Bolton Wanderers 1
Half-time: 0-0 Attendance: 8,674
THERE could be few things more appropriate than a man named Fish playing a crucial role at Grimsby. Bolton's Mark was the kingpin of a defence that kept Town at bay in the game they hoped would establish their promotion credentials and then contributed to the goal that decided it in Wanderer's favour.
The main element in that goal, however, was a crass error by the former Bolton goalkeeper Aidan Davison. When Fish won a midfield header with typical strength, there was no threat in Per Frandsen's subsequent volley downfield, but Davison made a complete mess of his attempt to punch clear and Dean Holdsworth had the simplest of tap-ins for his ninth goal of the season and fourth in three games.
"I felt we were the better team throughout, but they scored a goal that we gave them," the Grimsby manager, Alan Buckley, lamented. "Our football was a lot better and a lot brighter than theirs. Frustrating isn't the word that's enough to sum it up."
Buckley and his in-form team, trying to show that their chances of Premiership football should be taken seriously, would have had a less frustrating afternoon had it not been for Fish.
The South African has not exactly been a model of defensive diligence during his time at Bolton, but when Paul Warhurst, so influential at the heart of the defence since arriving from Crystal Palace, limped off with a hamstring injury after only 15 minutes, he took on the extra responsibility admirably.
Grimsby's lightweight attack could get no change out of him, either in the air or on the ground and all their neat football came to nothing as Bolton showed that they can get away with a promotion-winning result even when their performance lacks its usual fluency.
"Our goalkeeper was never tested," said Buckley, conveniently ignoring the one examination that he failed. However, as Bolton's Colin Todd pointed out, all Grimsby could manage were a couple of speculative shots and that was never enough to disturb a defence so well marshalled by Fish and the substitute, Robbie Elliott.Reuse content