Match Report: Grimsby Town 2 Hyde 0
ANDY Cook was Grimsby Town's 'super sub' as his late double sent the Mariners back to the top of the Conference table.
The striker only came on for the final half hour, but transformed a dull and frustrating encounter with a brilliant brace.
Town may not have played anywhere near to their potential, but the win was all that mattered on a freezing night in Cleethorpes.
Reserve stopper Greg Fleming stepped in for his first league start in Town colours, with recognised number one James McKeown unwell.
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Joe Colbeck was also in the starting line-up, on the right wing, following Marcus Marshall's temporary return to parent club Bury.
Aswad Thomas sat out the final match of his three-game suspension following his red card against Lincoln on New Year's Day – with Bradley Wood continuing to deputise at left-back.
Elsewhere, Richard Brodie partnered Ross Hannah in attack again, as Andy Cook was confined to the bench for the second successive match.
For the visitors, former Mariners hero Phil Jevons began up front, and, quite rightly, received a decent reception from the home faithful.
The Mariners' wingers almost combined to give the hosts a priceless early lead when Colbeck's corner was dragged back for Jamie Devitt, but the Hull City man fluffed his lines 15 yards out.
The game's first effort on target came at the other end, though, in the tenth minute when Scott Spencer's flicked header was easy for Fleming to hold.
The keeper was then relieved to clutch Jevons' free-kick drive at the second attempt after the ball squirmed from his grasp initially.
Derek Niven lashed a 25-yarder a similar distance over the visitors' bar, but Town looked rusty after ten days without a match.
The hosts' passing play was laboured in the opening half hour, and a poor first touch was destroying any fluency they could muster.
However, joint boss Rob Scott's ongoing disagreement with the fourth official and man in the middle Ross Joyce did give the crowd something to watch on a chilly evening.
Craig Disley had the chance to warm things up on the pitch, but dragged his shot wide after Ian Miller had nodded down Sam Hatton's excellent free-kick from the right.
The home skipper should have tested the keeper from just inside the box, but David Carnell was able to watch the ball bounce well wide of his left-hand post.
There were less than eight minutes of the first period remaining when Brodie broke clear down the right. But the on-loan forward picked out the one covering defender in the middle with his cross, rather than Hannah.
Seconds later, the unlikely figure of Wood carved a drive wide of the mark from 25 yards as the frustration mounted.
Brodie then nodded wide after Wood's free-kick had been sliced high into the air in his own box by Hyde's Luke Ashworth.
But, in truth, they were little more than half-chances as the Mariners desperately searched for second gear in the run-up to half-time.
They couldn't find it and Joyce put everyone out of their misery after an additional minute of action.
The second half began with a 15-man scuffle and a yellow card for Hannah – the centre-forward leaving his foot in on Carnell as the keeper threatened to spill the ball.
The Hyde stopper then had to storm out of his goal and head clear, under pressure from Hannah, as Town looked to up the pressure.
Niven joined Hannah in the referee's notebook after a desperate lunge on Adam Griffin, and that was the midfielder's last action as Town gambled with a double substitution.
Andy Cook and Andi Thanoj entered the fray, as Niven and Brodie jogged off.
And it almost did the trick straightaway as Hannah surged clear down the inside left channel and smashed a piledriver a yard over the bar.
A stunning cross-field ball from Devitt then put Colbeck away and his low drive was parried wide by Carnell at full stretch.
Jevons wandered off the field shortly after, to another ovation, to be replaced by Matt Blinkhorn.
And as the match moved towards its final 20 minutes, the Mariners were still struggling to produce the gilt-edged chance they craved.
Devitt and Colbeck were finding little joy on either flank, while Thanoj's introduction wasn't opening the game up as Scott and Hurst would have hoped.
Hatton leathered an effort well over from distance with 17 minutes remaining before Devitt finally created the opportunity Town were after.
The winger turned his marker inside-out and squared for Disley ten yards out. The captain had to score, but somehow spooned his shot up and over the bar.
Devitt had the beating of Griffin again moments later, bending a right-footer narrowly wide to the groans of the crowd again.
It didn't look like it was going to be the Mariners' night – until the 84th minute at least!
Devitt launched another cross into the area and Cook was the man on the spot to beat Carnell to the ball and nod home, to the delight of the home fans.
Hyde responded and, after Fleming had punched half-clear, sub Ray Putterill's drive was blocked short of the line by a determined Disley.
Town were hanging on desperately to their slender lead, and when they broke in stoppage time, Thanoj tested Carnell with a low 25-yarder.
That man Cook was the hero again seconds later, however, as he wriggled past his marker and planted a superb strike into the bottom corner from just outside the box.
Maybe 2-0 flattered the Mariners on a largely frustrating night, but the Blundell Park crowd couldn't have cared less – with the exception of the 11 visiting fans.
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