Match Report: Grimsby Town 1-1 Cheltenham Town

Grimsby Town earned a point from an Easter Monday draw with promotion-chasing Cheltenham Town at Blundell Park.

The Mariners started the game well and took an early lead through Lenell John-Lewis but were pegged back just after the half-hour when Will Boyle equalised.

Both sides had chances to win the game but ultimately, none were taken and the Mariners were left with a seventh draw from their last eight games.

Two changes were made to the Town starting XI after Good Friday’s draw at Salford City, with Luke Waterfall and Sam Habergham coming in for Giles Coke and Julien Lamy.

James McKeown started in goal, with Elliott Hewitt, Waterfall and Rollin Menayese forming a centre-back trio as Luke Hendrie and Habergham operated as wing-backs. Jay Matete and Harry Clifton were the central midfielders, while John-Lewis, James Hanson and Stefan Payne lined up in attack.

Coke and Lamy were both named on the bench, alongside Ollie Battersby, Luke Spokes, Ira Jackson Jr, George Williams and Matt Green.

Cheltenham began the day second in League Two and looking for a win which could take them back to the top of the table, depending on other results.

They would look to the likes of strikers Sam Smith and Alfie May to provide the firepower.

Town were first to attack and Habergham sent a shot over the bar from 25 yards with less than a minute on the clock.

The first corner came when a shot from Hewitt was blocked after a Habergham long throw broke for him and a short delivery from the flag led to another one, which was eventually dealt with by the visitors.

A low shot by Clifton went just wide as Town’s promising opening to the contest continued and then on eight minutes, they took a deserved lead. Payne showed good persistence to win the ball and pull it back across goal for JOHN-LEWIS, who was in the right place to tap it into the net from close range.

Another home corner came on 12 minutes and Habergham’s ball from it was cleared but the Mariners worked it back and a cross from Clifton on the right was headed behind. This time, the ball from the flag landed on the roof of the net for a goal kick.

Habergham did well to win another corner on 17 minutes as Town continued to dominate but his delivery was headed clear.

Cheltenham were playing into a strong wind and had struggled to create any danger in the opening quarter of the game, with almost all of the attacks so far coming towards their goal.

A foul by Smith on Habergham brought the home side’s next opportunity to get the ball into the box but the free kick led to Hanson heading over the bar.

McKeown claimed a comfortable catch as a cross from Chris Hussey on the left called the keeper into action for the first time on 23 minutes.

A foul on Smith on the right then gave the away side another opportunity to put pressure on the Town goal but Hussey’s free kick was headed clear.

Matty Blair did well to chase the ball down on the right and win a corner but the ball from the flag was headed away by Waterfall, then McKeown made a good save to deny Hussey after he looked to curl an effort towards the far corner of the net.

Another shot by Hussey was blocked after a long throw from Ben Tozer broke for him, then a volley flew over the bar after the ball was worked back towards the edge of the Town penalty area.

Cheltenham had come back into the game after Town’s strong start and the visitors got their equaliser on 33 minutes. A long throw from Tozer on the right fell for BOYLE and his header went past McKeown and found the net.

A corner on the right gave the away side another chance to create danger and from it, they had the ball in the net for the second time as Boyle powered a header home but Town escaped as the referee had already blown for a foul.

McKeown had to make a good block after Smith beat Menayese to a through-ball, then a mistake at the other end almost led to the Mariners grabbing their lead back but Habergham could not take advantage as his shot was blocked by keeper Joshua Griffiths.

Another shot from Habergham was blocked at the edge of the box on 42 minutes as Town put together a short spell of pressure.

One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, it remained 1-1 at the interval.

Town had enjoyed the better of things in the early stages and deservedly led but Cheltenham got stronger as the half went on and they would probably have been the happier of the two sides at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and the visitors should have taken the lead a minute in when another long throw fell for Boyle, although he headed it straight at McKeown and the keeper was able to push the ball out for a corner.

A free kick soon afterwards saw Cheltenham go close again as Liam Sercombe whipped the ball in towards the near post but could only watch it bounce back off the angle of post and crossbar.

Another Tozer long throw was headed behind for a corner and Hussey’s ball was punched out by McKeown for a seond consecutive flag-kick, although this one led to a Town free kick for a foul on Habergham.

A foul by Hendrie gave the away side a free kick on the right on 58 minutes but they were unable to cause any serious problems from it as Boyle eventually headed through to McKeown.

A foul by Menayese on the opposite flank led to another free kick two minutes later but Hussey’s ball was headed away for a throw-in, which was cleared by Matete.

Town had not had many opportunities so far in the second half but one came on 62 minutes after Payne headed the ball down for Hanson near the edge of the box. Hanson could not take full advantage though, as his shot hit the side-netting.

A cross from Hendrie three minutes later was blocked for a corner on the right but the ball from the flag was headed wide for a goal kick.

Cheltenham made a quadruple-substitution on 71 minutes as George Lloyd replaced May, Andy Williams came on for Smith and midfielders Finn Azaz and Ellis Chapman were replaced by Callum Wright and Conor Thomas.

Lloyd could have put his team ahead with his first touch as he ran onto a ball inside the penalty area but he could not get the right contact on it and missed the target at the near post.

Two long throws from Tozer on the left were headed clear by Hanson, before a third led to Sean Long flicking a header just over the bar as the away side looked for a second goal.

Coke replaced John-Lewis in Town’s first change on 79 minutes and the hosts had an opportunity to get the ball into the box with a free kick on the right four minutes later. Hewitt’s ball was cleared, however.

Sesconds later, the away side had another chance to take the lead when a cross-field ball from Hussey found Williams but his shot on the turn crashed back off the post.

Green replaced Payne as both teams pushed for the win with the clock ticking down and Town won a corner when a shot by Clifton was deflected behind. Habergham’s ball from the flag was headed away from goal.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the game and the Mariners had one last chance to win it when Green went clear but Griffiths raced off his line to get a hand to the striker’s shot and ensure his side took a point.

The draw kept Town’s unbeaten run going and stretched it to eight games without defeat but wins are now needed to close the gap to the teams above them.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Bradford City.


1 James McKeown 
26 Rollin Menayese 
6 Luke Waterfall 
22 Elliott Hewitt 
2 Luke Hendrie 
36 Sam Habergham 
20 Jay Matete 
15 Harry Clifton 
9 James Hanson 
21 Lenell John-Lewis (C) 
40 Stefan Payne 


13 Ollie Battersby 
8 Giles Coke 
14 Luke Spokes 
10 George Williams 
7 Matt Green 
16 Ira Jackson Jr 
42 Julien Lamy


20 Joshua Griffiths 
15 William Boyle 
4 Ben Tozer (C) 
2 Sean Long 
11 Matty Blair 
3 Chris Hussey 
18 Finn Azaz 
26 Liam Sercombe 
28 Ellis Chapman 
10 Alfie May 
9 Sam Smith 


1 Scott Flinders 
5 Charlie Raglan 
7 Conor Thomas 
23 Callum Wright 
19 George Lloyd 
29 Indiana Vassilev 
14 Andy Williams

Referee: Andy Taylor

Next Up: Bradford City (A)


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