Grimsby Town players praised after 'comfortable' victory over Dartford in FA Trophy semi-final
GRIMSBY Town joint boss Paul Hurst reflects on Saturday's priceless 0-0 draw at Dartford – a result which booked the Mariners' place at Wembley:
" It felt comfortable. I think they had a free header after six minutes that's gone straight at Macca (James McKeown) and a few little scrambles, but overall I just felt we were comfortable.
We played some great football at the start of the second half when we just needed that goal to make it a perfect day.
Within 20 seconds, Dev (Jamie Devitt) has had a shot and the keeper has pushed it around the post. And we stayed on the front foot.
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Like at the start of the game when we warned them about Dartford starting quickly and getting after us, we thought that would be the same at the start of the second half.
But whether that was the plan or not, we took that out of their hands and really forced them back.
After about 10-15 minutes of that half, the game settled into a pattern again where they kept trying to put balls into our box.
The players listened to the instructions well, in terms of not rushing things and not getting carried away with the occasion – they just played like it was any normal game.
And there wasn't that sustained pressure from Dartford that probably most people would have expected.
Although we had a nice lead going into the game, you always worry about what one goal or a refereeing decision will do, but credit to them, they made it an easy afternoon on the touchline.
I said after Tuesday (at Braintree) we've sometimes made changes when it's not performance-related, but anyone who was dropped on Saturday couldn't have an excuse or could come to us and say, 'I played well on Tuesday'.
That said, it's not simply those three changes that we made. We could have made probably nine or ten changes if that had been the case.
But we keep reiterating that it's a squad effort – a squad effort to get to this point in this competition and a squad effort to get to where we are in the league.
Including Saturday, we have three games in seven days coming up, so I'm pretty sure that we'll make changes to the team in each game. It's just a case of us trying to pick the right ones.
We've got a nucleus of players who are all good enough to play and it shouldn't really matter what team we put out."