Football: Palace trawl the depths at Grimsby

Grimsby Town 2 Crystal Palace 0

WHEN HE moved to Crystal Palace last year, this was probably not a scenario that Attilio Lombardo envisaged. With his team outplayed, reduced to nine men and trailing 2-0 in the humble surroundings of Blundell Park, the Italian's misery was completed when he was replaced with 18 minutes remaining.

Lombardo, to his credit, took his substitution in a professional manner, displaying none of the amateur dramatics which used to accompany an early departure by his fellow countryman, Michele Padovano, who recently left Palace for Metz. Yet the bald truth was that Lombardo and his team mates had been given the run-around by an efferverscent Grimsby Town side who on this showing looked much the better prospect for promotion from the First Division.

Four wins in five games have taken Alan Buckley's team into seventh place in the table. In what has become a very open division, who is to say they might not go all the way?

If Grimsby is an unlikely location in which to find a successful football team then Cleethorpes, the neighbouring town where Blundell Park is to be found, is an even more improbable place. The railway line ends here where the North Sea begins and the quaint pier and beachfront bingo halls suggest a footballing backwater.

Yet Grimsby have a rich footballing history and in recent years they have produced successful teams who play an open and attractive game. Buckley is in his second spell at the club and is building steadily on last season's triumphs, which included Wembley victories in the Auto Windscreens Shield final and the Second Division play-offs.

On Saturday Grimsby passed the ball around in their customary style, the midfield providing enthusiastic and intelligent support for the forward pairing of Lee Nogan and Jack Lester. It was no coincidence that the two red cards were shown to Palace's central defenders, Craig Moore and Fan Zhiyi, after fouls on Lester. They rarely looked comfortable as the two Grimsby front men found space with sharp turns and clever runs.

Buckley's biggest problem, predictably enough, is resources. "At the moment we have not got enough players to call a squad," he lamented after the game. Last week Buckley was unable even to field a full complement of substitutes for the Worthington Cup visit to Sunderland, who won deep into extra time.

As for Palace, this disjointed performance was typical of their away form this season. They have scored just three goals on their travels - only Bury and Chesterfield have a poorer away scoring record in the entire Nationwide League - and their mid-table position is due almost entirely to a good home record. This is all in stark contrast to last season, when Palace had registered five away wins in the Premiership by November but did not win a home game until April.

Some of their defending here was shambolic, with Dean Austin a particular offender. He was at fault for both goals, first losing possession as Grimsby built a flowing move finished emphatically by Tommy Widdrington, then failing to stop Lester's powerful run into the box.

Palace badly missed the injured Mathias Svensson and Sasa Curcic. Matt Jansen was their only attacking threat until the arrival of two substitutes, Marcus Bent and Lee Bradbury, who was making his debut following a pounds 1.5m move from Manchester City. Bent nearly scored with his first two touches, a header from a corner and a 25-yard shot after a jinking run, but in truth even a consolation goal would have been more than Palace deserved.

Goals: Widdrington (13) 1-0; Lester (53) 2-0.

Grimsby Town (4-4-2): Davison; Butterfield (Bloomer, 88), Livingstone, Handyside, Gallimore; Coldicott, Widdrington, Groves, Smith; Nogan (Black, 79), Lester. Substitute not used: Dobbin.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Digby; Austin, Moore, Fan Zhiyi, Sun Jihai; Lombardo (Bent, 72), Foster, Mullins, Rizzo (Bradbury, 72); Morrison (Burton, 50), Jansen.

Referee: D Pugh (Wirral).

Bookings: Grimsby: Gallimore. Crystal Palace: Sun Jihai. Sent off: Crystal Palace: Moore, Fan Zhiyi.

Attendance: 6,948.

Man of the match: Lester.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing