Match Report – Dover Athletic 1 – 3 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town made it four wins from their last five games as they battled to an away victory at Dover Athletic.

In a scrappy encounter at Crabble, the Mariners established a two-goal advantage in the first half through Shaun Pearson and Tristan Abrahams before defender Jake Goodman reduced the hosts’ deficit.

Dover pushed forward after the break in search of an unlikely equaliser but Town stuck to their task well and they sealed the points when John McAtee made it 3-1 with 18 minutes to go.

Tristan Abrahams came into the Grimsby starting XI in place of Ryan Taylor in the only change to the team which started the home victory over Aldershot last Saturday.

That meant new signing Emmanuel Dieseruvwe had to wait to make his debut after joining on loan from Tranmere Rovers, as he was named on the bench.

Max Crocombe began in goal, with Michee Efete, Pearson, Luke Waterfall and Danny Amos forming an unchanged defence.  The midfield of Erico Sousa, Arjan Raikhy, Scott Burgess and Harry Clifton also remained intact, with McAtee lining up behind Abrahams in attack.

The substitutes were Andy Smith, Giles Coke, Sean Scannell, Joel Grant and Dieseruvwe.

Dover were unchanged from their midweek goalless draw, also against Aldershot, as they looked for what would be only their second win of a difficult season.

Town won the first corner of the game on three minutes but Waterfall was unable to turn Raikhy’s delivery towards goal.

A foul on Efete brought a free kick on the right but again, it did not lead to a chance in front of goal.

A free-kick from Ryan Hanson at the other end did result in the first chance of the game as the ball fell for Koby Arthur at the edge of the penalty area.  His shot took a deflection but Crocombe managed to change direction and make a good stop.

Another opportunity for Dover came on 10 minutes when Michael Gyasi got in behind the Town defence, although he shot wide as Crocombe rushed off his line.

A cross from Sousa beat everybody, then McAtee won a corner when his cross was deflected into the side-netting.  It was played short to Sousa, who made his way into the box but could not pick out a team-mate with his low ball, which went away for a Dover throw-in.

Clifton missed the target with a shot on 18 minutes, before a foul by Raikhy gave the home side a free-kick near the halfway line which they were unable to capitalise on as the ball from it was helped back to Crocombe.

Two home shots from the edge of the box were blocked in quick succession, then an effort by Abrahams at the other end was deflected for a corner.  Again, it was played short to Sousa but this time, after the ball was half-cleared, a volley from Pearson was blocked.

Neither side had established a grip on the game over a scrappy opening 25 minutes but the Mariners were given an opportunity to attack after Arthur was shown the first yellow card for a barge on Clifton.  The resulting free-kick from Amos was headed behind for a corner and it produced the opening goal as Amos’ delivery was headed home by Pearson at the far post.

Dover had a chance to get themselves level on 35 minutes when striker Alfie Pavey headed down for Henry Woods but he fired over the bar from close range.

And the hosts were made to pay as Town doubled their advantage seconds later when a through-ball found Abrahams, who lifted it over home goalkeeper Adam Parkes and into the net.

Dover’s first corner came five minutes before the break and from it, they were back in the game as the ball from the flag was flicked on and bundled into the net by defender Goodman to make it 2-1.

A free-kick from McAtee was caught by Parkes, before a run from Sousa saw him cut through towards goal but after the route opened up for him, he could only fire over the bar.

Burgess sent a shot just wide after a lay-off from Sousa as the half moved into two added minutes.

Dover made the first substitution of the afternoon during the added time as George Wilkinson replaced Arjanit Krasniqi, before a Clifton cross was kept in by Efete, although his return ball into the box was cut out before it could reach Sousa.

That meant Town went in at half-time 2-1 up, although Dover’s goal had given them confidence and something to build on.

No further changes were made before the restart and Dover won an early corner when a shot by Gyasi was blocked.  The ball from the flag was caught by Crocombe.

The hosts went close again when Pavey spotted Crocombe off his line and let fly with a shot from near the halfway line.  Fortunately for the Town keeper, the ball bounced just wide.

A foul by Raikhy gave Dover another opportunity to put pressure on the Grimsby goal but the free-kick was caught by Crocombe.

The keeper was called into action again soon afterwards when he had to race off his line and win a challenge with Gyasi.

At the other end, Efete and Sousa linked up on the right but nobody could get on the end of Sousa’s cross and the ball raced away for a Dover throw-in.

A foul by Waterfall on Arthur earned him a yellow card but the free kick caused no significant problems for the away defence.

Crocombe made a comfortable stop from Wilkinson, before Raikhy limped off to be replaced by Coke after the Aston Villa loanee came off worst following a challenge.

Abrahams saw a shot blocked on the hour but Dover were doing most of the attacking as they looked for an equaliser.

A ball across goal by Wilkinson went past the far post, before Dieseruvwe replaced Abrahams in the Town attack.

Burgess sent a shot well off-target after a backheel by McAtee, before the Mariners finally made sure of the points by grabbing a third goal.  Clifton launched a break and found McAtee, who cut inside to beat a defender before rolling the ball past Parkes and into the net.

The home side’s response to going two goals behind for the second time in the game was good as they won a corner, although they were unable to turn it into a goalscoring opportunity.

Arthur and Woods were replaced by James Caton and Djair Parfitt-Williams as Dover made a double-substitution with 14 minutes to go.

Sousa and Dieseruvwe linked up to create a chance on 78 minutes, although the offside flag was raised.

Sousa set off on another promising run two minutes later but was unable to apply a finish as he shot wide.

McAtee linked up with Dieseruvwe soon afterwards as the Mariners finally started to look comfortable in the game, although their exchange of passes ended with a misplaced ball from McAtee.

Crocombe had to tip a header from Goodman over his bar for a corner after the defender was first to the ball from a home free-kick.  The keeper then caught the ball from the flag.

Sousa blasted a shot over the bar at the other end before Smith replaced Amos in the Mariners’ final change with a minute to go.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the game and Town were able to close out the remainder of the contest to seal what was ultimately a more comfortable win than the opening 70 minutes would have suggested.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they host Woking at Blundell Park.

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