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CITY had the final say with Ian Holloway to make their Christmas stance far happier than it looked a few weeks ago.
Holloway infamously told Billy Clarke to « shut up » after making an exception to the town man who asked why the original meeting in early October was canceled.
So the Bantams let their football do the talking last night when Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars added another big hook to their résumé.
Seven points from nine and now seven points from floor to 18th. Place – and the first victory in almost a year.
The deputies secure their own position every day – and why should their bosses now opt for an external solution if it is not broken?
To rub Grimsby with salt, they were both supplied by ex-Scunthorpe players – and what a few Christmas crackers they were.
Trueman and Sellars have deliberately turned their backs on radical changes since receiving the reins.
And they had the luxury of staying with the same team that had done so much over the weekend to beat Cambridge and end the winless run. These players were once again proud of their current gaffers.
Grimsby’s ranks included three ex-bantams, but there was no James Hanson on the stall tending to a torn calf like the one Novak had kept away.
Luke Hendrie, who spoiled Stuart McCall’s return home in February with the final equalizer, offered a tame performance early on.
Luke Spokes shot a volley from Grimsby’s first corner, but the opening legs were played at a breakneck pace with little time to stay on the ball.
The Mariners had started lighter and were trying to feed Filipe Morais on the right flank when they could. Kyle Bennett, the other old town boy, was preparing Montel Gibson for a header.
Sutton kept what appeared to be a lost cause alive on the contact line and put it back to Callum Cooke.
His flank was checked by Novak on his chest facing away from the goal – and then sent with a ruthless kick over the head that flew past the helpless goalkeeper James McKeown.
It was just as special a goal as Harry Pritchard’s three days ago and was greeted with wild cheers by the replacement bosses in front of the city shelter.
Grimsby caused a bit of a stir in response, but there was little getting past the two O’Connors as they protected Richard O’Donnell’s target.
Clarke was definitely ready to improve and orchestrate the best moments in town by halftime. Grimsby looked nervous as the Irishman made his way into the box before Danny Preston blocked the shot.
But they had no answer when Clarke scored another good second goal just before the break.
O’Donnell’s controlled release picked him out in space. He flicked a measured pass over the top and Sutton had planned his run to take the praise early and find McKeown in no man’s land.
Holloway switched both strikers in the second half and threw Bennett further forward. But Sutton snuck in for almost a second, only to be disappointed by a heavy touch in the box.
Bennett soon had an impact on his advanced role, however. With too much space to cross, Sub Owura Edwards tossed it back so Harry Clifton could enter at close range.
It now became a test of City’s newly found defensive resilience as the Mariners piled forward in search of an equalizer.
But it was almost a joy to go the other way when Harry Pritchard was feeding Clarke for an angled shot, which McKeown blocked at his near post.
After Grimsby threw more men forward, City had another chance to meet her during recess.
Clarke’s long ball found Pritchard behind the defense, but the ball wouldn’t come down for a shot and when he put it back to Cooke his first attempt flew far.
Sub Kurtis Guthrie’s low cross hit the midfielder across the far post. He seemed sure to hit, but McKeown kept him away with a nice parade.
GRIMSBY: McKeown 6, Hendrie 7, Hewitt 6, Waterfall 7, Preston 6 (Rose 85 minutes), Spokes 6, Clifton 6, Morais 7 (Starbuck 85 minutes), Bennett 7 (Tilley 64 minutes), Jackson 5 (Green 46 minutes , 6), Gibson 5 (Edwards 46min, 7). Subs (not used): Idehen, Russell.
CITY: O’Donnell 6, Cousin-Dawson 7, A O’Connor 7, P O’Connor 8, Wood 6, Watt 6, Sutton 7, Clarke 7 (Guthrie 69 minutes), Cooke 7 (French 90 minutes), Pritchard 6 (Evans 69 min. ), Novak 8 (Donaldson 82 min. ). Subs (not used): Samuels, Longridge, Hornby.
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Bradford City AFC, Grimsby Town F. . C.. . , EFL League Two, Ian Holloway
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