Benson grabs winner as Town defeat Mariners
Skrill Premier: Grimsby Town 1 Luton Town 2
A brilliant counter-attacking display from Luton saw them claim a rare away win at Grimsby Town tonight, writes Mark Wood.
It was only Town’s seventh win in 26 visits to Blundell Park as they stretched their lead at the top of the Skrill Premier over Cambridge United to 17 points.
Hatters made two changes from the team that beat Chester 3-0 on Saturday, as Matt Robinson and Cameron McGeehan returned while Jake Howells and Andy Parry dropped out of the squad.
The hosts created the early pressure as from a corner on 16 minutes Craig Disley’s header was half-cleared and Lenell John-Lewis poked wide.
The Mariners did take the lead on 18 minutes when Mark Tyler failed to connect with a punch from a cross and ex-Hatter Scott Neilson fired home.
Town’s response was immediate though as they levelled three minutes later.
Andre Gray’s backheel released Alex Lawless who found Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.
His ball into the box caused consternation as Robinson found Paul Benson, who teed up the midfielder to fire home his second goal in two games.
Robinson was booked on 34 minutes though when he caught Shaun Pearson.
McGeehan’s brilliant raking pass released Gray, but his first touch let him down before dragging wide.
Luton were desperately unlucky not to snatch the lead three minutes before the break when Lawless’ deep cross was superbly cushioned back in by Benson and Robinson’s header was brilliantly saved by James McKeown.
In stoppage time Steve McNulty put in a great last-gasp tackle to deny Connor Jennings before Neilson’s cross found Disley and his powerful header was somehow beaten away by Tyler.
After the interval, Griffiths produced a great block to keep out Sam Hatton’s drive before powering upfield to support a Luton break on the hour.
Busting a gut to reach a loose ball his 20-yard daisycutter beat McKeown as it rebounded off the far post for the predatory Benson to net.
Jennings’ deflected effort forced a fine full-stretch save from Tyler before controversy erupted with 19 minutes to go.
Robinson’s pass found Gray and his lob saw Mpanzu race clean through.
With just McKeown to beat he lifted it over the keeper who brought him down with the ball running towards the net.
Amazingly nothing was given as the linesman lowered his flag after initially seeming to indicate a foul as McKeown outrageously escaped and a defender cleared.
Hatters wasted another gilt-edged chance with 13 minutes to go when Mpanzu threaded Gray clean through but he thundered wide.
Grimsby bombarded the box in the closing stages as Luton continued to play on the break.
Robinson’s low cross was fumbled but Benson just couldn’t profit, while another counter saw Gray’s audacious 40-yard chip dip just over as Town held on to claim a fantastic win and close in on promotion.
Mariners (4-4-2): James McKeown, Sam Hatton, Aswad Thomas, Scott Kerr, Shaun Pearson, Craig Disley (C), Scott Neilson, Lenell John-Lewis (Oumare Tounkara 70), Alex Rodman (Ross Hannah 82), Connor Jennings, Andrew Boyce.
Substitutes not used: Andi Thanoj, Paddy McLoughlin, Jamal Fyfield.
Hatters (4-3-3): Mark Tyler, Fraser Franks, Steve McNulty, Alex Lawless, Scott Griffiths, Cameron McGeehan, Matt Robinson, Ronnie Henry (C), Paul Benson, Andre Gray, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.
Substitutes not used: Anthony Charles, Jon Shaw, Mark Cullen, Luke Rooney, Elliot Justham.
Booked: Robinson 34.
Referee: R Joyce.
Assistant Referees: G Mellor and S Campbell.
Fourth Official: S Wade.
Attendance: 3,789 (Luton 410).
Star Hatter: Scott Griffiths. Lung-busting run for the goal epitomised the full-back and the Hatters.