Mariners Memories: Grimsby Town's 7-0 away win at Bristol Rovers in 1957
Graham Precious from the Mariners Trust recalls the time when Town could afford to miss a penalty but still record their biggest away win!
AFTER losing First Division status in 1947, Town had slumped to the Third Division North within four years.
There they remained until 1956 when promotion back to Division Two as champions was achieved.
And in their opening game back in the Second Division, Town were held to a 0-0 draw by Bristol Rovers.
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In their second season after promotion, however, Town were tenth in the table when they next travelled down to the Eastville Stadium to entertain a crowd of 14,577.
Rovers were a point and a place behind Town in the table.
Town's side that day included Clarrie Williams in goal, full-backs Willie Brown and Dave Richardson, half-backs Dick Connor, Roy Player and Jeff Whitefoot, and forwards Johnny Scott, pictured, Gerry Priestley, Ron Rafferty, Ron Stockin and Jimmy Fell.
Rovers started the game well, but in the opening minutes Hooper and Biggs missed chances.
A quick double shock was to follow as Town opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Following a free-kick taken by Richardson – awarded for a foul on Fell – Scott headed the ball goalwards for Nicholls in Rovers' goal to clear to Stockin who prodded home the loose ball. Two minutes later, Rovers were two down when Nicholls failed to clear properly and Priestly punished his error.
Town were dominant in midfield, restricting the home side's ability to create any threat. Both Scott and Fell were running rampant on the wings.
Rovers had two more chances before half-time but were punished further a minute before the break when Priestley pulled a ball from the by-line to Scott whose shot was blocked, although he finished at his second attempt.
Twenty five minutes into the second half and Town went further ahead when Priestley was brought down by Sampson in the Rovers' box and Rafferty drilled home the spot kick.
On 77 minutes, Fell became the fifth forward to score (yes, Town played with five forwards then – it was a 2-3-5 formation in those days). He picked the ball up in the centre circle and ran around the defence to score.
Minutes later, Fell went on another mazy run only to be brought down for Town's second penalty – but this time Rafferty blasted the ball over the bar.
So 5-0 it was – until four minutes to go when Scott cut in from the left wing and nabbed his second.
Not to be outdone, Stockin made it 7-0 with two minutes to go.
On the last day of the season, Town completed the double, winning the return fixture by a much closer 3-2 margin.
Despite their superiority on this amazing December day, Town finished the season three places and two points behind Rovers and with a worse goal difference!