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Grimsby Trophy Dream Over After Defeat

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IT TOOK a cruel extra-time winner from Jon Shaw to end Grimsby Town's FA Trophy dream for another season.

The striker came off the bench to send the Mariners crashing out of the competition, as the Second Round replay finally went ahead at the third time of asking.

Jamie Chandler and James Curtis had twice put Gateshead in front, only for Paddy McLaughlin and substitute Jack Mackreth to bring Town back into tie.

But with six minutes to go until a potential shootout, Shaw found space in the box and ultimately snatched the decisive goal.

Despite the two cancellations, it was a replay worth waiting for as both sides put every ounce into keeping their Wembley dreams alive.

Mariners' boss Paul Hurst made four changes from the weekend victory over Barnet, with Paddy McLaughlin handed a rare start in midfield.

Paul Walker – the Youth team graduate – was also named in place of Danny Parslow, while Scott Brown, Jack Mackreth and Lenell John-Lewis all dropped to the bench.

Once again there were two familiar faces in the Gateshead ranks, with John Oster anchoring the midfield and Michael Rankine among the home substitutes.

Having been frustrated by two postponements, both sets of players could have been forgiven for being slow off the mark.

But while there were few chances in the opening minutes at the International Stadium, there was plenty of work-rate from Town.

The visitors had to survive a double warning sign, though, as Matty Pattison found time in James McKeown's penalty area.

On eight minutes, the winger controlled a Rob Ramshaw delivery, and perhaps should have done better than plunder over the crossbar.

Moments later, Pattison spurned another decent opportunity as he failed to connect from a good, central position.

It signalled a promising spell from the Heed, as Pattison and Ramshaw both looked to expose the inexperienced Walker at right-back.

But while they had to surrender a fair amount of possession to the hosts, the Mariners just about weathered the storm.

However, the visitors had to rely on a little help from Pattison again on 20 minutes, as yet another Gateshead attack came to nothing.

There was no such luck as the clock ticked on, though, as Chandler finally broke the deadlock after 27 minutes.

Latching on to a through ball from Valentin Gjokaj, Pattison resisted an effort on goal this time, and instead cut back for his team-mate.

And there was Chandler to accept responsibility, firing home from 12 yards – though McKeown did get a hand on the strike.

It was a wake-up call that Town desperately didn't want, and it could have been so much worse two minutes later – but for a well-timed interception from Shaun Pearson.

An innocuous delivery almost found its way through to Ramshaw, but the Mariners defender was on hand to snuff out the danger.

With ten minutes to go in the first half, the visitors had offered very little in attacking quarters.

That was until McLaughlin – who started his career just down the road at Premier League Newcastle United – marked his return to the team with real style.

Picking the ball up 25 yards from goal, the midfielder shifted on to his favoured left foot and found the back of the net with a beautiful strike.

In truth, being level at the break was a little more than Town had deserved.

But once they had got back on terms, the away side defended with their usual conviction, and had no other alarming moments.

Both managers resisted making changes at half-time, and the second 45 began just like the first – with the Mariners on the back foot.

Gateshead found more joy on the left-hand side, and the visitors had to rely on McKeown to keep the scores level.

With the second half no more than a minute old, Andrai Jones cut inside and fired goalwards, but he was ultimately denied by Town's number one.

Paul Hurst's men took less time to settle after the break, and they won a succession of corners as the home side were pushed back.

And the Mariners went close to snatching the lead on 53 minutes.

McLaughlin sent in a tempting delivery from the right, and Pittman's glancing header was only kept out by a superb save from Adam Bartlett in the Heed goal.

Finding plenty of space, McLaughlin continued to look the most likely for Town – and the Northern Irishmen may well have netted a second.

Nathan Arnold brushed past his marker and found McLaughlin, but the midfielder only could only send a tame, right-footed effort goalwards.

On the hour, McKeown was called into action at the other end, proving his worth as former Mariner Oster struck from distance.

As the tie gathered pace, the away stopped had to be at his best once again.

Oster clipped in behind the Town defence, and with the goal at his mercy, Chandler instead found McKeown in inspired form as he tipped away for a corner.

With 20 minutes to go in the tie, the Heed edged back in front through Curtis.

Coming up from the back, the defender sliced towards the bottom corner, and there was nothing McKeown or anyone in blue could do.

Hurst reacted by sending on Mackreth, Ross Hannah and John-Lewis.

And after trying everything they could, the Mariners got back into the tie courtesy of an element of good fortune.

In truth, Mackreth's cross should have been dealt with by Bartlett – but the ball somehow squirmed beneath his grasp and trickled across the line.

Mackreth almost snatched a winner after that, but the Town cause was dealt a blow as John-Lewis had to leave the pitch following a nasty- looking clash with Bartlett.

Having used all three substitutions, it meant the Mariners had to deal with extra-time a man down.

Town's cup dream may be over for another season, but with Nuneaton waiting in the Conference on Saturday, there is still plenty to play for.


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