Match Report – Grimsby Town 0 – 0 Lincoln City

Grimsby Town and Lincoln City could not be separated as their pre-season Lincolnshire derby ended goalless at Blundell Park.

The Mariners’ latest friendly represented a step up in opposition as the match against the League One Imps followed summer victories over Cleethorpes Town, Hull City U23 and Alfreton Town.

And although they were unable to force a breakthrough over the 90 minutes in extremely hot conditions in Cleethorpes, Town had the better chances and could be happy with another good team performance.

Kieran Green made his first appearance for the Mariners after signing from Halifax Town last week.  He came into the midfield in place of Gavan Holohan in what was the only change to the XI which started the game at Alfreton on Saturday.

Max Crocombe began in goal, with Michee Efete, Luke Waterfall, Shaun Pearson and Anthony Glennon forming the defence.  Jordan Maguire-Drew, Green, Bryn Morris and Harry Clifton were the midfielders, with John McAtee supporting Danilo Orsi in attack.

Holohan was named as a substitute, along with Ollie Battersby, Stephen Wearne, Evan Khouri, Jordan Cropper, Harvey Tomlinson, Aaron Braithwaite, Jaz Goundry and Edwin Essel.

Lincoln included former Town striker Charles Vernam in their starting line-up, with Tom Hopper and ex-Scunthorpe attacker Hakeeb Adelakun also among those looking for goals in the Imps’ side.

The visitors were the first to threaten, as Tashan Oakley-Booth found Adelakun but his low drive from a narrow angle was pushed away by Crocombe at his near post.

Town’s first opportunity came soon afterwards, with Lincoln keeper Jordan Wright denying Clifton from close range.

McAtee sent a chip just wide on nine minutes after a run by Efete down the right,  then five minutes later, Town had the ball in the net through Clifton but the offside flag had already gone up against the winger.

Vernam tried his luck with a low effort which was blocked after a spell of Lincoln possession, before a foul on the former Mariner gave the away side a free kick midway inside the Town half but they were unable to profit from it.

The game stopped for a drinks break on 22 minutes and Town would have been happy with what had been a confident start against opponents from a division higher.

Their best chance of the evening so far came six minutes later when McAtee showed good pace to get down the left and looked up to pull the ball back for Maguire-Drew, whose strike was tipped over the bar for a corner by Wright.

Vernam sent a header away from goal after meeting a chipped cross from Adelakun, before a low shot by Max Sanders went narrowly wide of the target as Lincoln started to apply more pressure.

So far, the visitors had looked to play a patient, possession-based game while the Mariners aimed to operate at a higher tempo and attack at pace.

McAtee sent a speculative snap-shot wide from distance, then Morris was also off-target with a low effort from 25 yards.

At the other end, a free kick from Vernam was deflected into the path of centre-back Paudie O’Connor but he could only steer a diving header wide.

One added minute was played and O’Connor’s chance proved to be the last one of the half as the teams headed into the dressing rooms with the score still goalless.

No changes were made before the restart and Pearson was in the right place to block a low cross from Vernam as the visitors were the first to threaten.

A cross from Clifton was cleared at the other end, before Efete blocked a curling shot from Sanders.

Green was spoken to by the referee after a poor challenge on TJ Eyoma which left the Lincoln man needing treatment.  He was eventually passed fit to continue and the resulting free kick was sent wide by Sanders.

Green was replaced by Holohan soon afterwards as Town made the first substitution, then a chance came for the hosts when the ball fell for Orsi but he was unable to get enough on it to seriously trouble keeper Wright.

Another opportunity came on the hour when Efete was pulled down by Vernam, although Maguire-Drew’s free kick was headed clear.

Oakley-Brown was replaced by Ted Bishop in Lincoln’s first change, with Town now turning up the pressure.  McAtee ran onto a though-ball from Morris but he was stopped by a good recovery challenge, then McAtee was involved again soon afterwards as his low strike was stopped by the keeper.

The game had developed more of a competitive edge after a series of tasty challenges from both sides and it was the Mariners who were pushing forward in search of an opening goal as the 70-minute mark approached.

A McAtee cross from the right was deflected onto the bar and out for a corner as the home side continued to push forward and another opportunity came when the flag-kick was only half-cleared but again, Wright was not tested in the Lincoln goal.

A penalty appeal was waved away by the referee after McAtee went down under a challenge inside the box.

A corrner came at the other end after a good challenge by Efete but Vernam’s delivery from the flag was poor and Town cleared.

Lincoln boss Mark Kennedy made several changes when the game stopped for a drinks break on 75 minutes, before Cropper, Wearne and Khouri came on for Town with seven minutes to go as Pearson, Morris and Clifton made way.

One of the away subs, Charley Kendall, forced a good save from Crocombe as Lincoln pushed forward with three minutes remaining.

One added minute was played at the end of the game and with no further chances for either side, they were both forced to settle for a draw.

Nevertheless, it was another excellent run-out for the Mariners as they continue to step up preparations for the big League Two kick-off at Leyton Orient on July 30.


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