Match Report – Grimsby Town 0 – 0 King’s Lynn Town

Grimsby Town were held to a goalless draw by King’s Lynn Town at Blundell Park.

The Mariners, aiming to make it three wins in a row, dominated possession and territory against the relegation-threatened Linnetts.

But they were left frustrated after being unable to force a breakthrough and their well-organised visitors held on to claim a precious point in their battle to stay in the National League.

It was an unchanged Grimsby starting XI following the fantastic victory at Notts County on Saturday, although injuries meant there had to be changes on the bench.

Max Crocombe started in goal, with Michee Efete, Shaun Pearson, Luke Waterfall and Danny Amos forming the defence.  Harry Clifton lined up for his 150th Town appearance as part of a midfield which also included Erico Sousa, Giles Coke and Arjan Raikhy, while John McAtee again supported Ryan Taylor in attack.

Lenell John-Lewis and Sean Scannell both came into the matchday squad as they joined Andy Smith, Scott Burgess and Tristan Abrahams among the substitutes.

King’s Lynn, managed by former Mariners midfielder Tommy Widdrington, were making their first ever visit to Blundell Park and were aiming to make it back to back wins following a 3-0 home success against Weymouth at the weekend.

A flick by Taylor almost led to an early chance for Town but defender Ross Barrows was alert to the danger and got to the ball ahead of McAtee.

Efete was then shown the first yellow card of the game on four minutes after catching his man with a high boot near the halfway line.

Town were on top over the first 10 minutes but the visitors created the first good chance of the game, as Harry Phipps sent a low ball across the box for Michael Clunen.  He was unable to take advantage though, as he dragged his first-time shot wide of the far post.

A snap-shot by Amos went over the bar at the other end after a good build-up by the Mariners, before the first corner came when a deep cross from Amos was headed behind.  Raikhy’s low ball from the flag was cleared.

A free kick from Theo Widdrington was eventually dealt with by Pearson, then a looping cross from Clunen resulted in a corner for King’s Lynn but Barrows could not direct his header from it towards goal.

Town won a corner at the other end seconds later after Clifton’s low cross was intercepted and it led to another one when Coke’s shot was blocked.  This time, Raikhy’s outswinger found Waterfall but his header was caught by goalkeeper Paul Jones.

McAtee beat two defenders on a run down the left before cutting inside and shooting at Jones on 22 minutes, before another opportunity to attack came when Clifton was fouled inside the away half.  The free kick was worked to Efete on the right, although his low cross was claimed by the keeper.

Clifton had an opportunity when a through-ball broke for him on 25 minutes to leave him one-on-one with Jones but the stopper came out on top as he dived to tip the midfielder’s low strike away for a corner, which was headed wide.

Widdrington was booked for a foul on McAtee near the halfway line on 28 minutes and the resulting free kick eventually led to Pearson hitting a volley on the turn which was comfortably stopped by Jones.

Crocombe was called into action for the first time five minutes later as he dived to make a good stop from Cam Hargreaves’ 20-yard shot, with away attacks still rare.

A foul on Sousa gave Town a free kick midway inside the King’s Lynn half on 42 minutes but they were unable to create a chance from it and soon afterwards, a break by the visitors led to a shot from Hargreaves which was deflected through to Crocombe.

One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, the Mariners’ dominance went unrewarded as the teams went into the dressing rooms level at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and Town were on the attack straight away, with Raikhy sending a 25-yard effort over the bar at the Pontoon Stand end.

McAtee won a corner on the left seven minutes in but Raikhy’s ball from the flag was cleared, then another home attack saw Sousa narrowly miss the target with a drive from 18 yards after a patient build-up.

Barrows saw the referee’s yellow card after pulling Clifton back on the Town right but the free-kick was cleared, then a home appeal for a penalty was turned down by the referee after a strong handball shout when the ball was sent back into the box.

Efete narrowly failed to connect with a ball to the far post on the hour as the home side continued to attack.

And they went the closest yet to opening the scoring three minutes later when more patient play around the edge of the box led to McAtee striking a powerful first-time effort which bounced back off the post.

Waterfall was booked for a foul on Tyler Denton midway inside the Town half and Widdrington aimed to catch Crocombe out at his near post with the resulting free-kick but his shot flew wide.

McAtee won a corner on 71 minutes when his shot was blocked by Barrows and before it was taken, Denton was replaced by Jak Hickman as the away side made the first substitution.  Raikhy’s ball was then met by Waterfall but his header was pushed out by keeper Jones for another corner, which was cleared.

Scannell and Abrahams replaced Coke and Taylor for the Mariners with 17 minutes to go but Crocombe was the next goalkeeper to be called into action as he tipped a 25-yard shot from Widdrington away for a corner.

The visitors appeared to be growing in confidence as the game went on and they started to believe a good result could be there for them.

Brett McGavin came on for Widdrington in the yellow of King’s Lynn and they had a great chance to open the scoring after striker Malachi Linton skipped past Pearson on the right but his cross was headed wide.

Burgess replaced Raikhy in the home side’s final change with 10 minutes to go and the substitute sent a shot well over the bar three minutes later after the ball had been pulled back for him.

Josh Barrett came on for Linton in the away attack on 84 minutes, before another Town corner came when a McAtee shot was saved.  The ball from the flag was scrambled clear but it was sent back into the box and Efete sliced wide at the far post.

The fourth official signalled six added minutes to be played at the end of the game as Town kept searching for a breakthrough.

But despite being camped in the King’s Lynn half, they were unable to force that crucial goal and it was the 73 away supporters who were celebrating a vital point when the final whistle blew.

For the Mariners, it was an opportunity missed as they look to move closer to the play-off places.

They are next in action on Saturday, when Aldershot are the visitors to Blundell Park.

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