Match Report – Barnet 2 – 2 Grimsby Town

A late comeback saw Grimsby Town recover from two goals down to earn a point on the road at Barnet.

The Mariners, backed by 1,319 travelling fans who outnumbered the home supporters at The Hive, were below par for long periods and found themselves a goal down at the break after Adam Marriott put the hosts ahead.

Town made a positive start to the second half but were left with even more work to do as a Luke Waterfall own-goal doubled Barnet’s advantage.

But they stuck to their task and were back in the contest when Andy Smith halved the deficit with nine minutes to go, before Waterfall levelled the scores to spark a frantic finale.

The visitors had chances to snatch all three points but had to settle for what had seemed an unlikely draw, ensuring their unbeaten run continues.

Two changes were made to the Town starting line-up after last week’s home win against Torquay United, with Adam Crookes and Erico Sousa coming back into the team as Danny Amos and Jordan Maguire-Drew dropped out.

Max Crocombe began in goal, with Michee Efete, Smith, Waterfall and Crookes forming the defence.  Sousa, Joey Jones, Gavan Holohan, Harry Clifton and Sean Scannell were the midfielders, with Ryan Taylor up front.

Maguire-Drew was named on the bench, along with Jordan Cropper, Ben Fox, Tristan Abrahams and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe.

Barnet were looking to build on a victory over Eastleigh last time out, although a bad run of results before that left Dean Brennan’s men 18th in the National League table at kick-off and with little to play for over the remaining games of the season.

An early foul by Smith gave the home side a free kick in a dangerous position and it led to a good chance as Ryan De Havilland’s delivery was met by Ross Marshall, although he sent the ball wide.

Waterfall escaped a booking for pulling his man back near the halfway line on four minutes but this time, the resulting free kick went straight through for a goal kick.

The home side’s good start continued when Smith gave away a corner on eight minutes.  The ball from it was cleared and soon afterwards, Town had their first corner at the other end.  Scannell’s delivery was caught by home keeper Aymen Azaze.

A cross from Wes Fonguck was collected by Crocombe, before a move down the Town right led to a corner.  Scannell’s ball from it was headed over the bar by Waterfall.

A third Town corner came on 14 minutes and was cleared by Fonguck, with Adam Marriott firing wide from distance for the home side seconds later.

Clifton won another corner for the Mariners three minutes on but before it was taken, Efete needed treatment for an injury.  The corner was then headed clear at the near post, before a shot from Sousa was saved by Azaze.

Efete was initially passed fit to continue but lasted only seconds after coming back onto the pitch before going down again and this time, he was replaced by Cropper as Town were forced into making the first substitution on 21 minutes.

Marshall was shown the first yellow card of the game after a foul on Scannell on the edge of the penalty area.  Scannell’s free kick was hard and low but Barnet eventually cleared their lines after a shot from Waterfall was blocked.

Holohan was unable to get on the end of a ball from Sousa as Town attacked again, before a stoppage came when Barnet’s Ephron Mason-Clark went down with a head injury.

Waterfall was booked for a foul on Mason-Clark on 38 minutes and from it, the hosts took the lead.  De Havilland’s ball was headed up into the air by Waterfall and when it broke for MARRIOTT, he volleyed home for his 15th goal of the season.

Town immediately looked to respond and they won a free kick when Clifton was fouled on the halfway line.  It did not lead to a chance in front of goal though, as Clifton was caught offside.

Mason-Clark sent a shot wide at the other end after a through-ball from Fonguck, before a foul on Cropper gave the Mariners a free kick on the halfway line.  Crookes’ ball from it found Waterfall but his header looped onto the roof of the net.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the first half and with no further chances for either side, the hosts’ lead remained intact at the interval as Town were left with plenty still to do.

Abrahams replaced Jones before the restart in Town’s second change.  A foul on Scannell gave them an early free kick but after Scannell’s delivery was missed by keeper Azaze, nobody could turn it back towards goal.

Another free kick came soon afterwards and this time, it did lead to a chance as the ball was met by Waterfall but he could only glance a header just past the post.

A long throw from Cropper was headed clear soon afterwards and after the ball was sent back into the box, Waterfall’s header was straight at Azaze.

But despite a positive opening to the half, the Mariners fell further behind on 53 minutes when a cross from Rob Hall was diverted into the net by Waterfall for an OWN-GOAL.

A chance for the Mariners to halve the deficit cam when Holohan’s ball to the far post was headed back across goal by Clifton but nobody was there to convert the opportunity.

A Town corner came just before the hour but it was cleared, with appeals from the away fans for a foul on Smith waved away by the referee.

Crookes was fouled by Daniel Powell to give the visitors a free kick, which was headed away for a corner.  The ball from it was dropped by Azaze but the home defence recovered to clear the danger.

Barnet’s Harry Taylor was booked for a foul on Taylor inside the home half on 67 minutes.  Scannell’s free kick was headed wide by Smith.

A home free kick was headed clear by Taylor, before Clifton sent a shot up into the air and through to Azaze in the home goal.

Fox replaced Holohan in Town’s third and final substitution, before a cross from Sousa was headed clear as the Mariners looked for a way back into the contest.

A shot by Sousa on 77 minutes was caught at the second attempt by the keeper after some good football by Town, then a free kick for a foul on Taylor was cleared for a throw-in.

Smith was shown the yellow card for a foul on 80 minutes but the resulting free kick caused no further damage as the hosts were penalised for a foul on Clifton.

The Mariners were back in the game with nine minutes to go as they halved the deficit.  A long throw into the box from Cropper fell for SMITH and he turned it into the net to make it 2-1.

Clifton sent a drive over the bar from the edge of the box, before Abrahams did well to win a corner on 84 minutes but it was headed clear.  The ball was sent back into the box and Sousa’s attempted shot fell for Abrahams but he was unable to turn it towards goal.

A header from Waterfall was caught by Azaze as the Mariners kept up the pressure, before an attempt by Clifton was blocked.

Town were not to be denied though and as the game moved into stoppage time, they had their equaliser as a ball into the box found WATERFALL and he side-footed into the net from close range.

Seven minutes of added time gave the Mariners an opportunity to find what had seemed an unlikely winner.

Barnet had created little since Town started their comeback but Crocombe was called into action to stop a shot from Mason-Clark.

Town had an opportunity to win the game after a corner was headed clear  The Mariners kept possession and Abrahams found himself in a shooting position but Azaze produced a great save to keep the scores level.

That proved to be the last chance to snatch all three points in a frantic finale to the contest but after going 2-0 down, it will feel like a point gained for the Mariners.

They are next in action on Saturday, when Maidenhead United are the visitors to Blundell Park.

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