Saturday 16-12-06, COCA-COLA LEAGUE TWO
Alan Buckley’s patched-up Grimsby Town side succumbed 2-0 in their highly anticipated derby with Lincoln City at Sincil Bank. It was referee Mike Riley who stole the headlines though with a series of questionable decisions.
Buckley was forced into several changes ahead of the match, which hampered his side’s preparation. Gary Jones slotted into defence, in place of the suspended Nick Fenton, and with Tom Newey and Gary Croft both struggling; Town’s defence was stretched to its limits.
Peter Bore returned on the right in place of Peter Till, and Isaiah Rankin partnered Martin Paterson up front. The biggest surprise of all though was Michael Reddy’s inclusion on the substitute’s bench just a week after receiving the all-clear to return to training.
Town had the first real opening of the match when Paterson drifted into the area and was floored by an errant boot, but referee Riley waved away the Town protests. The young striker then charged down a clearance, which was collected by Isaiah Rankin, who saw his shot saved by Red Imps’ goalkeeper Alan Marriott.
As the game drifted towards half-time Lincoln began to seize the initiative and took the lead on 43 minutes, although it wasn’t without controversy. Justin Whittle and Jamie Forrester both went for a cross and the latter appeared to get the last touch. The assistant referee flagged for a goal kick but Riley overruled the decision and awarded a corner from which the Red Imps duly scored – Forrester swivelling to hammer home a knock down.
Incredibly it could have been two before half-time as Phil Barnes made a last ditch save from Lee Beevers. The second half saw Buckley try to switch things around a little; introducing Harkins, Reddy and Boshell to the mix, and moving Gary Jones back up front. The ex-Tranmere striker was sent off 66 minutes when Riley spotted an elbow on Nat Brown, despite a lack of reaction from either side.
With just ten men Town’s hopes had gone and on 73 minutes the hosts sealed the win. Lee Frecklington ghosted in unmarked from a throw-in to hammer the ball home. The Mariners were also indebted to Gary Croft for keeping the score down as the Town defender cleared a Lee Beevers effort off the line.