Match Report | Colchester United 0 – 1 Grimsby Town

Harry Clifton’s fourth goal of the season kept Grimsby Town’s winning run on the road going as they beat Colchester United at the JobServe Community Stadium.

The winger grabbed the only goal of the afternoon to ensure the Mariners won their fourth away game on the spin in the league.

Neither side managed to establish control of a scrappy first half but Town improved after the break and got their reward three minutes after the hour when Clifton ran onto a great ball from Ryan Taylor and produced a composed finish.

The visitors came under pressure in the later stages as Colchester poured forward in search of an equaliser but some resolute defending ensured the 589 travelling supporters would be going home happy once again.

Alex Hunt was given his first start since rejoining the Mariners on a permanent deal as he replaced Bryn Morris in the only change following Tuesday’s home draw with Gillingham.

Max Crocombe began in goal, with Michee Efete, Luke Waterfall, Andy Smith and Anthony Glennon forming the defence.  Brendan Kiernan, Gavan Holohan, Hunt and Clifton were the midfielders, with Lewis Richardson supporting Taylor in attack.

The Grimsby substitutes were Shaun Pearson, Niall Maher, Evan Khouri, Jordan Maguire-Drew, Stephen Wearne, Keyendrah Simmonds and Danilo Orsi.

Colchester boss Wayne Brown named an unchanged starting XI after their 1-1 draw at Walsall in midweek.  Frank Nouble scored United’s goal that night, while his strike-partner Kwesi Appiah and Newcastle loanee Matty Longstaff would also be out to pose a major threat to the Town defence.

An early cross from the home right was comfortably gathered by Crocombe, before a foul by Waterfall on Nouble brought a free kick inside the visitors’ half.  Waterfall got to the ball from it first to head clear.

Home goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara’s first task of the afternoon was to collect a cross from Holohan on eight minutes, with Crocombe making a similar catch at the other end soon afterwards.

Holohan called O’Hara into more serious action two minutes later with a swerving drive from 20 yards, which the keeper dived to push away before the ball was eventually put out for a corner.  Hunt’s delivery from the flag was headed back across by Waterfall at the far post but Efete was unable to force it towards goal.

Appiah looked to have a chance to put the hosts ahead when he met a cross from the right but his free header bounced straight to Crocombe, with the offside flag then going up.

Crocombe went on to make a good block from Appiah at his near post on 17 minutes after the striker got in behind Waterfall.  The rebound fell for Nouble but he sent it over the bar.

Colchester had the ball in the net three minutes later when Ryan Clampin’s strike was turned in by Nouble at the far post but the celebrations were short-lived as the goal was disallowed for offside.

Holohan was spoken to after a foul near the edge of the home penalty area, then Town had a free kick on the right when Richardson was brought down  by Alan Judge.  Hunt’s ball from it was caught by O’Hara.

Clampin could only volley wide from a narrow angle after meeting a cross at the far post, then a foul on Hunt brought another free kick inside the Colchester half.  Again, the Mariners were unable to make the most of it as Hunt’s ball sailed out for a goal kick.

Neither side had managed to gain control of the game as the half-hour approached, with Smith surviving a handball penalty shout from the home fans before a quick break led to Richardson trying his luck with a shot from 25 yards at the other end.  It was pushed away for a corner, which was cleared after Smith had won the initial header.

Clampin won a corner for Colchester on 31 minutes but it was dealt with by Taylor at the near post.  The hosts kept possession but a push on Glennon relieved the pressure.

Town’s next attack saw Clifton turn and shoot from the edge of the box after a cross from Efete on the right, although his low effort was comfortably stopped by O’Hara.

A stoppage came when Clifton stayed down after being caught by a high boot from Longstaff, who was shown the first yellow card of the game for the foul.  Clifton was eventually passed fit to play on after receiving treatment.

Richardson and Taylor linked up well near the edge of the penalty area on 38 minutes but when Taylor tried to poke the ball on for Clifton, it was intercepted and cleared.

A late challenge by Efete on Luke Chambers earned the right-back a booking three minutes before the break, then a cross from Nouble was gathered by Crocombe at the second attempt as the referee blew for a foul on the keeper.

One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances created by either side, the game remained goalless at the interval.

Cole Skuse replaced Judge for Colchester before the restart but it was Town who had the first chance of the second half.  Richardson got the ball on the left and cut inside before playing a one-two with Taylor.  The Burnley loanee then went down under a challenge from Tom Dallinson inside the box but his penalty appeal was waved away by the referee.

Tom Eastman escaped a booking for pulling Richardson down as the attacker looked to launch a break, before Smith did well to get to a cross from the home right first and send the ball away for a corner, which was cleared.

Richardson failed to connect with an overhead kick attempt after a clever ball from Kiernan released Efete down the right.

Another Town penalty appeal was then turned down just before the hour when Clifton was pushed in the back as he looked to get to a Glennon cross.

Efete won a corner soon afterwards but Waterfall could not direct his header towards goal.

Freddie Sears came on for Nouble in the home side’s second change but moments later, the deadlock was broken by the Mariners.  Taylor turned inside the centre circle and looked up before playing a brilliant ball over the top for CLIFTON, who timed his run to perfection and lifted his shot over the stranded O’Hara.

Colchester’s response saw them win a corner but the ball from the flag was well-defended.

Kiernan was then penalised for a foul 25 yards from his own goal when he appeared to be the one whose shirt was initially being pulled.  Longstaff played the ball short from the free kick and a low cross was blocked for a corner, which eventually led to an offside decision.

Crocombe came off his line to claim a cross from the home left, before a cross from Holohan was caught by the keeper at the other end after a spell of Town possession.

Alex Newby, Noah Chilvers and Junior Tchamadeu came on for Longstaff, Clampin and Eastman as the hosts made a triple-substitution with 17 minutes remaining.

Soon afterwards, Smith did well to turn a low cross away for a corner on the left but Colchester were unable to cause any significant problems from it.

Another home corner came on 76 minutes on the right but the ball from the flag went straight into the side-netting.

Orsi replaced Richardson in Town’s first change a minute later, before Kiernan was booked for a foul near the halfway line.

An excellent move by the Mariners saw Taylor hold the ball up well for Clifton before Glennon’s cross was pushed away for a throw-in by O’Hara.

At the other end, a superb tackle by Smith stopped a dangerous-looking attack on 81 minutes, before Beryly Lubala headed wide from a narrow angle at the far post after a cross from the right.

Maher replaced Kiernan with six minutes to go as Town switched to three at the back, with Colchester pouring forward in search of an equaliser.

Khouri then came on for Hunt as the Mariners made their third substitution just before the game moved into six added minutes.

Town were coming under pressure from their hosts, although a lack of end product from Colchester, combined with some assured defending, meant Crocombe’s goal was still not being seriously threatened as the added time ticked down.

And the Mariners were able to close out the remainder of the contest to ensure they returned from Essex with a clean sheet and all three points.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they host Mansfield Town at Blundell Park in their second Papa John’s Trophy group match.


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