Forest Green Rovers 1 Grimsby Town 1 (Abandoned after 30 minutes)
By Neil Martin
After a pulsating, end to end half an hour of exciting football at the New Lawn, potentially the best game of the season was halted prematurely by prolonged floodlight failure. The irony of Rovers’ benefactor being an electricity provider was not lost on anyone, especially the coach load of Grimsby fans who faced the prospect of another long journey back to FGR later in the season. To be fair to the club, they offered either a full refund or a voucher for the re-arranged date, which was as much as could be done in the circumstances.
Reece Styche reclaimed a spot in the Rovers’ starting line- up at the expense of Danny Wright and Jamie Turley came in for the injured Aaron Racine. Eddie Oshodi was restored at the back for possibly his last FGR game before a possible move to Brentford, due to Dale Bennett’s suspension.
The game started at breakneck pace and after Grimsby striker Lewis headed over from a great position, he tapped in a cross from Hannah from the left in the 8th minute, with the Rovers defence apparently asleep. However Rovers roared back, with a powerful shot from James Norwood from the right edge of the box going in, after a slight deflection on 12 minutes.
Lewis should have put Grimsby straight back in front, then Marcus Kelly launched a long range shot which just cleared the visitors’ crossbar.
Asafu-Adjaye was having a torrid time on Rovers’ right flank with every Grimsby attack from that side looking dangerous.
Styche headed over in the 15th minute after a good cross from Binnom-Williams, which was followed by the hapless Lewis missing an open goal after Russell had come out bravely to try to smother the ball. Again the FGR defence was slow to react.
Lee Hughes was caught offside after a slick passing move and then miscued a shot just afterwards. Grimsby were unlucky not to score on 28 minutes when after a spell of pinball in the Forest Green box, the ball deflected just wide for a corner.
It was an incredibly open game, being played in monsoon like conditions, at which point the floodlights went out after 30 minutes! At first it appeared to be just the left hand corner lights of the main stand but as these were fixed, the central block of lights went out. Most of the fans were seeing the funny side of things. After 10 minutes or so the lights came back on and the game resumed. However within seconds the lights went out again!
After around twenty minutes or so and ironically just at the point when the lights appeared to have been repaired, it was announced that the match had been abandoned. The referee was mindful of the time that had elapsed since the stoppage and also the rapidly deteriorating state of the pitch in the incessant driving rain.
FGR – Russell, Bangura, Turley, Norwood, Asafu-Adjaye, Oshodi, Styche, Barry, Kelly, Binnon-Williams, Hughes
Grimsby – McKeown, Thomas, Pearson, Doig, Colbeck, Disley, Neilson, John-Lewis, Bignot, Hannah, Thanoj