Mariners held in ten goal thriller against Notts County

Grimsby Town were forced to settle for a share of the points despite an inspired performance against promotion-chasing Notts County in a classic encounter on an emotional afternoon at Blundell Park.

After a poignant pre-match tribute to Cameron and Dave Walsh following the tragic events of last weekend, the Mariners showed their intentions from the off and built a commanding 2-0 lead within 15 minutes as Danny Rose opened the scoring from the penalty spot and Abo Eisa added a second goal.

Their visitors struggled to make an impression in front of goal as Town dominated the majority of the first half. But they were back in the contest when David McGoldrick halved the deficit six minutes before the break, then Macaulay Langstaff equalised in stoppage time.

Town refused to let that affect them and they were back ahead seven minutes after the interval through Harry Clifton and although Aaron Nemane brought Notts level again, Eisa’s second of the game gave the hosts the advantage once more.

Nemane completed his own brace to make it 4-4 as Jodi Jones grabbed his fourth assist of the afternoon and as the game moved into added time, McGoldrick struck again to put the visitors ahead for the first time.

But not for the first time in the match, Town showed their character to ensure they would not leave empty-handed, as substitute Harry Wood marked his debut with a dramatic late leveller.

None of Grimsby’s three new signings were named in the starting XI, which showed two changes from the team that began the home defeat by Walsall last time out. Charles Vernam came in for his first start since recovering from injury, while Harvey Rodgers also returned to the line-up as Luke Waterfall and Kieran Green made way.

Harvey Cartwright continued in goal, with Toby Mullarkey, Rodgers, Niall Maher and Anthony Glennon forming the defence in front of him. Kamil Conteh and Jamie Andrews sat behind Vernam, Clifton and Eisa in midfield and Rose was the striker.

New recruits Wood and Justin Obikwu were both selected on the bench, alongside Jake Eastwood, Michee Efete, Green, Gavan Holohan and Donovan Wilson.

Notts arrived in Cleethorpes looking to stop a poor run of away results and boost their promotion hopes with a win.

Last season’s National League play-off winners were playing their first game since manager Luke Williams left the club to join Swansea City. Interim player-boss Jim O’Brien would look to the likes of Langstaff, McGoldrick and Jones to cause problems for the home defence.

After a brilliantly observed minute of applause, the game got under way and Town won the first corner in the opening seconds, although Glennon’s delivery from the right was cleared.

Eisa forced away goalkeeper Aidan Stone into early action to stop a low shot after a good break by Clifton.

And the next time they went forward, the Mariners were given an opportunity to open the scoring. A great ball from Conteh found Eisa on the left and after cutting inside into the penalty area, he was brought down by John Bostock. The referee pointed to the spot and ROSE stepped up to beat Stone and give the hosts the lead.

Stone made a good save at his near post to keep a low shot from Vernam out as Town immediately went in search of a second goal, then Langstaff missed the target from 20 yards at the other end as Notts attacked for the first time.

A 20-yard effort from Vernam was deflected out for a corner on 15 minutes after Rose had done well to win the ball and find the winger on the right. From the flag, the Mariners doubled their advantage as Vernam’s low ball was touched back by Mullarkey to EISA and his shot arrowed into the net from the edge of the box.

A further tribute to Cameron and Dave Walsh came on 16 minutes as applause again rang out around the stadium, then as Town continued to dominate, Vernam was caught offside after running onto a through-ball from Clifton.

Aden Baldwin was shown the first yellow card after kicking the ball away in frustration following the award of a free kick on the home right and the set piece eventually led to a corner on the left, which was headed away from danger.

Notts were yet to make an impression as the half-hour loomed and the Mariners were inches away from making it 3-0 when Eisa’s low cross from the right picked out Clifton near the penalty spot, although the midfielder could only watch his first-time shot bounce off the crossbar.

Langstaff hit a tame effort which was comfortably caught by Cartwright, then the hosts created another good chance for Vernam but Stone got down well to his left and made a smart save.

The keeper just beat Rose to a through-ball from Clifton, then Eisa was narrowly off-target when his powerful, 35-yard strike whistled just over the bar with Stone beaten.

Nemane beat Glennon down the away right on 33 minutes and found Dan Crowley but his shot from the edge of the box caused no problems for Cartwright, then Clifton saw a shot blocked by Scott Robertson as Town came forward again.

Stone had to be alert to deny Eisa a tap-in from a low Vernam cross after good link-up play between the returning winger and Mullarkey on the right, with Town still firmly in charge.

But their lead was halved seven minutes before the break as Jones crossed from the left and McGOLDRICK slid in at the far post to make it 2-1.

A Vernam corner was headed clear by Bostock, before a free kick from Glennon on halfway was also dealt with.

Then, as the half moved into three added minutes, the visitors brought themselves level. Again, Jones set it up with a low cross from the left but this time, LANGSTAFF got in front of Cartwright to meet the ball and turn it into the net from inside the six-yard box.

A foul on Vernam gave Town a free kick inside the Notts half in the closing seconds but they were unable to profit from it and the scores remained level at the break.


No changes were made before the restart and Town started positively, with Vernam winning a corner within 20 seconds.

Andrews headed clear at the other end from another Jones cross, before Nemane ran the ball out of play on the opposite flank as the visitors attacked again.

Cartwright needed treatment after going down with an injury but was passed fit to continue and the game restarted.

The Mariners got their advantage back seven minutes in with a brilliant goal. The ball was won in midfield and Eisa took it forward before finding CLIFTON, who sent a low shot into the far corner of the net in front of the Pontoon Stand.

Sam Austin replaced Robertson as Notts made the first substitution of the game, before a superb save from Cartwright stopped McGoldrick from levelling matters once again.

Notts did go on to make it 3-3 soon afterwards, though, as Jones sent over another pin-point cross from the left on the hour and NEMANE bundled it into the net from close range.

Town refused to let their heads drop and within two minutes, they had the lead once again. Mullarkey’s low cross from the right fell for EISA at the far post and he beat Stone.

Great defending prevented McGoldrick from having a tap-in as Notts looked for yet another equaliser, then Nemane fired over the bar under pressure after a ball into the box from Crowley.

Eisa also saw a shot go over the bar as the game moved from end to end at pace, before the visitors almost got a fourth goal when Jones cut in from the left and tried a shot which Cartwright touched onto the bar. Nemane slid in to get to the rebound but could not get enough power on his effort to send the ball into the net and Maher cleared off the line.

Green and Wilson replaced Andrews and Vernam as Town made a double-substitution on 73 minutes, with Richard Brindley coming on for Connell Rawlinson in the blue of the away side at the same time.

Clifton sent a shot over the bar at the end of a great move which saw Wilson link up with Green on the right, before a strike from Clifton was blocked and another one by Eisa was deflected away for a corner. Glennon’s delivery into the box was caught by Stone.

Notts hauled themselves back into the game once more with 11 minutes to go, as Jones picked up his fourth assist of the afternoon. This time, he whipped a low ball into the six-yard box from deep on the left and NEMANE got to it first to convert at the far post and make it 4-4.

Jones was booked for dissent after a foul on Mullarkey which gave Town a free kick on the right on 84 minutes. Glennon’s delivery into the box was headed away and the ball eventually went back to Stone in the away goal.

Obikwu was sent on in place of Rose for his Grimsby debut with five minutes to go, before Clifton was booked for bringing Langstaff down on the left edge of the penalty area. Crowley’s free kick was punched clear by Cartwright.

The fourth official signalled for at least seven additional minutes as both sides looked for a dramatic late winner.

And in the second of those extra minutes, the visitors took the lead for the first time in the game. After a spell of possession on the left, the ball was worked across and Crowley found McGOLDRICK, who worked an opening before sending a low effort past Cartwright.

Wood and Holohan replaced Clifton and Conteh as the Mariners aimed to rescue something from the contest.

And unbelievably, the scoring was not over as Town showed their character to make it 5-5. A free kick from Glennon was controlled inside the box by Mullarkey and when it fell for WOOD, the Hull Citty loanee marked his debut with a superb curling finish from 20 yards.

Town had a final opportunity to snatch all three points with a corner on the right, although Glennon’s delivery was turned behind for a goal kick.

The away side also had a chance to win the game when Langstaff found himself with the ball at his feet on the edge of the box but his shot went over the bar and the referee’s final whistle came seconds later to end an incredible contest.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Harrogate Town.



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