Grimsby Town produced a superb away performance to beat Cheltenham Town and secure their first win of the season.
The Mariners’ first league goal of the campaign came through a brilliant first-half strike by Owura Edwards, although their advantage lasted just six minutes as Andy Williams struck back for the hosts.
But Town were back in front before the interval as James Tilley made it 2-1 and after they defended well to keep Cheltenham out throughout the second half, substitute Owen Windsor made the points safe with a third goal in added time.
Five changes were made to the Town starting XI after Saturday’s goalless draw at Bolton Wanderers, with Ludvig Ohman, James Morton, Tilley, Edwards and Montel Gibson all coming in.
James McKeown began in goal, with Ohman, Mattie Pollock and Luke Waterfall forming a central-defensive trio.
Luke Hendrie and Danny Preston operated as wing-backs, with Harry Clifton and Morton in central midfield as Tilley, Edwards and Gibson started in attack.
The Grimsby substitutes were Sam Russell, Duncan Idehen, Luke Spokes, Terry Taylor, Windsor, James Hanson and Matt Green.
Cheltenham had won eight of their 10 previous League Two matches across this and last season and were looking to go top of the table with a win.
The hosts won the first corner of the game on five minutes when a cross from Liam Sercombe was blocked by Pollock but the low ball from it was brought clear by Edwards, who ran almost the length of the pitch before firing off-target from 20 yards.
Another home corner came when a low cross from Andy Williams was cut out by Waterfall. This time, Chris Hussey’s ball to the far post was headed back for Ben Tozer, who volleyed high over the bar.
A Cheltenham penalty claim came when a cross was flicked on by Williams and George Lloyd poked the ball past McKeown towards goal. It appeared to come off Waterfall’s arm before hitting the post but the referee waved play on and Town cleared.
At the other end, home keeper Josh Griffiths had to race out of his penalty area to beat Gibson to a long ball forward.
A long throw from Ben Tozer on 18 minutes was headed behind for a corner and this time, it was played low to the penalty spot, where Sercombe shot over the bar.
Tilley did well to turn and make his way into the Cheltenham box two minutes later but good defending by Hussey saw the ball eventually go out for a goal kick.
The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes as the Mariners scored their first goal of the season. Will Boyle had the ball taken off him by EDWARDS, who cut in from the right and fired a great shot past Griffiths from the edge of the box.
Town almost doubled their lead just a minute later when a through-ball from Clifton found Gibson but he was stopped by a challenge from Boyle inside the box as Griffiths came off his line. The striker appealed for a penalty but again, the referee had other ideas.
Instead, the hosts equalised with their next chance on 28 minutes. Pollock lost possession to Lloyd and he played the ball to Sercombe, who pulled it back for WILLIAMS to slot into the net from close range.
Town had the ball in the net for a second time soon afterwards as they looked to reclaim the lead but Gibson was adjudged to be offside as he headed Hendrie’s cross past Griffiths and the score remained at 1-1.
The game was moving from end to end at pace and Sercombe could have put the home side ahead just after the half-hour when a low cross was left for him by Lloyd. He could not find the net though, as McKeown made a good block.
Gibson had another chance when Hendrie’s ball ricocheted through to him but his shot from just inside the box went wide of the target.
But the Mariners did restore their lead on 39 minutes when TILLEY got the ball on the right and cut inside before hitting an effort from 20 yards that slipped through the grasp of keeper Griffiths and dropped into the net.
Hendrie dragged a shot wide from distance after taking the ball forward from the halfway line as Town looked for a third goal with half-time looming.
At the other end, Ohman did well to deny Lloyd after a good ball from Tozer. The resulting corner was eventually cleared off the line by Pollock after Charlie Raglan’s shot.
Two added minutes were played at the end of what had been a frenetic first half and with no further chances before the referee’s whistle, the Mariners held their 2-1 advantage at the interval.
No changes were made before the restart and Cheltenham won the first corner of the second half but it was headed clear by Ohman.
Town had more defending to do when Lloyd almost played Williams in but again, the danger was dealt with as Preston got the ball clear.
A foul by Elliot Bonds on Edwards earned him a booking before a home corner was headed wide by Boyle.
A cross from Matty Blair on the home right on 53 minutes was not held by McKeown but Ohman was in the right place to get the ball away from danger.
Town had a great chance to extend their lead when a long ball from Pollock was touched through to Gibson, who found himself one-on-one with Griffiths. The striker was unable to make it count though as he shot wide of the near post.
A cross from Boyle on the left was blocked for a Cheltenham corner just after the hour but the ball from the flag was headed wide.
The hosts then made a double substitution, with Reuben Reid and Alfie May sent on in place of Raglan and Williams.
Gibson was replaced by Windsor as Town made their first change on 64 minutes and a Town corner soon afterwards eventually turned into another one on the opposite right flank. This time, Morton’s ball was headed clear.
Pollock was booked for a foul on Bonds on the halfway line, before a shot by Clifton at the other end was deflected away for a corner, which was cleared by Blair.
A cross from Edwards on the left was headed back across goal by Hendrie but nobody in the blue of the Mariners could get to it and the ball was hammered clear by Tozer.
An effort from distance by Sercombe was deflected through to McKeown after a long throw had been cleared, with the hosts pushing for an equaliser.
Idehen replaced Ohman on 75 minutes after the defender seemed to pick up an injury, before another home corner was punched clear by McKeown.
Hanson came on for his first appearance of the season as he replaced Tilley on 79 minutes, with Alex Addai coming on in place of Lloyd for the hosts at the same time.
Hendrie was shown the yellow card for a foul on Boyle inside the Cheltenham half on 84 minutes and the free-kick was pumped into the Town box by Griffiths but when it broke for Addai, he could only blast a volley well off-target.
Bonds hit the home side’s next chance over the bar after a low cross from the right had been blocked, before McKeown made a brilliant, one-handed save to deny Sercombe from close range and keep the Mariners ahead.
The fourth official signalled five minutes of added time and in the fourth of them, Town made the points safe with a third goal. Edwards’ ball forward was left by Hanson and WINDSOR went through to take it on and slot past Griffiths for 3-1.
That put the result beyond doubt and the Mariners were able to celebrate their first victory of the season.
They are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Leyton Orient.
- Joshua Griffiths
- William Boyle
- Ben Tozer (C)
- Charlie Raglan
- Matty Blair
- Chris Hussey
- Conor Thomas
- Liam Sercombe
- Elliott Bonds
- Andy Williams
- George Lloyd
- Max Harris
- Lewis Freestone
- Grant Horton
- Alex Addai
- Chris Clements
- Alfie May
- Reuben Reid
- James McKeown (C)
- Luke Waterfall
- Danny Preston
- Ludvig Öhman
- Matthew Pollock
- Harry Clifton
- Luke Hendrie
- James Morton
- Owura Edwards
- Montel Gibson
- James Tilley
- Sam Russell
- Duncan Idehen
- Luke Spokes
- Terry Taylor
- Matt Green SUB
- James Hanson
- Owen Windsor
Referee: Paul Howard
Next Up: Leyton Orient (A)