Ian Holloway delighted as Grimsby youngsters shine in win over Cheltenham
Youngsters James Tilley, Montel Gibson and Owura Edwards starred for Grimsby in their 3-1 defeat of Cheltenham earning themselves the praise of manager Ian Holloway.
Tilley and Edwards were on target for the visitors while Gibson created a number of chances to add his name to the scoresheet in his first start for the club.
The Grimsby boss said: “We have miles to go yet but we thoroughly deserved that. We are as young as anyone is going to be in this division.
“You have to build some belief and build some strength. I took a gamble because I wanted to get at their back three, because not many people do as they are so well organised.
“I took a risk in playing 3-4-3 – it could have backfired but it didn’t. I was delighted with Tilley, and I was delighted with Montel. He should have scored but he was tired, he’s not quite ready yet.
“There were signs of us being a really good outfit. Everyone is starting to understand what we need to do and we have played a really good team there.
“Normally you need five or six weeks to do pre-season training but we’ve not seen each other for 14 days before last Wednesday [due to Covid-19 restrictions] so it’s quite remarkable and I’m absolutely delighted for the lads.”
A thrilling first half started with controversy as Cheltenham had a penalty appeal waved away on 12 minutes when George Lloyd’s shot appeared to strike an arm before hitting the Grimsby post.
The Mariners survived and opened the scoring on 23 minutes when Robins defender Will Boyle gave the ball to Edwards and the on-loan Bristol City youngster fired home.
Andy Williams hauled Cheltenham level on 28 minutes but Grimsby nosed ahead again six minutes before half-time when a long-range Tilley strike slipped through the fingers of home keeper Josh Griffiths.
Cheltenham almost levelled late in the game only for Liam Sercombe to be denied by an excellent James McKeown save and then, three minutes into added on time, Edwards headed on for substitute Owen Windsor who wrapped up the points.
Cheltenham manager Michael Duff said: “I’m not sure we deserved to get beat – they’ve had three shots on target.
“I am not happy with the decision in the first half when there was a clear handball on the line. I’ve seen it back and if there is VAR it’s a penalty and he probably has to be sent off.
“They made a game of it and, while I am not one for stats as the most important one is 3-1, we totally dominated the second half.
“There were things I wasn’t happy with about the performance but I didn’t think we deserved to get beaten, personally.”