Match Report: Forest Green Rovers 3-0 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town were heavily beaten by play-off-chasing Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn.

After an even start to the contest, Christian Doidge put the hosts ahead before two goals either side of half-time took the game away from the Mariners.

Doidge grabbed the second in first-half stoppage time as he reacted quickest after a free kick had been saved, before Reece Brown got the third five minutes after the restart.

With regular number one James McKeown suspended, Sam Russell started in goal for Town as one of three changes to the team that began the defeat by Lincoln City on Saturday.

He was protected by a back five of Luke Hendrie, Harry Davis, Ludvig Ohman, new signing Joe Grayson and Sebastian Ring.

Mitch Rose, Jake Hessenthaler and Charles Vernam were the midfielders, with Wes Thomas and Harry Cardwell in attack.

The Grimsby substitutes were Reece Hall-Johnson, Harry Clifton, Martyn Woolford, Ahkeem Rose, Alex Whitmore, John Welsh and young goalkeeper Ollie Battersby.

Forest Green sat in seventh place in the table at kick-off and were looking to consolidate their position in the play-off race.

The first chance of the game went to the hosts and saw striker Doidge meet a cross from George Williams on the right but Russell did well to push the ball onto the post, before winning a free kick from the follow-up.

An attempt by Williams from the edge of the box on nine minutes was comfortably collected by Russell, before a ball forward by former Mariner Gavin Gunning was volleyed clear by Ring.

Town had an opportunity to get the ball into the penalty area when Hendrie was fouled near the right touchline and after the free kick was cleared, Vernam brought it back towards goal and won a corner, which did not lead to a chance in front of goal.

A good flick by Thomas on 19 minutes sent Cardwell through but the striker was crowded out and was unable to get a shot away.

A free kick from Vernam four minutes later was deflected away for a corner, which turned into another after home keeper James Montgomery failed to deal with the ball from the flag.  Ring’s delivery from the opposite flank was headed clear.

Thomas was spoken to by the referee after a late challenge on Joseph Mills, before a home free kick from Reece Brown was cleared.

But the Mariners were to fall behind a minute before the half-hour when a cross from Liam Shephard on the right was met by DOIDGE, who headed home unchallenged from six yards.

Carl Winchester fired wide of the mark from the edge of the box as the hosts looked for a quick second goal, before an effort from Thomas at the other end was deflected and looped through to Montgomery.

A free kick from Williams was then well saved by Russell after the ball dipped in front of the keeper.

Town almost went further behind on 38 minutes when a shot was lifted over Russell by Brown but as it looked to be going towards the net, Davis got back brilliantly and cleared the ball off the line, before the rebound was deflected out for a corner.

A speculative shot by Winchester from distance went well wide three minutes later as the hosts pressed for a second goal.

And they were to get it just as the game moved into two added minutes at the end of the half after Ohman was harshly adjudged to have fouled his man on the edge of his own box.  Mills’ shot from the free kick was saved by Russell but DOIDGE was first to the rebound to make it 2-0 from close range.

That left the Mariners with a mountain to climb in the second half if they were to take anything from the game.

No changes were made before the restart and the first chance after the interval came when a foul by Ohman on Doidge was adjudged to be just outside the box despite appeals for a penalty.  The defender was booked before BROWN stepped up to send the free kick around the Town wall and into the net to extend the home side’s lead further.

Forest Green immediately went in search of a fourth goal and they could have had it after a quick break but when the shot eventually came in from Brown, Russell was equal to it.

A shot from Doidge on 54 minutes was also saved by the keeper as the hosts continued to dominate.

Clifton replaced Vernam as Town made the first substitution of the game two minutes later, before Rose was booked for a foul on Winchester in midfield on 62 minutes.

A cross from Hessenthaler was flicked towards goal by Clifton but the ball went just past the post.

Brown was then replaced by Shawn McCoulsky for Forest Green, before Ahkeem Rose came on in place of Cardwell in Town’s second change.

Thomas sent a shot off-target before Woolford was the last of the away side’s substitutes to be sent on, with Mitch Rose making way.

A good cross from Woolford was not turned into a goalscoring opportunity as neither Clifton nor Rose was able to get on the end of it.

Tahvon Campbell and Lloyd James replaced Winchester and Williams as the home side made their final two changes with 13 minutes to go.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the game and in the first of them, the Mariners created a chance to pull a goal back when Grayson’s cross found Rose but his header went wide.

That proved to be the last opportunity for Town to grab a consolation on what had been a disapointing evening in Gloucestershire.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when Milton Keynes Dons are the visitors to Blundell Park.

Forest Green Rovers

13 James Montgomery 
19 Nathan McGinley 
16 Gavin Gunning (C) 
6 Farrend Rawson 
2 Liam Shephard 
23 Joseph Mills 
7 Carl Winchester 
20 Paul Digby 
10 Reece Brown 
9 Christian Doidge 
11 George Williams


34 Lewis Ward 
5 Lee Collins 
4 Lloyd James 
14 Tahvon Campbell 
21 Shawn McCoulsky 
26 Reuben Reid 
25 Junior Mondal


23 Sam Russell 
14 Joe Grayson 
24 Harry Davis (C) 
5 Ludvig Öhman 
27 Luke Hendrie 
3 Sebastian Ring 
7 Jake Hessenthaler 
8 Mitch Rose 
18 Charles Vernam 
39 Wes Thomas 
17 Harry Cardwell


28 Ollie Battersby 
2 Reece Hall-Johnson 
25 Alex Whitmore 
15 Harry Clifton 
4 John Welsh 
16 Martyn Woolford 
21 Ahkeem Rose

Attendance: 1,810 (187)

Referee: Antony Coggins


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