PILGRIMS MISS OUT ON TITLE
JUBILANT Plymouth fans turned Grimsby green – despite falling just short in the League Two title race to the blues of Portsmouth down south.
Derek Adams and his players celebrated promotion in front of more than 1,800 travelling fans after their second half onslaught narrowly failed to get them a crucial winner.
Substitute Jimmy Spencer equalised Shaun Pearson’s first-minute strike within seconds of coming on, but Russell Slade’s Mariners dug in to restrict the party.
The Argyle manager said: “It’s been a fantastic season for everyone at this football club. We achieved our main aim of getting ourselves promoted and to be in a position on the last day when we could win the title was fantastic, but we fell just short.
“We have had a difficult afternoon going down so early, but got ourselves back into the game and thought we would nick it.
“Our players have been absolutely outstanding and the fans have followed us everywhere and been superb.”
Argyle began the night leading the table but were stunned within 45 seconds when indecisive defending from Danny Andrew’s inswinging corner led to Pearson hooking the ball in at the far post.
The outstanding Graham Carey was quickly denied by the outstretched foot of goalkeeper James McKeown and tested the home guardian again from a free-kick.
But had Grimsby’s rapid raids been aided by better decision-making they could have trailed by more than one goal at the break.
Carey forced a fine save from McKeown in the 47th minute and Adams was instantly rewarded for his adventure when Spencer slid home the equaliser.
The visitors dominated the rest of the game with Grimsby finding it increasingly difficult to retain possession.
The defiant McKeown tipped over another Carey free-kick and the final chance fell to Sonny Bradley whose 15-yard shot was comfortably saved in injury time.
But, on this occasion at least, Argyle lacked the quality to beat a Grimsby back four grittily marshalled by the experienced Danny Collins.
Slade said: “I thought our attitude was fantastic. They weren’t going to win the championship at our place.
“We showed we were fully up for this game and got ourselves off to a great start. We got between them on a couple of occasions and could have been 2-0 up.
“You are always going to expect Plymouth to come back into the game after the break and they got level with a goal that was offside.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a high number of freekicks awarded against a home team near their own penalty box.”
NOT ENOUGH: James Spencer makes it 1-1 but Grimsby ruin their title celebrations STAR MAN GRAHAM CAREY Plymouth