PIL­GRIMS MISS OUT ON TI­TLE

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By John Brind­ley

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.”

PICTURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

NOT ENOUGH: James Spencer makes it 1-1 but Grimsby ruin their ti­tle cel­e­bra­tions STAR MAN GRAHAM CAREY Ply­mouth

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