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Archived News from February 2007

15th February 2007 21:50

Two players, who, if they are playing, will surely prove something against one of their former clubs, when the Stags play Grimsby at home on Saturday. And the tales are of Michael Boulding and Martin Gritton.

As a Grimsby player, Boulding scored three goals in a 6-2 League One demolition of Wimbledon on March 23, 2002, but as a Barnsley player, Boulding was on the losing side when the Mariners last hit six in a League home game, a 6-1 rout of the Tykes in a Division Two game on February 28, 2004. Gritton, on the other hand, played for Grimsby when the Stags beat the Mariners 2-0 at Field Mill on April 2, 2005.

And since last season's Playoff promotion final defeat against Cheltenham by the only goal of the game, manager Russell Slade left for Yeovil, and some other players, too. But not veteran defender McDermott, who in fact has played a few games for the Mariners (including the league game at Grimsby and the JP Trophy game) this season, a campaign Grimsby started by coming back from 2-0 down at home to Boston and winning 3-2 at home. Since then, the Mariners lost two away games on the trot without scoring and their oppontents, Wrexham and Bristol Rovers, finished midway last season and this was to be an indication on Grimsby's task this term with ex-Stag manager Stuart Watkiss as assistant manager. And the predictions by the writer of these lines before the away game earlier this term have come true. A playoffs hangover has Grimsby suffered from and the Mariners lost seven league games on the trot around the turn of the year and Grimsby slid into the relegation zone before winning 6-0 at Boston nearly a fortnight ago, only the fifth time after World War II the Mariners have scored SIX away goals or more in a League and Cup encounter. Last time Grimsby scored six away in the League was in a Division 3 fixture at Wimbledon, won 6-3 on March 29, 1980. But Grimsby's biggest post-World-War-II-away victory in the FL was a 7-0 in a Division Two fixture at Bristol Rovers on December 14, 1957.

And before the introduction of the Premier League in 1992-93, Grimsby Town as the only league club held the distinction of playing in all SIX divisions of the Football league (Division 1 – first time as early as in 1901-02 – best position 5th in 1934-35, Division 2, Division 3 (S) – in 1920-21 – Division 3 (N), Division 3 and Division 4). The Mariners, which indeed were one of the original members of the old division 2 when founded in 1892, are also one of the clubs which have swapped divisions most times during their league career, nearly thirty times in all, and it is also no wonder why Grimsby have faced more league clubs than any other team – more than 120 in fact – and in 2004-05 faced Boston, Cheltenham, Yeovil, Macclesfield and Kidderminster in a league fixture for the first time – and last season Barnet as well. And all the previous league fixtures between the Mariners and the Stags have taken place after World War II – but the away fixture in August 2004 was the first outside the old Division 3 (N) and the old Division 3, spanning over a period of nearly 40 years from 1951-52 to 1990-91.

At Cleethorpes, where Blundell Park is situated, have the Stags won about every third of the previous league outings. And fact is that every time the Stags have won there have the double over the Mariners been performed, the first one in 1953-54, the latest in 1987-88. Memorable doubles were also performed in 1976-77 – the Stags second championship season – and in 1965-66 when the achieved double helped the Stags avoid relegation – just one season after the promotion chase with i.e. Carlisle and Bristol City. But Grimsby have only won once at Field Mill, and that was late on in the 1955-56 promotion campaign to a 2-0 score-line. Grimsby then became the first side to achieve promotion just one season after having to be re-elected. The 1955-56 season saw Grimsby concede just 29 goals with 25 clean sheets, only one side promoted then due to the regionalized division 3, abolished two seasons later. The 1954-55 season, though, saw Grimsby finish bottom but one on 34 points.

Fact is also, that Grimsby were relegated to the old fourth in the 1976-77 season – and were also so in the 1967-68 one when Peterborough were demoted. But that one was by the narrowest of margins. The Stags just about stayed up then due to a slighty superior goal-average than the Mariners. Had the Stags conceded ONE more goal at Bournemouth and Grimsby scored ONE more in the final game at home to Swindon that season, the roles had been reversed. They had been so if the three-point ruling had been in force then – as the Mariners won fourteen games then compared to twelve for the Stags. And in two of the Mariners' latest promotion seasons to the old division 2 – in 1979-80 and 1990-91 – the Stags were relegated. And the latter season, Grimsby were involved in a unique treble – as three teams were promoted together for the second season running – the other two being Cambridge and Southend – the trio being promoted from the old fourth to the old second in consecutive seasons – the only time in league history this has happened!

The first Stags win at Blundell Park was achieved on September 19, 1953, when goals from Marron and Adam secured a 2-0 win in front of 9929. During that decade, Grimsby also notched their so far only league win at Field Mill. This happened on April 7, 1956 when a good crowd of 15562 saw the Mariners win 2-0 and some weeks later return to the old 2nd division as champions. In 1964-65 and 1965-66, MacReady scored in three of four games against Grimsby, including the important winner on Easter Saturday 1966 at Blundell Park.

The biggest Stags wins at Field Mill are two with a four-goal margin. The first was on February 6, 1954 when Kenneth Murray netted three times, Fox and Darwin one apiece in front of 6513 to complete a 5-1 rout. Thirteen years later, on March 28, 1967, 11735 pilgered to Field Mill. One of the players appearing for both sides, Stuart Brace, represented the Stags then and netted twice. Mitchinson hit the net once, and to add to Grimsby's misery, they put through an own goal. At that time, the Stags still were in the second promotion place hunt for the current championship behind runaway winners QPR, while the Mariners, just like in 2004-05, were lower mid-table material. And on September 4, 1976, Terry Eccles hit a hat-trick, including one from the spot, in a 3-0 full-pointer at Field Mill.

The teams have also met once in the FA Cup. It was early on in Colin Treharne's Stags career in goal. On November 4, 1961, a good crowd of 10127 watched the Stags go through to the second round thanks to a 3-2 victory at Field Mill courtesy of two Brian Hall strikes and one from Ken Wagstaff, latter later for many years representing a club on the other side of the Humber.

Last season, both sides were involved in famous League Cup giant-killings. While the Stags disposed of Southampton in the second round, Grimsby notched an even better achievement, this kayoeing a full-strength Tottenham side by the only goal of the game, the same result as at Field Mill against Southampton. John McDermott's 700th game for the Mariners (talk of the rare breed of one-club men these days, along with Kevin Hill of Torquay) deservedly hit the headlines on September 20, 2005, with the Stags' scalp as second best that night. The reward for Grimsby's giant-killing was a bumper home game against Newcastle, a side that only just, thanks to Alan Shearer (who else?) managed to dump a brave Stags side out of the FA Cup at home on January 7, 2006, just a week before the Stags travelled to Grimsby and unluckily lost to a 1-2 scoreline thanks to a late Parkinson goal. Just a few minutes earlier, Barker had converted a penalty for the Stags. And the Stags won their home game to a 2-1 scoreline as well on February 14, 2006, Stags goals Barker and Coke, only one week before the writer's latest trip across the North Sea to watch the Stags.

Earlier this season, the Stags were very unlucky not to win at Blundell Park. Being 1-0 up, the Stags had a goal controversially disallowed for offside (look at the ref rating in the Stagsnet report) before Grimsby equalized. But when the sides clashed in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy two months later, the Stags won 3-0 after two goals from Chris Beardsley (now at Rushden & Diamonds) and one own-goal against a full-strength Grimsby outfit.

Some famous names have managed Grimsby over the years. To name but two: Bill Shankly and Lawrie McMenemy. And the one outfield player with the most league appearances, including some for the Stags, started his league career at Grimsby and played for them in the 0-3 defeat at Field Mill on September 4, 1976, when a Terry Eccles hat-trick including a penalty sealed the tie, is among the players appearing for both sides – Tony Ford. More recent ones are Mark Lever and Michael Boulding. And the current Peterborough manager, Keith Alexander, recently at Lincoln, is another one.

Played for both sides: Keith Alexander, Ian Baraclough, Michael Boulding, Stuart Brace, Clifford Coupland, Tony Ford, Martin Gritton, Edgar Hardy, Samuel Hodgson, Maxey Holmes, Ernest Jackson, Mark Lever, Jim Lumby, Junior Mendes, Eddie Munnings, Don O'Riordan, Iffy Onoura, Malcolm Partridge, Jason Pearcey, Jack Prior, Ken Reeve, Mick Saxby, John Walker, William Watkin, Albert Wilson, Neil Woods.

Played for Stags, later managed Grimsby: Bobby Roberts.

Home games: P 17, W 10, D 6, L 1, GF 33, GA 14
Away games: P 18, W 5, D 4, L 9, GF 19, GA 30

Season Home Date Away Date

1951-52 2-2 1952-01-05 1-1 1951-09-08 Div 3 (N)
1952-53 1-1 1952-09-13 1-5 1953-01-24 Div 3 (N)
1953-54 5-1 1954-02-06 2-0 1953-09-19 Div 3 (N)
1954-55 3-0 1955-03-12 2-3 1954-10-23 Div 3 (N)
1955-56 0-2 1956-04-07 0-2 1955-11-26 Div 3 (N)
1959-60 3-2 1960-03-05 1-2 1959-10-17 Div 3
1964-65 2-2 1964-09-26 1-1 1965-02-06 Div 3
1965-66 2-1 1966-04-30 1-0 1966-04-09 Div 3
1966-67 4-0 1967-03-28 2-1 1967-03-24 Div 3
1967-68 1-1 1968-04-20 0-0 1967-11-25 Div 3
1975-76 1-0 1976-02-21 1-4 1975-11-15 Div 3
1976-77 3-0 1976-09-04 1-0 1977-02-12 Div 3
1979-80 0-0 1980-04-26 1-2 1979-12-08 Div 3
1987-88 1-0 1988-01-02 3-2 1987-09-12 Div 3
1990-91 1-1 1991-03-02 0-2 1990-12-01 Div 3
2004-05 2-0 2005-04-02 0-2 2004-08-28 League Two
2005-06 2-1 2006-02-14 1-2 2006-01-14 League Two
2006-07 (at Blundell Park) 1-1 2006-08-18 League Two

Cup games:

1961-62 3-2 1961-11-04 (FA Cup 1st round at Field Mill)

2006-07 3-0 2006-10-31 (Johnstone's Paint Trophy, Northern Section, round 2 at Field Mill)

Details from various sources, mainly the history book, Rothmans Football yearbook and players who's who on the history CD

Svante Bernhard aka Sweden Stag (pictured, above right)


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