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Arnold sends Grimsby through

By This is NorthDevon  |  Posted: July 17, 2009

<P>WINNING STRIKE: Grimsby trialist Nathan Arnold.</P>

WINNING STRIKE: Grimsby trialist Nathan Arnold.

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NATHAN ARNOLD struck late to send Grimsby Town through to the Errea South West Challenge Cup semi-finals.

Arnold's 79th-minute strike bobbled over Yeovil Town goalkeeper Richard Martin to give the Mariners a 3-2 win in the final Group B clash.

Having beaten Royal Racing FC Montegnee 1-0 on Wednesday night, Grimsby top the group with six points to Yeovil's five.

Both teams made wholesale changes at half-time and it was the second-half performers who put on a better show with four goals in an end-to-end contest.

There was precious little quality in a drab first half at Torrington's Vicarage Field.

Grimsby, from a division below Yeovil in Coca-Cola League Two, settled more quickly as they fielded close to their first-choice line-up.

They had keeper Arran Lee-Barrett flapping from a second-minute corner but failed to test him often enough.

The Glovers gradually worked their way into the game, with Stefan Stam and Hamdi Razak sending headers off target.

Pacey Adrian Forbes was involved in most of Grimsby's better moments before the break, and it was his jinking run that created the opening goal.

The winger won a penalty in the 26th minute when he cut in from the right at speed and was tripped by Yeovil left-back Danny Hutchins.

Barry Conlon chipped the spot-kick straight down the middle.

Yeovil responded immediately as Kevin Gall forced Nick Colgan to make his first save, the Grimsby keeper taking the rising shot at the second attempt.

Three minutes before the break, Robbie Stockdale made a desperate headed goalline clearance as Razak closed in on a Gall cross, although the referee ruled the Yeovil man had pushed Stockdale.

Grimsby, who changed all 10 outfield players during the break, looked to be well on their way to the semi-finals when they went 2-0 up two minutes into the second half.

Danny North beat the offside trap to find space on the right of the Yeovil area and curled a neat finish inside the far post. The striker was to have less luck later as twice Torrington linesman Brett Huxtable denied him goals by flagging for offside.

The Glovers came back strongly and within three minutes Colgan had to fling himself to his left to tip Danny Schofield's curling shot over the bar.

Colgan was helpless to stop Gavin Tomlin making it 2-1 on 47 minutes.

Grimsby centre-back Matt Heywood slipped over under pressure in his own area, handing possession to Glovers sub Tomlin who drove home a right-foot shot.

As the half progressed, play became increasingly stretched with chances at both ends.

Martin, who replaced Lee-Barrett in the Yeovil goal at half-time, was at full stretch to tip Danny Boshell's free-kick on to the post, then Hutchins saw an effort deflected just wide.

North was booked for carrying on to score after Huxtable's flag denied him a second goal on 67 minutes. And the Grimsby striker was furious 10 minutes later when he was again ruled offside as he turned in Peter Bore's cross.

In between, Yeovil netted an equaliser. A superb long cross from the right by Gary Roberts was nodded in at the back post by Sam Williams.

It looked like a penalty shoot-out would decide the group before trialist winger Arnold, who has been released by Mansfield Town, lined up a low 20-yard strike that left Martin looking foolish as it seemed to bounce just in front of the diving keeper and crept into the net.

Ryan Mason had a sight of goal for Yeovil in the last minute but his shot flew over and the Glovers headed out of the competition.

North was name man of the match.

Grimsby will meet Group D winners Rushden and Diamonds in today's semi-final at Appledore (5pm).

Grimsby Town — 1st half: Nick Colgan, Robbie Stockdale, Joe Widdowson, Ryan Bennett, Peter Sweeney, Adrian Forbes, Nathan Jarman, Robbie Atkinson, Barry Conlon, Michael Leary, Jean-Louis Akpa Apkro.

2nd half: Nick Colgan, Matt Heywood, Danny Boshell, Danny North, Nick Hegarty, Peter Bore, Nathan Arnold, Paul Linwood, Grant Normington, Chris Jones, Sol Davis.

Yeovil Town — 1st half: Arran Lee-Barrett, Craig Alcock, Danny Hutchins, Steve Caulker, Stefan Stam, George O'Callaghan, Kevin Gall, Kieran Murtagh, Andy Welsh, Dean Bowditch, Hamdi Razak.

2nd half: Richard Martin, Danny Hutchins, Nathan Jones, Terrell Forbes, Niall McArdle, Kevin Gall, Gary Roberts, Danny Schofield, Ryan Mason, Sam Williams, Ryan Mason.

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