Match report: Aldershot Town 2-1 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town’s run of defeats continued as Aldershot Town picked up their first home points of the season.

The Mariners endured a difficult afternoon in Hampshire as their hosts ended a run of seven straight league losses at the Recreation Ground this campaign.

After an uncertain start by the visitors, Aldershot took the lead on 12 minutes when Tommy Willard struck from close range after a free kick was headed on.

Grimsby’s response was swift as Harry Clifton brought them level within five minutes but they were unable to build from that and when the third goal came just after the hour, it was Alfy Whittingham who settled the contest in favour of the home side and sentenced Town to a fourth straight loss in all competitions.

Four changes were made to the line-up which began the FA Cup tie at Kidderminster last week. James McKeown returned in goal, while Erico Sousa, Alex Hunt and Evan Khouri all came into the starting XI as Max Crocombe, David Longe-King, Giles Coke and Will Bapaga all dropped out.

McKeown started behind a defence of Michee Efete, Luke Waterfall, Ryley Towler and Seb Revan, with Sousa, Hunt, Ben Fox and Khouri forming the midfield as Clifton pushed forward to support striker Taylor.

Coke, Bapaga and Longe-King were all named on the bench, where they were joined by Adam Crookes and Lenell John-Lewis.

Aldershot came into the game sitting second from bottom of the National League table and desperate for points to end their nightmare run at home.

They had the first attack of the game as Corie Andrews got past Towler and sent the ball across but the move did not lead to McKeown being called into action.

Town’s first attack of note came on four minutes and saw Efete cross from the right but the ball was cleared.

A cross at the other end from Ryan Glover was turned away from goal, before the ball was put out for the game’s first corner, which was headed out by Clifton for another one. This time, the ball from the flag was defended and the pressure was relieved when the offside flag went up.

Town’s first corner came on nine minutes but after Waterfall was unable to reach Hunt’s delivery from the flag, the ball was cleared before Clifton could get to it.

A foul by Towler gave the hosts a free kick on 12 minutes and from it, they took the lead as Lewis Kinsella’s ball to the far post was not dealt with and after it was headed back across goal by Kodi Lyons-Foster, WILLARD ran in to score from close range.

Another free kick came three minutes later and again, it was not dealt with but this time, the ball went through to McKeown.

And soon afterwards, the Mariners were back on level terms as a cross from Sousa was missed by Khouri and Fox but when the ball came back into the box, CLIFTON was in the right place to head past home keeper Laurie Walker and make it 1-1.

A home corner came on 21 minutes after Towler was caught out by a ball over the top and from the flag, a brilliant save by McKeown kept the Mariners level as he tipped a goalbound header from Glover onto the bar, before the ball was cleared.

Glover was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon after fouling Clifton near the right edge of the penalty area but Town were unable to create a shooting chance from the resulting free kick.

Willard fired wide for Aldershot, then another home free kick was cleared by Khouri as the half-hour mark passed.

A cross from Clifton went out for a goal kick, before a ball across the Town penalty area from Willard was turned away by Khouri for a throw-in. That, in turn, led to a home corner as the long throw was headed behind and the ball from the flag was cleared.

Revan conceded a corner on 37 minutes and it was headed behind for another one by Waterfall. This time, the ball was cleared from danger.

Aldershot’s Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain was booked for a foul on Clifton on 39 minutes, then a long throw from Alfie Saunders caused problems in the Town defence as Revan headed past McKeown. Thankfully for the visitors, Efete was able to get back and clear.

Seconds later, Clifton set up an attack with a backheel to Sousa but after making progress, his ball into the box failed to find a team-mate.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, the scores remained level at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and an early free kick came when Clifton was fouled. Hunt’s ball into the box eventually came out to Efete but his cross was caught by keeper Walker.

Town won a corner five minutes in but Walker was first to Hunt’s ball from the flag, then Hunt found himself with the ball on the edge of the box but opted to pass instead of shooting and failed to find Sousa.

Sousa was booked on 56 minutes after catching Kinsella with a kick, before a quick break by the hosts led to a good chance, although the eventual shot was blocked.

Aldershot assistant manager Tom Prodomo was shown the yellow card after Kinsella went down again, although the home side were unable to create anything from the resulting free kick.

But soon afterwards, Aldershot snatched their lead back as a long throw was flicked on and WHITTINGHAM followed up to volley into the net.

A foul by Kinsella on Sousa gave Town an opportunity to respond from a free kick but Hunt’s delivery was headed clear.

Bapaga and John-Lewis were sent on in place of Fox and Khouri on 68 minutes as the Mariners looked for a way back into the game.

Another long throw from Saunders was headed away as far as the edge of the box, where Oxlade-Chamberlain was inches away from putting the result beyond doubt but could only watch his volley bounce back off the bar.

Mikael Ndjoli replaced Andrews for Aldershot with 20 minutes to go, before home boss Mark Molesley was booked after throwing a plastic bottle onto the pitch.

Clifton sent a shot just over the bar from the edge of the penalty area, before Bapaga fired wide from eight yards after Taylor held the ball up following good play by Sousa.

A cross from Efete was caught by Walker, before Sousa found the net after getting on the end of a great ball from Revan. Unfortunately though, the offside flag had already gone up and the goal didn’t count.

A shot by John-Lewis was held by the keeper on 82 minutes, before a corner at the other end was cleared.

Town won a corner with five minutes to go but Hunt’s ball from it was cleared and the visitors were unable to keep the attack going as Revan turned and passed back to McKeown.

The Mariners almost had a second equaliser on 87 minutes when John-Lewis worked an opening but his effort was blocked. As the rebound fell into Taylor’s path, it appeared as though he would put it into the net from close range but again, some great defending by the hosts meant the striker’s shot was blocked on the line and it remained 2-1.

Hunt became the latest player to be booked just before the game moved into five added minutes.

Town kept attacking but they could not find a breakthrough as Aldershot saw out the remainder of the contest to seal their victory.

The Mariners are next in action on Friday, when the live BT Sport cameras will visit Blundell Park for the home clash with Southend United.


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