Norwich City's Phil Mulryne scored a goal in each half at Blundell Park last night to cap a sporadically stylish performance by the visitors and consign Grimsby to their fourth home defeat of the season. The result leaves the Canaries in fourth place in the First Division this morning and within clear sight of the summit. They play the current leaders, Wolves, on Saturday.
"The players' attitude tonight was top class," Nigel Worthington, the Norwich manager, said afterwards, explaining how well his side had recovered from their 3-2 defeat at Crystal Palace on Sunday. "Grimsby is a hard place to come and get a result. We played reasonably well and got two good goals.
"The biggest aspect tonight, at 1-0, was that we kept our concentration and didn't get sloppy," he added. "We did a good professional job and it sets us up for a magnificent game at Carrow Road on Saturday."
Grimsby, who saw an early-season purple patch elevate them to the top of the table last month, will be left wondering how to rediscover their winning ways. They did manage to stem a run of six consecutive League defeats which was punctuated briefly but gloriously by a Worthington Cup victory at Anfield by beating Birmingham last Friday. But their manager's concerns about consistency remain.
"It's frustrating," said Lennie Lawrence. "I can blame part of it on the youth and inexperience of the team but we gave them two goals tonight from unforced errors. We started not too badly, then all of a sudden they got a goal that could have been avoided. In the second half we gave them another."
Lawrence said he might now have to consider rotating his squad for every game. "They can't seem to play consistently," he said. "You get three of four players below par like tonight and you've got a problem."
Marc Libbra, Norwich's French striker, served notice early in the game that his side's craft was always likely to overcome Grimsby's bustling but often misguided graft. His shot on nine minutes required Danny Coyne to go to ground to save and a series of deft flicks and some good positioning hinted that his continental touch went further than his gloves.
Despite a couple of long-range shots and some home pressure, Grimsby did not really threaten before falling behind in the 19th minute. A high ball into the box was eventually forced in by Mulryne.
In the second half Libbra hit the bar and Iwan Roberts grazed a post before in the 58th minute, Libbra fired in a cross that Mulryne slammed home for his second.
Grimsby Town (4-4-2): Coyne; Chapman (Thompson, 74), Broomes, Beharall, Gallimore; Butterfield, Coldicott (Willems, 56), Pouton, Boulding; Allen (Rowan, 62), Jevons. Substitutes not used: Croudson (gk), Groves.
Norwich City (4-4-2): Green; Futch, Fleming, Mackay, Drury; McVeigh (Russell 90), Mulryne, Holt, Llewellyn (Notman, 78); Roberts, Libbra (Rivers, 88) Substitues not used: Crichton (gk), McGovern.
Referee: R D Furnandiz (Doncaster).Reuse content