Match Report: Grimsby Town 1-1 Morecambe (3-4 on penalties)

Grimsby Town were knocked out of the Carabao Cup at the first round stage as Morecambe won on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Blundell Park.

In the first competitive game of the new season, the away side took an early lead through Adam Phillips.

But amid an eerie atmosphere with the game being played behind closed doors, Town grew into the contest, playing some good football and creating chances.

And the hosts got a deserved equaliser 11 minutes before the break when Matt Green struck after good work by Danny Preston.

Clear opportunities proved harder to come by during the second half and with the scores level at 90 minutes, the tie had to be decided from the penalty spot.

Morecambe substitute Alex Kenyon fired over the bar to give Town an early advantage in the shootout but James Tilley’s penalty was then saved and the scores were levelled.

Both teams scored their third and fourth penalties but after captain James McKeown stepped up to take the Mariners’ fifth, his effort was saved by his opposite number Jake Turner and John O’Sullivan then sent the Town keeper the wrong way to win it for the away side.

Town boss Ian Holloway’s first starting XI of the season included four of his 10 summer signings, with Preston, Danny Rose, George Williams and Sean Scannell all selected.

Three more new additions – Owura Edwards, Montel Gibson and Luke Spokes – were named on the bench.

McKeown started in goal, with Max Wright, Luke Waterfall, Mattie Pollock and Preston forming the defence.

Elliott Hewitt and Rose acted as holding midfielders behind Scannell, Williams and Tilley, with Green leading the line in attack.

Edwards, Spokes and Gibson were joined on the bench by Sam Russell, Joe Starbuck, Duncan Idehen and Evan Khouri.

Morecambe named former Town defender Harry Davis among their starting line-up as he made an instant return to Blundell Park having left the club over the summer.

The visitors won an early corner but it was dealt with by the Town defence, although Morecambe worked the ball into the box, where Pollock was in the right place to make a clearance.

Town’s first attack of note came on five minutes and saw Scannell pull the ball back for Green, although the danger was cleared after the strikers shot was blocked.

Morecambe took the lead two minutes later when a mix-up between McKeown and Waterfall left the keeper stranded at the edge of his penalty area and a well-judged lob by PHILLIPS sent the ball over him and into the net.

A chance for the away side to double their advantage came soon afterwards as striker Cole Stockton found himself one-on-one with McKeown but this time, the keeper dived to make a good block.

The Mariners looked for a response and a solo run by Tilley on 15 minutes took him into the penalty area but he was unable to apply a finish and the ball went through to visiting keeper Turner.

The hosts were inches away from an equaliser on 23 minutes when a free-kick saw Williams find Waterfall at the far post but the defender’s header crashed against the bar.

Green had a good chance to level the scores on 32 minutes when the ball came to him inside the box but his shot was blocked by Turner.

Another opportunity for the Mariners came soon afterwards as Wright’s cross from the right was met by Scannell. He couldn’t make it count though, sending his header over the bar.

The next time Town went forward, the pressure finally told as they got their equaliser on 34 minutes. Preston did well to turn away from Kelvin Mellor on the Grimsby left and after cutting into the box, he pulled the ball back for GREEN, who took a touch before steering it into the roof of the net.

Jordan Slew fired off-target for Morecambe, before Williams tried his luck from 25 yards at the other end but saw his shot go over the bar.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the first half and wih no further chances for either side before the referee’s half-time whistle, the scores remained level at the interval.

After going behind amid a shaky start, the Mariners had grown into the game as the half went on and created the better chances before getting a deserved equaliser.

No substitutions were made before the restart and the first home attack saw Williams find Tilley on the edge of the Morecambe box but he was unable to work an opening for a shot.

Green hit a low effort straight at keeper Turner from 20 yards after a good passage of Town possession.

Hewitt then started an attack with a run through the middle which led to Green crossing from the right, although nobody in black and white could connect with a header inside the box.

Kenyon replaced Slew as the visitors made the first change on 57 minutes, before Preston did well to block a shot from Stockton for a corner.

Khouri replaced Rose in Town’s first substitution on the hour as the game entered a lull, with few chances being created by either side.

A run by Scannell took him into the Morecambe penalty area before he was eventually crowded out, before a cross at the other end failed to pick out an away attacker.

Goalscorer Phillips was replaced by Liam McAlinden for the visitors and Edwards was sent on for his Town debut at the same time as he replaced Williams.

McAlinden sent a teasing cross into the Town penalty area from the right on 74 minutes but O’Sullivan was unable to connect with it under pressure from Preston.

A Grimsby corner at the other end was cleared, before Gibson became the latest to see his first action for Town as he replaced Green.

A Morecambe free kick almost found its way through to Davis at the far post before being cleared.

The visitors were enjoying a good spell and a double chance fell to McAlinden on 84 minutes, with his first effort blocked before McKeown dived to stop the rebound.

Former Town loanee Ben Pringle came on in place of Stockton for the away side with six minutes to go.

A Stephen Hendrie cross from the left was deflected out for a corner and Pringle’s dangerous delivery was met by Mellor but nobody in red could get to the loose ball. Instead, it bounced around the penalty area, with McKeown getting down to make a good save when it was eventually turned towards goal.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the game and with neither team able to force a breakthrough, the contest went to penalties.

Pollock confidently scored Town’s first spot-kick, before Kenyon fired over the bar to give the hosts an early advantage in the shootout.

Tilley’s penalty was then brilliantly saved by Turner and McAlinden brought the visitors level with his strike.

Preston was next up for Town and sent his penalty underneath the dive of Turner to make it 2-1 and Hendrie then scored to level things up once more.

Edwards found the bottom corner and Pringle also scored to make it 3-3, before McKeown stepped up to take a penalty but saw his effort saved.

That meant O’Sullivan had the chance to send the visitors through to the next round and he took it, sending McKeown the wrong way to settle the tie.

Town are next in action on Tuesday night, when Harrogate Town are the visitors to Blundell Park in the first EFL Trophy group match.  The game will be played behind closed doors.

Town: James McKeown (C), Max Wright, Danny Preston, Luke Waterfall, Matthew Pollock, Danny Rose, Elliott Hewitt, George Williams, Sean Scannell, James Tilley, Matt Green.

Subs: Duncan Idehen, Owura Edwards, Evan Khouri, Luke Spokes, Joseph Starbuck, Montel Gibson.

Morecambe: Jake Turner, Kelvin Mellor, Stephen Hendrie, Harry Davis, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Toumani Diagouraga (C), John O’Sullivan, Adam Phillips, Carlos Mendes Gomes, Jordan Slew, Cole Stockton.

Subs: Mark Halstead, Ryan Cooney, Sam Lavelle, Alex Kenyon, Freddie Price, Ben Pringle, Liam McAlinden.


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