Grimsby Town 1-0 Scunthorpe United: Holloway's side victorious in turgid Lincolnshire derby
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Ian Holloway's Grimsby Town edged Scunthorpe United to win 1-0 at Blundell Park in a derby which was lacking in clear-cut chances for either side.

It was a much needed three points for Grimsby, who have been plagued with issues on and off the field and had gone winless in their last five games heading into the derby.

The Iron never really got going and were wasteful whenever they got the ball into dangerous positions, as The Mariners pulled themselves to within a point of the Lincolnshire rivals.

Story of the game

Grimsby and Scunthorpe have played in the second tier of English football this century, however, neither entered this Lincolnshire Derby in the best of states.

Scunthorpe, though, were in better spirits after a 2-1 victory over Barrow in midweek lifted Neil Cox's side seven points above the relegation zone, where they have resided for much of the campaign.

Grimsby, on the other hand, lost 3-1 at bottom side Southend United in midweek, which left them just three points clear of the drop zone heading into this massive fixture at Blundell Park.

It was a lively, yet scrappy start to the game with strong challenges flying in from both sides in what certainly felt like a derby fixture despite no fans being present.

Quality on the ball was lacking, with both sides clearly lacking conviction and confidence going forward, chances were few and far between in the opening 20 minutes.

It was on the 20th-minute mark in fact that Felipe Morais found space down the right-hand side for Grimsby, with his deflected cross forcing a save from Mark Howard.

The subsequent corner produced the first goal from an unlikely scorer, as centre-back Mattie Pollock scrambled the ball over the line after Scunthorpe failed to clear.

It was only the second time in nine fixtures that The Mariners scored the first goal in the game. Still, the visitors almost replied instantly as Emmanuel Onariase headed wide after Abo Eisa delivered a wicked free-kick from the left-hand side.

The Iron responded well to going behind, grabbing hold of possession for large periods towards the end of the first half. Still, they struggled to get the ball to their creators Eisa in dangerous positions as Grimsby defended resolutely.

The second half started similarly to the first, with neither side prepared to play through the thirds, opting for a route one approach to their attacks which did not result to much in the way of clear-cut chances.

Scunthorpe were challenged with finding a way back into the game but did not offer much and were lacking inspiration in the final third, with Grimsby happy to hold onto what they had.

The main talking point of the half would be the challenges that were flying in, namely Jordan Clarke who could have easily seen red for his shoulder barge on substitute Owura Edwards as he looked to run past the defender.

Overall, the hosts easily held on to win their first home game since they beat Barrow by the same scoreline back in early November.

Takeaways

Grimsby more direct and it worked

Many of Grimsby's problems on the pitch this season have been of their own making, with mistakes at the back leading to goals being the theme of Town's season so far.

However, Holloway's side opted for a more direct, no-nonsense approach to their play against Scunthorpe, particularly when playing out from the back.

It took the pressure off the backline to play their way out from the back and out of the opposition press which has often resulted in disaster.

Scunthorpe turgid in attack

For the full 90 minutes, the away side struggled to create from open play, with Ryan Loft isolated as the sole striker and Scunthorpe's creators hassled off the ball at every opportunity.

Quality was lacking as the ball seemed to bypass the midfield whenever either side received possession in defence, and overall it was a limp performance from The Iron from back to front.

Stand-out players

Mattie Pollock and Elliot Hewitt

The make-shift centre-back partnership of Pollock and Hewitt, in the absence of the suspended Luke Waterfall, put in a solid display and were deserving of their clean sheet.

Only Southend have conceded more goals than Grimsby this season, so this will be a great confidence boost, particularly for Pollock who popped up with his third goal of the season to win the game.

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