Grimsby Town 1 Hyde 0
GRIMSBY Town kept their play-off destiny in their own hands as they beat relegated Hyde at Blundell Park.
Patience was the key word among the players and home supporters as they were made to wait until 15 minutes from time for Ross Hannah to open the scoring.
And in the end, one goal proved enough for Town to claim all three points, which could see them seal a play-off place if Braintree fail to beat Barnet in the day’s late kick-off.
One change was made to the Town side that drew with Alfreton on Good Friday, with Chris Doig coming in for Shaun Pearson, who was one booking away from a suspension.
James McKeown started in goal, with Sam Hatton, Doig, Andrew Boyce and Aswad Thomas forming the defence.
Scott Neilson, AndI Thanoj, Scott Kerr and Paddy McLaughlin made up an unchanged midfield, with Hannah’s three goals in Derbyshire ensuring he was again given the nod to partner Lenell John-Lewis in attack.
The Grimsby substitutes were Joe Colbeck, Andy Cook, Clayton McDonald, Jamal Fyfield and Oumare Tounkara.
Hyde made the journey from Greater Manchester looking to spring a major surprise and register only their second win of the season.
Scott McNiven’s Tigers have been rooted to the bottom of the table for the vast majority of the campaign and will play their football in the Skrill North next season.
After a quiet opening to the game, Town won the first corner on six minutes but Boyce headed over the bar from Kerr’s left-wing delivery.
The first shot on target came from the visitors when a good build-up led to striker Jordan Clark cutting in from the left and firing a low shot that was comfortable for McKeown to stop.
Another warning shot came when more neat football from the visitors again led to Clark having an opportunity but his cross-shot went out of play at the far post.
A foul on John-Lewis gave Kerr an opportunity to swing a free kick into the Hyde box, although the ball was headed clear by centre-back Darren Thornton.
The next free kick came on 16 minutes in a similar position on the Town left, with Boyce heading Kerr’s ball straight at visiting keeper Chris Kettings.
James Kirby hit a long-range shot for Hyde that called McKeown into action but the Grimsby stopper dived to make the save and hold the ball.
Town were yet to cause any real problems for the away defence at the 20-minute mark, although a move through the middle looked promising until Neilson was caught offside.
The first good chance for the Mariners came when a ball from McLaughlin sent Hannah through down the left. The striker took it into the box and cut in but his shot was well blocked by Kettings for a corner as John-Lewis wanted the ball squared for him.
Town were starting to take the initiative and Neilson set off on a run through the middle that took him into the penalty area but the winger slipped under a challenge from Thornton.
Soon afterwards, McLaughlin took the ball on the left and hit a low shot from the edge of the box, although Kettings got down to make a comfortable save.
Boyce headed over the bar from another Kerr corner on 31 minutes, before the best chance of the game so far saw Hannah go through on goal after a ball from John-Lewis but after doing everything right, the striker’s chipped shot came back off the post.
Another Town corner came eight minutes before the break and after initially playing it short, Kerr got the ball back and cut inside before playing a low cross which was cut out by Kettings at his near post.
Hyde captain Alex Brown turned and shot from 25 yards two minutes later as the visitors launched an attack but McKeown dived to keep the ball out.
Regan walker then went close after a spell of possession from the away side, with Thomas forced to dive and block the striker’s shot for a corner.
One added minute was played at the end of the half and a half-chance came for Thanoj after a ball from Neilson but his chip to the far post sailed out for a goal kick.
That proved to be the last chance of a frustrating first half for the home supporters, as their side had been on top but failed to find a breakthrough in what was becoming an increasingly nervy afternoon.
No changes were made before the restart and the first opportunity to get the ball into the box came when a free kick was hoisted towards the far post by Kerr.
Referee Declan Ford ruled there had been an infringement as keeper Kettings dropped the ball and gave a free kick to the away side.
John-Lewis was brought down in a central position five minutes in but Hannah’s shot from 25 yards did not trouble Kettings as it flew over the bar.
Hyde won the first corner of the half in front of their travelling supporters but nobody could connect with Clark’s left-wing delivery.
Midfielder Liam Tomsett flashed a low shot wide of McKeown’s far post, before John-Lewis fired high and wide at the other end.
A brief delay came for Hyde’s Brown to receive treatment after going down injured in the centre circle and the Tigers’ skipper was eventually replaced by Jordan Lazenbury.
A second substitution saw David McNiven replace Kirby for the away team three minutes after the hour.
Town created a chance soon afterwards when Hatton got to the byline and pulled the ball back for John-Lewis but his shot was lifted over the bar.
Mariners boss Paul Hurst chose that moment to make a double substitution, sending on Tounkara and Colbeck in place of John-Lewis and Thomas, with McLaughlin moving to left-back.
Some early skill from Tounkara brought the home crowd to life as the changes seemed to momentarily galvanise the Mariners.
But as time ticked on, there were more frequent glances towards the scoreboard as the hosts continued to show few real signs of opening the scoring.
In a flash, that changed as the deadlock was finally broken with 15 minutes to go. Tounkara won a header to send HANNAH through and he kept his nerve to cut in and fire home from the edge of the box to put the Mariners ahead.
The same strike partnership combined again three minutes later and almost made the points safe. This time, it was Hannah who played the ball for Tounkara but his well-struck shot brought a good save out of Kettings.
Hatton gave away a free kick right on the edge of his own penalty area but it was wasted by Clark, who hit a shot that missed the target and went out at the far post for a goal kick.
Hyde were rarely threatening and a long-range shot from Connor Hughes proved easy for McKeown with three minutes to go.
At the other end, a Kerr free kick was met by Boyce at the far post but after he headed back across goal, the ball was cleared from danger.
Fyfield came on for Neilson with 89 minutes on the clock as Town looked to make sure they collected all three vital points.
Doig had to time a challenge on Clark top perfection inside his own penalty area as Hyde launched a quick break with the match moving into four added minutes.
Town kept attacking in search of a second goal and Hannah had a shot blocked but in the end, one goal was enough to secure maximum points.
All eyes then turned to the televised clash between Barnet and Braintree to see if that meant Town would secure their top five position today.
If not, the Mariners can make sure their season continues by recording a positive result in their last game of the regular campaign at Braintree on Saturday.