GRIMSBY TOWN 5 (Proudlock (3), Akpa Akpro (2)) LINCOLN CITY 1 (N’Guessan (pen))
DATE: Saturday 7th March 2009 | COMPETITION: Coca-Cola League Two | VENUE: Blundell Park | ATT: 5133
Town: Henderson, Bennett, Atkinson, Newey, Clarke, Hegarty, Boshell, Kalala (Bore), Elliott (Widdowson), Proudlock (Jarman), Akpa Akpro. Subs not used: Forbes, Montgomery
MARINERS’ MAN OF THE MATCH: Adam Proudlock. A hat-trick of the highest order and a constant thorn in the Red Imps’ backline.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I was absolutely over the moon. To score and get a hat-trick was unbelievable, but to get the three points is the most important thing.” (Adam Proudlock_
A wonderful hat-trick from Adam Proudlock, and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro’s first two goals in English football ensured that the Mariners turned the form book upside down in the Lincolnshire derby.
The Red Imps were swept aside by a scintillating display of four goals in 12 second half minutes as the Mariners racked up their best home win of the season and pulled themselves out of the League Two drop zone.
Manager Mike Newell made drastic changes to his side, adopting a 3-5-2 system, and bringing in Tom Newey, Stuart Elliott and Proudlock for Joe Widdowson, Nathan Jarman and Adrian Forbes respectively.
It was the visitors who started the brighter though. Dany N’ Guessan tested Wayne Henderson from distance, before Anthony Elding fired wide from six yards after neat build-up by the French winger.
Lincoln captain Scott Kerr saw his cross evade everyone on the half hour as the visitors turned the screw. It was the home side who took the lead on 43 minutes though.
Nick Hegarty’s deep cross was narrowly missed by Jamie Clarke. Danny Boshell kept the ball moving and Elliott saw a shot charged down. Boshell swung the ball back in from the right, and Proudlock was on hand to expertly loop the ball home from 12 yards.
Town had their tails up and Jean-Paul Kalala came close to adding a second with a 20-yard drive after his initial effort was blocked.
The Mariners started the second half in similar form. Hegarty advanced down the left and his cross evaded Elliott; Akpro heading just wide of Rob Burch’s goal.
The visitors gradually forced their way back into the game though and drew level on the hour. Tom Newey was harshly adjudged to have handled inside the area and N’Guessan stepped up to convert the penalty.
City were looking to press on and Henderson had to be alert to tip over Elding’s close range header as the game entered the final third.
Newell brought on fresh legs in the shape of Joe Widdowson, but nothing could have prepared Blundell Park for the astonishing 12-minute salvo that followed.
In the 78th-minute, Akpro won the ball on the left and played in the advancing Newey. The Town defender played a neat one-two with Hegarty, sidestepped two challenges and found himself with a shooting opportunity inside the area.
Newey found his root blocked, but the ball fell kindly for the lurking Akpro who lashed home his first goal for the club with the outside of his boot.
The Ivorian was at it again two minutes later. He raced clear on the left and crossed for Proudlock, but Burch got to the ball before the frontman. From the resulting corner Town added a third.
Akpro got his head to Boshell’s set piece, but Kerr cleared off the line, only for Proudlock to hammer home from close range. A further four minutes elapsed before the ex-Wolves man completed his hat trick.
Hegarty was the supply line this time with an accurate cross-field ball that was side-footed home by Proudlock inside the 18-yard box.
There was still time for the Mariners to add an emphatic fifth. It came from Akpro, who ran fully 40 yards with the ball, shrugging off challenges before sliding in to place the ball beyond the dive of Burch.