Super-sub Jordan Maguire-Drew inspires Grimsby Town to promotion


Jordan Maguire-Drew came off the bench to create the equaliser and score a 111th-minute winner at the London Stadium which secured Grimsby Town’s promotion into League Two.

Paul Hurst’s inspired substitution in the 65th minute proved to be the key moment as Maguire-Drew helped the Mariners come from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Solihull Moors after extra time.

There were 22,987 fans in attendance at West Ham’s stadium to witness Grimsby bounce straight back into the Football League at the first opportunity.

Despite being a bit-part figure for the Mariners this season, the 24-year-old has cemented his name into the 144-year history of the Lincolnshire club with his contribution in the Vanarama National League play-off final.

Grimsby Town fell behind in the 45th minute via a powerful header from Kyle Hudlin, before Maguire-Drew made his impact just five minutes after coming on through a brilliant dummy that led to John McAtee’s equaliser.

The super-sub status was confirmed when the winger snuck in at the back post from a long throw to tap the ball home from underneath the crossbar.

Yet despite making the decision to bring the winger on Hurst refused to take any of the credit for his players’ match-winning actions. Hurst said:

 “I can’t say it was my master plan!”

“The last game against Wrexham he didn’t get on the pitch and he would have been frustrated, but we had a chat in the week, we know he has got ability.

“He’s bright, he certainly knows the game and he saw the opportunity with John McAtee to play the dummy and John slotted it away nicely.

“He has a knack of being involved, be it with goals or situations, but he hasn’t always been playing as we’ve seen in my selections but it is a deserved reward for all the work he has done and he will be a very proud man.”

A tale of a ball that was left and a ball that should have been left.

While Maguire-Drew will be drowning in alcoholic praise for his contribution in helping Grimsby Town back into League Two, Solihull Moors’ talisman Andrew Dallas will have his head, the same head that in the harsh reality lost his side the match, buried deep into his pillow tonight thinking what could have been.

For the most part of the season, Dallas has been the reason the Moors finished third in the National League and he himself finished third in the top goalscorer ranks.

However, a miscommunication, rush of blood or a panic moment from the 22-year-old inside the unfamiliar territory of his own 18-year box was the decisive moment in the match.

A long throw from Grimsby’s Jordan Cropper seemed to be of no danger until the Solihull Moors striker, made a decision typical to his position when defending. Teammate Danny Newton was in prime position to head clear well in front of the near-post but the immaturity in the young striker’s game was found on the biggest stage as he over-reached for the ball.

Instead of having the desired effect of clearing his lines, with the top of his head Dallas inadvertently looped the ball to the back post where Maguire-Drew was standing to live the moment of his wildest dreams and in turn haunt Dallas’ nightmares for the foreseeable future.

Understandably, the Grimsby Town manager Hurst was delighted at Dallas’ misfortune. He said:

“It’s a position that drives me mad, when from crosses or a long throw as was the case today, you see the ball trickle past the back post and no one is there.

“The game has changed in so many ways and that position nowadays is to score goals, as Dallas knows himself, but Maguire-Drew saw that opportunity and he took it with full grasp.”

While the lack of minutes would usually be a detrimental factor in a professional footballer’s form, the complete opposite was the case at the London Stadium.

The 24-year-old came on with no fear of trying something different as the pressures of potential failure would not have rested on his shoulders had the result gone the other way.

This was evident as Grimsby Town were guilty of overplaying in the final third for large parts of the match, taking too many touches or being too slow on the ball.

In fact, just one touch less was the answer to getting level in the match. Maguire-Drew had the awareness and presence of mind to sell his defender short with an exquisite dummy which carved open the Moors defence. By letting the ball roll through his legs it allowed Grimsby’s talisman to run onto the pass perfectly in the path of the striker and McAtee made no mistake with the finish, ending his season’s tally at 15 goals.

Meanwhile, the burden of playing a crucial role in the team’s run to the play-off final proved to be too much to handle for Dallas. The occasion proved too big to handle as the striker felt he needed to do more than what in fact was needed, having done so much for the Moors on route to the London Stadium.

The moment will without a doubt play on his mind forever – A case of wanting it too much.

Nonetheless, though, Grimsby Town will not mind one bit how it happened, only that it did happen. The Mariners can once again call themselves an EFL club and will hope to maintain their status as one of the country’s top 92 clubs for far longer on this visit.

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