Were we ever really comfortable in this match? Despite taking the lead early, Grimsby really made us work hard for the points – or should this read – we made ourselves work really hard for the points. One view might be it was an afternoon ideally suited for our hell for leather approach, on a bumpy surface - smash the ball forward as quickly as possible and let the actual grass have as little impact on the game as possible. However, the reality was by employing this approach we conceded possession far too easily and put ourselves under needless pressure.

The fact we were able to withstand this pressure is credit to our defenders and goalkeeper, but without being churlish, it really should have been a more comfortable afternoon. However, this being said, it was an unbelievable effort in the face of adversity by the club and the community to get this game played today and the three points is no less than everyone connected with the club deserves tonight. Sometimes, a bit of the old Dunkirk spirit can work wonders and getting everyone pulling together in the same direction...

Bonham – 7 – I have to mention the heart stopping moment in the first half when he came for a cross and was swallowed by a big gaping hole of desperation. This aside, the point blank save he made at the Waterworks End at 1-0 was his best moment of the season. Being alert, narrowing the angle, and getting good contact on the ball couldn’t have been more important. Conceding at this point would’ve changed the complexion of the game entirely – so I give him full credit for such an important moment. Add to this the fact I thought he did the basics very well today, it’s a shame it’s March before he’s performing adequately.

Liddle – 7* - His hoof of a right boot was mind-numbingly invoked too regularly today, however defensively I don’t think he put a foot wrong. Got forward to good effect and when he keeps it simple and passes the ball over short distances he actually starts to look like a footballer. Add in some fantastic tackles, interceptions, some great work in the air and some tidy flashes of technique on the ground. I can’t remember seeing a footballer improve so dramatically in a year. Is this down to our coaching staff, something happening away from the game or has it just been a case of settling in to the club? Whatever has changed, we should bottle it.

Parkes – 6 – Still learning how to be a left-back – and it’s painfully obvious at times with his decision making and positioning. However, when he’s concentrating, he’s a good enough defender to get away with it – and being a central defender he naturally knows where the defender alongside him is. He’s also useful on the football getting forward, strong in the air and can pick a pass. Technically however, in this position, he’s a weakness which better teams than Grimsby will be able to exploit.

Ellis – 7 – Extra mark for a towering finish and it was another no holds barred, no nonsense performance today. His attitude as a defender is first rate and this transmits itself to the other defenders and the team around him. I appreciate seeing him putting everything on the line to keep the ball out of the net – and this type of effort brings its own rewards

Hill – 6 – The same as Ellis without the goal really. 100% effort. To be honest, I’m not convinced of the longevity of this central defensive partnership, we have two players who are too similar, too limited with the football and lacking pace. Right now however, we’re muddling through and the combined strength and commitment of Ellis and Hill is giving us a resilient central core at the back. In the short term – clean sheets and wins at home are very welcome.

Joyce – 5 – An actual pass forward to a Carlisle player today, I almost fainted. I won’t fault his effort or commitment, however his use of the ball is, at times (for a midfielder), almost criminal. So you run about a bit trying to defend in midfield (with mixed success) and when the ball is in view you smash it aimlessly forward for the forwards to fight for and chase. Is it really so difficult to put your foot on the ball and try and play?

Jones – 4 – Still struggling to find the form of last season, and trying way too hard. Too many pointless fouls in our own half, questionable use of the football and generally less effective than Joyce defensively. We know there’s a player in there somewhere – and to find him again he needs to be told to shift down a gear. Calmness, confidence, assurance on the ball, intelligence – it’s all missing from his game at the minute. The partnership with Joyce used to work so well as Joyce would do the spadework and Jones would bring his brain to the party – this formed a formidable base at the heart of our midfield. Now they’re both trying to do the same thing, run about waspishly and smash the ball forward aimlessly when it lands anywhere near them – it’s horrible to watch, frankly.

Devitt – 6 – Great corner for the second goal and some nice touches flitting in and out of the game. He’s trying to be a League Two Messi and he can cause the opposition problems at times with his movement but he’s not on the ball enough in areas of the pitch which really matter. The key is to get him on the ball either wide in the final third or in and around the penalty area, but we’re not good enough (and his positioning is too random) to make this happen.

Hope – 6 – Did anyone in the ground really believe it was a good idea to let Hope take the penalty, what on Earth were the players thinking? We’d have stood more chance of scoring if Bonham had taken it. Anyway, it was a decent finish for the first goal keeping the ball low and hitting it hard. And once again he did a decent job of being our annoying little sh_t on the left-wing, a role in the team he’s making his own. We should never, ever, let him take charge of any dead ball situation, it all comes apart and destroys itself when he tries to use his brain. He has all the attributes to be a footballer, pace, technique, work rate etc – if you could transplant even an average brain into his empty skull he’d be a frightening footballer. As it stands however, when he’s on the ball what happens is a complete lottery...

Bennett – 6 – Again impressive in the air and dovetailed well with Nadesan. I have to mark him down for a poor effort with a free header in the first half, you need to be showing more of a deadly goalscoring instinct as a centre-forward. However, I like the way he led the line today and his work in the air fighting for the punts we smashed forward was valuable. Good movement, and although his use of the ball and, at times, his decision making need work his attitude and commitment today were fantastic.

Nadesan – 7 – I’m really impressed with the intelligence he brings to our forward line with his movement. Works the channels really well, plays off the shoulder expertly (a la Ian Stevens) and (shock horror) has the ability to read where flicks from Bennett’s head are going to land. Then we need to talk about his excellent use of the football and his calmness to lay the ball into Bennett’s path so deftly for our first goal. Tired through the second period, but considering the amount of first team football he’s had, this is only to be expected. I’ve badly missed having a forward with an actual brain and we look so much the better for it. If his form doesn’t do a Twardek he could be such an important player for us this season...


Twardek – 4 – He’s not a centre-forward and asking him to lead the line by himself is a double mistake – and a waste of what he brings to the side. Good work to help win us the penalty however.

Campbell-Ryce – 2 – When he first arrived he was passing the ball to other players in Carlisle jerseys. Now he’s just jogging around half-heartedly and has joined the aimless punt club. If the other midfielders don’t try and pass the football – why should he? Good to see any intent to actually play attractive football has already been drummed out him, great work coaching team!

O’Sullivan – 6 – I feared the worst, however, stone the crows he actually managed to have some influence on the game again today. Used the ball cleverly and used his brain to win the penalty (which he probably should’ve taken himself). On this performance, making a decent case for himself to start...