Blue Square Bet Premier
Saturday 21 January 2012 - Blundell Park - kick off 3.00pm
||Matthews, Simpson, Jones (c), Gallinagh, Stonehouse, Murray (Cook 75), Connolly, Hogg (Russell 60), M Canham, Burnell, S Canham (Phillips 75). subs not used: Rollo, Preece.
|man of the match:
||A Fearn, A Pashley, G Chapman
|league position: 24th
||next match: Alfreton Town (H)
Report taken from
Manager Adie Britton suffered the heaviest defeat of his Twerton Park tenure as Grimsby Town laid their Bath City hoodoo to rest in emphatic fashion.
Blue Square Bet Premier’s top-scorer Liam Hearn helped himself to his fourth hat-trick of the season as the Mariners ran riot, with Andy Gallinagh scoring an own goal and gifting the hosts another as he made a less-than-auspicious return to the City side, having signed for the club permanently on Friday.
Results elsewhere favoured City, however, and the division’s bottom side are still only five points adrift of safety ahead of Tuesday night’s huge relegation showdown at home to Alfreton Town (7.45pm).
“The side are desperately disappointed,” said City boss Britton, whose side had not been beaten by Grimsby in their four previous meetings. “But it’s self-inflicted. We know that. If we were a side that couldn’t pass the ball or we hadn’t won for weeks and weeks we would be particularly worried, but in these circumstances we still feel we can get out of this.
“Today is a one off, we can bounce back and Tuesday’s game is crucial.”
For the first 20 minutes there was only one side in the game - and that side was City as in-form Grimsby reeled under wave after wave of attack. Even when they managed to get out of their own penalty area the home side could only resort to wind-assisted down field punts that Linford Christie would have struggled to reach, let alone the slightly less pacy Hearn.
Yet despite all their possession City only managed one shot on target during this period, Adam Connolly firing straight at Grimsby keeper James McKeown in the ninth minute.
Once that 20-minute mark had been reached it was a different story, as all of City’s old frailties from the start of the season re-emerged. City failed to clear as the ball bobbled around in defence and Hearn gave his side the lead against the run of play, scoring from ten yards with a power that left Jamie Matthews standing.
From then it became scrappy as neither side could assert any real dominance over the other and certainly not over the elements, with the blustery conditions making every ball in the air something of a lottery.
City then had their best chance to get back on level terms six minutes before the interval. A long ball was played downfield by Sekani Simpson for Sean Canham to chase and, with the forward pressing the Grimsby backline, Scott Garner clearly played the ball down with his arm.
While City protested for a penalty that never came, Grimsby broke away to win their first corner of the match. Quickly-taken, it landed roughly on the penalty spot and Gallinagh put the ball in his own net as he attempted a clearance.
Despite being 2-0 down at the interval there was still hope. Until then the sides had looked evenly matched and, after all, City come back from a two-goal deficit in their previous two matches against the Mariners.
However, the days of last season and the visitors’ role as the Blue Square Bet Premier’s comeback kings never looked likely to be re-enacted as Gallinagh’s nightmare continued.
With the second half only a minute old, City’s latest recruit tried a back-pass so much of the hospital variety that the ball could have been sponsored by the NHS. Instead of going anywhere near Matthews it fell straight to Hearn, who, without so much as a thank-you, slotted it home.
It was as demoralising a goal as City had conceded all season and as their confidence drained away so the score mounted.
Just over ten minutes Hearn tussled with Joe Burnell, who misjudged a long ball in the swirling breeze. Matthews came off his line, only for Hearn to lob the keeper with a dexterity that had the home crowd roaring its pleasure at their leading striker’s treble.
City brought on Alex Russell for a struggling Lewis Hogg and later Jamie Cook and Lee Phillips replaced Scott Murray and Sean Canham. It did little to either stem the goal tide or make the attack any more penetrative.
Goal five came when Keirman Hughes-Mason got on the end of another long ball which Matthews fumbled, leaving the substitute with a tap-in from no more than a yard.
The visitors’ misery was rounded off when another substitute, Anthony Church, fired through a crowd of players from the edge of the 18-yard box after City again failed to deal with a corner.