek.
James McKeown started in goal, with Bradley Wood, Miller, Pond and Aswad Thomas forming the defence.
Joe Colbeck, Craig Disley, Derek Niven and Scott Neilson were the midfielders and Anthony Elding was again given the nod to partner Ross Hannah up front.
Pearson’s absence meant a change was also made on the bench, with Simon Ford coming in alongside Sam Hatton, Frankie Artus, Andy Cook and Dayle Southwell.
Telford looked likely to provide a threat to Grimsby’s club record away run of 13 games unbeaten, having registered an impressive 4-1 success on the road at Dartford in midweek.
Top scorer Kieron St Aimie would be out to add to his tally for the Shropshire side and put pressure on the division’s meanest defence.
The hosts had the first attempt at goal through midfielder Richard Davies on two minutes but his 30-yard effort flew wide of McKeown’s net.
A foul by Thomas gave Telford a free kick two minutes later and it almost led to the opening goal, with McKeown having to tip Seven Leslie’s shot away for a corner.
A free kick at the other end came after a foul on Hannah and Colbeck’s delivery led to Disley having a shot blocked.
The home side threatened again when St Aimee had his first shot of the game on nine minutes, although McKeown got down to his right to make the save.
Thomas was fouled as he looked to get a cross in from the Town left two minutes later and the resulting free kick led to the opening goal.
Colbeck’s delivery was met by POND at the far post and he headed past home keeper Ryan Young for his fourth goal of the season.
The game then entered a scrappy phase, before a Kris Taylor cross was cut out by the Town defence.
A break by Disley then led to Neilson having a chance to double the Mariners’ advantage but after beating a string of defenders, the on-loan Crawley man put his shot over the bar.
That proved costly, as the home side equalised on 21 minutes, when a cross from Luke Hubbins on the right was swept into the net by striker JONES.
St Aimee looked to create another shooting chance for Telford soon afterwards after being fed by Hubbins but he was blocked by Colbeck.
Town’s response came soon afterwards, when a cross from Wood on the right was met by Hannah but his header went just wide of the post.
A foul on Elding brought another Grimsby free kick and again, Colbeck’s cross from it was headed by Pond but this time, his effort was cleared.
Another Wood cross was headed on by Niven at the far post, only for Hannah to be flagged offside.
Town won a corner on 28 minutes on the left and again, it was Niven who got a head to the ball but it did not trouble Young, with the ball going over the bar.
At the other end, Davies hit a shot well over the bar, before a Taylor cross from the left was cut out by Disley.
Another shot from Neilson went over the top as Grimsby continued to create chances, while an effort from Leslie proved comfortable for McKeown as the hosts also looked to get themselves in front.
A Wood cross was flicked away for a corner on 35 minutes but Colbeck’s kick went out of play for a throw-in to Telford on the opposite side.
Disley was given a free kick on the halfway line four minutes later after a late challenge by Davies and from it, the Mariners reclaimed their lead.
The ball was played in towards the penalty area by Wood and after a Colbeck shot broke loose, MILLER was there to hit a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net from 18 yards.
Hubbins became the first to be shown a yellow card for a foul on Thomas but this time, the free kick from Colbeck beat everybody and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Colbeck went down inside the box as the half moved into stoppage time but the referee waved his penalty claims away.
That meant it remained 2-1 to the visitors at the break after an open first half, with goals from both Town centre-backs making the difference at the halfway point.
Nathan Rooney replaced Davies in the Telford midfield before the restart and Town had the first chance of the second period, with Colbeck sending a right-footed shot over the bar.
St Aimie tried to create an opportunity for the home side six minutes in but Niven won the ball as the striker looked to play it through for Jones.
A Telford corner was headed away by Elding on 54 minutes but the hosts kept the ball until a cross from Leslie was taken by McKeown.
Disley gave away a free kick for a foul on St Aimie in the centre circle, which also saw the Town skipper booked.
The free kick led to a low shot by centre-back Jordan Rose but again, McKeown got down to gather the ball.
Elding then had a shot deflected through to keeper Young, before seeing another shot go over the bar soon afterwards after being picked out by Colbeck.
A Thomas cross was blocked for a corner on the hour but Colbeck’s kick was headed away, before Rose put the ball out for a Town throw on the other side.
Rooney was yellow-carded for a foul on Thomas but Grimsby were unable to capitalise from the resulting free kick.
A foul by Wood gave Telford a free kick on the left side of the Town penalty area on 70 minutes but Leslie’s delivery was cleared for a corner, which was also dealt with by the Grimsby defence.
Left-back Taylor was replaced by James Spray for the hosts with 15 minutes to go, before Colbeck went down under a challenge on the edge of the Telford area, although no free kick was given.
Leslie had a shot deflected behind for a corner soon afterwards as the home team looked to get back into the game but after McKeown punched the ball clear, Rose sent a follow-up shot wide.
Jones also fired wide on 79 minutes, before the first Grimsby substitution of the afternoon saw Cook come on in place of Hannah.
Telford won a corner two minutes later but midfielder Phil Trainer could only glance his header across goal from it and Elding cleared.
Trainer was then booked for a foul on Wood but the free kick was cleared.
With six minutes left, Rose tried his luck from long range but his shot flew over the bar and Town’s lead remained intact.
Artus replaced Neilson on the Grimsby left with four minutes to go, before Elding nearly profited from a short back-pass by Rose but could only prod the ball out for a goal kick.
At the other end, Town were defending well when they needed to, with Pond calmly heading back to McKeown after a long ball forward.
Four added minutes were signalled by the fourth official and Spray had a chance to level the scores in the first of them when he took advantage of a rare defensive mistake and lobbed McKeown but the ball also cleared the bar.
Southwell replaced Elding for the final stages of the game, as Town closed it out to claim another vital three points.
The Mariners now take a break from league action as they host Kidderminster Harriers in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.