FA Trophy Match Report: Grimsby Town 3 Luton Town 0
GRIMSBY Town took a big step on the road to Wembley with an impressive 3-0 win over Luton Town.
Goals from Jamie Devitt, Andy Cook and Marcus Marshall helped the Mariners progress to the last four of the FA Trophy at the expense of their fierce league rivals.
Town joint bosses Rob Scott and Paul Hurst made two changes to the side that started against Cambridge, with Bradley Wood coming in for Sam Hatton and Andi Thanoj replacing Derek Niven in the middle of midfield.
Andy Cook recovered from the nasty knock to the head he sustained against the U’s to retain his place in the side – albeit sporting a thick bandage.
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After a neat and confident start, Craig Disley threatened for the hosts when he burst into the Hatters’ box, but saw his effort charged down Jake Howells.
Jamie Devitt was seeing plenty of the ball early on and when Andy Cook was fouled, the Irishman stood over the ball, 20 yards out.
The winger curled in a superb, flat delivery that sailed all the way through the crowd and beat Dean Brill at his far post to give Town an eighth-minute lead.
In the celebrations, Ross Hannah attempted to claim that he got a glancing header on it, but no-one in Blundell Park cared how it went in – Town were in front.
Luton looked to hit straight back when Shaun Pearson gave away a free-kick but James McKeown got down well to keep out JJ O’Donnell’s vicious low strike from just outside the box.
Devitt was at the heart of everything that was good about Town in the opening 15 minutes and when Disley set him free on the left-hand side, his pull-back nearly fell for Hannah to double the lead from just inside the area.
The Mariners were on top and three minutes later, Brill had to be alert to keep out Aswad Thomas’ fierce drive at his near post after some tidy link-up with Marcus Marshall.
Luton were appealing for a penalty on 30 minutes when Stuart Fleetwood went down in the box after Thomas had dangled a leg, but referee Rob Whitton was unmoved. Scott Rendell fell to turf again for the second time in five minutes, but again the Essex official gave nothing.
There was no doubt that the visitors were coming back into the game, however, and they could have been level eight minutes before the break – but Alex Lawless’ pull back evaded all those in orange.
It was to be the last meaningful action of the half as Whitton sent the two sets of players in at the break.
Luton were out early for the restart with Brill practising his kicking against the blustery wind and, after a shorter than normal half-time break, they started the quicker with Pearson having to turn away Lawless’ low cross.
But Town looked to hit straight back, first through Cook’s snapshot that skewed into the Pontoon, and then Marshall’s drive that while promising, ultimately came to nothing.
At the other end, when Whitton awarded Luton a questionable free-kick on the edge of the area, Thomas delayed in clearing his lines and the ball fell to Arnaud Mendy, but the former Town loanee blasted his volley over the Osmond Stand.
Town should have doubled their advantage on the stroke of the hour – Disley came through two weak Luton challenges on the edge of the area and saw his shot deflected into the path of Devitt, who could only lift over the bar.
It was to be the Irishman’s last input as he made way for Joe Colbeck just after the hour.
But that stoppage didn’t hinder Town’s momentum however, and they came within inches of getting it when Disley slid in Colbeck, who in turn found his fellow Yorkshireman Hannah, he nodded down into the path of Cook, who rattled the crossbar with a full-blooded volley.
Paul Buckle responded to the pressure that was growing by throwing on Jon Shaw and England C international Simon Ainge while Richard Brodie came on for the Mariners in place of Hannah.
Former York City frontman Brodie was soon in the thick of the action. After waltzing through two challenges, he was scythed down right on the edge of the area.
The bandaged Cook stepped up and caught a superb strike that flew through the wall – and Brill – to double Town’s advantage and send Blundell Park into raptures.
They were on their feet again minutes later when the man all Town fans wanted to see get on the scoresheet did just that.
Colbeck’s deep cross went all the way through to Marshall and the winger’s side-footed effort deflected off Ainge and into the back of the net to show Luton what they had missed out on.
The Mariners could have made it four late on after Brodie’s smart turn and shot drew a decent save from Brill down to his left as the game ran down.
As Luton’s fans began to amble out, Whitton blew his whistle to end the game and confirm the Mariners’ passage to the last four where they will have to beat either FC Halifax or Dartford to set-up a dream Wembley return.
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