Grimsby treble leaves Ipswich reeling

Grimsby 3 – Ipswich Town 0Manchester United may be able to score three goals in the last five minutes, but this was a task beyond a tired-looking Ipswich Town tonight.

Grimsby 3 – Ipswich Town 0

Manchester United may be able to score three goals in the last five minutes, but this was a task beyond a tired-looking Ipswich Town tonight.

There's no doubt that goals breed confidence. Grimsby had only scored once at home this season, and Town fans must have hoped that Ambrose's late winner against Wimbledon on Sunday would have brought the confidence the players needed for this important match. But an early mistake by Matt Holland meant that Grimsby were the team who took the lead, and they gained in confidence with every goal they scored.

Ipswich started the game brightly with an attack in the first minute, which ended with Counago heading over the bar. Town continued to apply good pressure, making two more positive attacks in the opening minutes and winning a corner. Early signs looked as though they could go on to win the match comfortably.


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But on eight minutes Matt Holland made a mistake which put Kabba through on goal in Grimsby's first attack of the game. He took his chance and put the ball safely beyond Marshall, leaving Ipswich reeling.

In the following ten minutes, Ipswich tried to regroup, and continued to attack the Grimsby goal. But on 17 minutes, Wayne Brown fouled Kabba in the Ipswich area, and Poulton easily converted the resulting penalty making it 2-0.

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Grimsby's new confidence was now more than a match for Town's patient passing. Town made two more awful defensive mistakes on 19 and 25, each time letting Kabba through to go one-on-one with Andy Marshall. Only two excellent saves from the Town keeper stopped the game from becoming a rout.

Despite this, Town continued to threaten the Grimsby goal. Finidi George had an excellent first half, and Ipswich looked especially dangerous when breaking down the right. But they failed to make their chances count and went into the break 2-0 down, while still looking the better side.

Of the Grimsby side, Santos and Poulton impressed in the centre of midfield, and Kabba's pace and energy gave Grimsby a chance every time he got near the ball.

Town came out after half time looking determined to get something from the game. Ambrose replaced Miller, and began pitting his pace against the Grimsby defence. Playing against the wind in the second half, they were more able to capitalise on their steady passing game. But Grimsby, buoyed up by their two goals, fought every ball, and Town could not make an impression.

The final punch came in the 60th minute. A positive Ipswich attack gave Ipswich a corner. But Grimsby broke quickly from the Ipswich corner, and Kabba got his second and Grimsby's third before Ipswich knew what had happened.

The game was effectively over after this. Although Ipswich continued to attack, a lack of confidence in front of goal, combined with continued defensive errors, meant that they couldn't get back into the game.

Ipswich certainly looked tired towards the end of the game, but whether this was due to three games in five days or frustration at this evening's performance it is difficult to judge. Confidence is the critical factor, but with every game like this that Ipswich lose, their confidence will plummet further. Now Town remain stranded near the foot of the table, and look anything but the automatic promotion-chasing side that they should be. Somehow they need to turn things around, but it is becoming harder and harder to see where the confidence – and the goals – are going to come from.

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