Match Report: Grimsby Town 0-0 Cheltenham Town

Grimsby Town earned a point from a goalless draw with high-flying Cheltenham Town at Blundell Park.

The Mariners created plenty of chances in the first half but could not find a way past keeper Scott Flinders.

After the break, the opportunities were fewer but both sides will feel they could have won the game.

In the end though, both had to settle for a draw, with interim manager Anthony Limbrick picking up his first point in temporary charge of the Mariners.

Two changes were made to the Town side after the 2-0 weekend defeat at Northampton, with Elliott Whitehouse coming in for Ethan Robson and Ahkeem Rose replacing Jordan Cook.

James McKeeown started in goal, with Elliott Hewitt, Harry Davis, Luke Waterfall and Liam Gibson forming an unchanged back four.

Harry Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Whitehouse were the midfielders, with Rose and Matt Green either side of James Hanson in attack.

Robson was selected on the bench, where he was joined by Ludvig Ohman, Harry Cardwell, Joe Starbuck, Moses Ogbu, Sam Russell and Mattie Pollock.

Cheltenham, who included former Town midfielder Chris Clements in their starting XI, made the long journey north looking for a victory that would take them into the top three in the League Two table.

The Mariners, on the other hand, had slipped down the table after a poor run of form as well as three postponements and began the game in 19th position.

An early foul on Rose by Ben Tozer gave Town a free kick in a dangerous position on the left. Hessenthaler’s far-post delivery was met by Waterfall but his header was tipped over the bar for a corner by visiting keeper Scott Flinders.

Cheltenham then began to come into the game, with the away side keeping possession well and looking to build up attacks patiently.

Striker Reuben Reid created an opportunity for Jake Doyle-Hayes but the Town defence recovered and the ball was eventually cleared.

Clifton was spoken to by the referee after a foul on Ryan Broom, with an advantage initially played as the visitors attacked through Reid.

Rose did well to win a corner on the left on 23 minutes after a heavy first touch had taken him away from goal but Hessenthaler’s ball from the flag was cleared and Cheltenham broke, with Broom running through the middle before shooting at McKeown.

Another Grimsby corner came a minute later but again, the ball was cleared from danger. Seconds later though, another opportunity came when it was worked to Green inside the box but his low effort was stopped by Flinders at his near post.

Rose fired wide from distance as the home side’s promising spell continued, then a foul on Whitehouse gave them a free-kick inside the Cheltenham half but the ball from it was headed clear.

A great ball from Clifton sent Rose into the penalty area but the striker could not find a team-mate, then a breakthrough the middle by the visitors ended with McKeown coming off his line to win the ball.

Whitehouse let fly with a 20-yard drive that was well held by Flinders on 32 minutes as the opportunities kept coming.

The first yellow card of the game was shown to Whitehouse on 37 minutes after a foul, before Gibson found Whitehouse inside the box but he was twice denied by Flinders from close range.

The keeper also punched clear after a corner from the right was headed on by Waterfall and made blocks from Davis and Green before the ball was eventually cleared.

Town were on top as half-time loomed and another chance came on 43 minutes but Rose’s shot was blocked on the line by Doyle-Hayes before Hanson saw his rebound deflected away for a corner, which led to Whitehouse hitting the post with a low effort from the edge of the box.

A foul on Hanson on the halfway line gave the Mariners another chance to attack as the game moved into two added minutes, although the free-kick was headed away by Will Boyle.

That proved to be the last attack of note in a half which Town had dominated in terms of chances created and they would have been disappointed not to go in at the break with a lead.

Sean Long replaced Clements before the restart and an early Hessenthaler free-kick from the left was headed clear.

A shot by Hanson from the edge of the box on 52 minutes was stopped by Flinders, before a cross from Chris Hussey at the other end was punched clear by McKeown.

Gavin Reilly was replaced by Alex Addai for Cheltenham before an away corner on the left. It was played short and led to another one when a shot by Hussey was deflected over the bar. This time, Rose was first to the ball and got it away for a throw-in.

Hanson went down injured on the hour and was unable to continue, with Ogbu coming on in his place.

Reid tried his luck fom distance for Cheltenham on 63 minutes but his curling shot missed the target.

Davis was booked on 72 minutes for bringing Addai down as the substitute looked to break towards the penalty area. The free-kick was dragged wide by Hussey.

Whitehouse was replaced by Robson, before a Town attack saw a cross from Hewitt on the right headed back across goal, where it was cleared.

A cross from Gibson on the opposite flank soon afterwards was met by Davis but his header went up and out for a goal kick.

Hewitt had to concede a corner after Hussey was given space to pull the ball back across goal, although the flag-kick caused no problems as the referee’s whistle blew for a foul on McKeown.

Max Sheaf replaced Reid for Cheltenham and Cardwell came on for Rose as both teams made their final substitutions with four minutes to go.

Cardwell was immediately into the action, taking the ball on the left and cutting in before hitting a low shot that was stopped by Flinders.

Davis was spoken to by the referee after a foul near the halfway line but no further punishment was deemed necessary for the defender.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the contest and a chance for the away side came in the third of them, although Broom’s shot was always rising and cleared the bar.

That was the last chance for either side to win the game, so it was a point apiece.

Town are next in action on December 7, when Swindon Town are the visitors to Blundell Park.

Town: McKeown (c), Hewitt, Davis, Waterfall, Gibson, Hessenthaler, Whitehouse, Clifton, Rose, Hanson, Green. 

Subs: Russell, Öhman, Pollock, Robson, Cardwell, Ogbu, Starbuck.

Cheltenham Town: Flinders , Greaves, Boyle , Tozer (C),  Thomas,  Hussey, Doyle-Hayes, Broom, Clements, Reilly, Reid.

Subs: Lovett, Long, Addai, Ince, Sheaf, Lloyd, Smith.

Attendance: 2,508 (62)

Referee: Chris Pollard

Possession: Town 50% – 50% Cheltenham


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