Match Report | Grimsby Town 1 – 1 Northampton Town

Substitute Jordan Maguire-Drew secured Grimsby Town’s first point of the season as the Mariners recovered from going a goal down to draw with Northampton Town at Blundell Park.

After a stop-start first half of few chances, Town created the better opportunities after the interval but Sam Hoskins put the visitors ahead against the run of play with 16 minutes remaining.

The hosts came roaring back though and after piling pressure on in front of goal, they finally got their reward when Maguire-Drew levelled the scores three minutes after coming off the bench.

That set up a frantic finale as the Mariners poured forward in search of a winner, with a noisy 7,154 crowd right behind them.

But in the end, they were forced to settle for just one point as the away side held on to secure a share of the spoils.

Ryan Taylor replaced John McAtee in what was the only change to the Grimsby starting XI following last week’s defeat in the season opener at Leyton Orient.

Max Crocombe started in goal, with Michee Efete, Luke Waterfall, Andy Smith and Anthony Glennon forming the defence.  Gavan Holohan, Kieran Green and Bryn Morris were the midfielders, with Brendan Kiernan and Harry Clifton either side of Taylor in attack.

The substitutes were Ollie Battersby, Shaun Pearson, Stephen Wearne, Evan Khouri, Maguire-Drew, Danny Amos and Jordan Cropper.

Northampton only missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of last season and will again be aiming to get to League One this time around.

Former Town midfielder Ben Fox was among their substitutes after making the move away from Blundell Park over the summer, while ex-Luton striker Danny Hylton would be among the Cobblers’ dangermen.

An early foul on Clifton brought a free kick on halfway and the Mariners built from it, winning a throw-in which led to a cross from Morris being headed clear.

The hosts dominated the early stages until Northampton’s first attack came on four minutes, with Crocombe claiming a cross from right-winger Mitch Pinnock.

Holohan had Town’s first shot on 12 minutes, winning the ball midway inside the away half and letting fly from 25 yards, but his low strike went just wide.

At the other end, a long throw from Pinnock caused problems inside the penalty area and when the ball came back to Hoskins, he flicked it up and over his head but Crocombe was alert and claimed a comfortable catch.

The first corner of the afternoon came on 24 minutes when a whipped delivery from Clifton on the left was headed over his own bar by defender Jon Guthrie.  Glennon’s ball from the flag was put behind for another one at the near post and this time, it was glanced away for a throw-in.  That, in turn, led to a cross from Taylor which eventually dropped for Holohan but he blasted his half-volley over the Osmond Stand from the edge of the box.

Waterfall hooked a shot wide at the second attempt from a Glennon free kick, before Tyler Magloire fired at Crocombe after a good run through the middle by Shaun McWilliams.

A foul on Holohan gave Town a free kick inside the Northampton half on 36 minutes but Morris’ delivery from it was too close to keeper Lee Burge, who came off his line to make the catch.

Kiernan was then penalised for bringing down Ali Koiki and after the free kick was played low into the box, a shot from Pinnock was blocked by Crocombe.

At the other end, a chance came for the Mariners when Kiernan connected with Glennon’s cross but he was unable to keep the ball down and could only watch it fly over the bar.

Neither side had managed to get a firm grip on the game over the course of a half which had been scrappy and stop-start, with few good opportunities coming at either end.

One added minute was played before half-time and with no further chances coming before the referee’s whistle, it remained goalless at the break.

Fulham loanee Kieran Bowie replaced Louis Apere in attack for the visitors before the restart  and an early cross from Koiki on the left was comfortably claimed by Crocombe.

A free kick from the right was glanced wide by Magloire, before Kiernan had Town’s first chance of the second half as he let fly with a powerful 20-yard drive which was pushed away by Burge.

A Town free kick in a central position brought another opportunity to attack but when the ball from it fell for Waterfall, his low shot was blocked.  The Mariners kept possession but were unable to test Burge.

A shot from Hoskins at the other end was blocked after a low cross from Bowie, before some good play by Pinnock on the away left came to nothing as his cross curled past the far post for a goal kick.

Kiernan went down inside the box just after the hour but his appeal for a penalty was waved away by the referee.

Ryan Haynes replaced Hylton for Northampton on 66 minutes as Hoskins moved to centre-forward.

A Town corner came soon afterwards but Waterfall could only head Glennon’s far-post delivery wide.

A push on Clifton gave the Mariners a free kick near the corner flag on the left and it could have led to a breakthrough as Glennon’s delivery was met by Smith but the defender could not get enough power on his header to beat Burge, who dived on the ball.

And seconds later, Town were punished for failing to take their chance as the visitors opened the scoring with 74 minutes on the clock.  Bowie chipped a ball over the top for HOSKINS, who cut in from the right and fired past Crocombe.

Wearne replaced Green in the home side’s first substitution straight after the goal and their response was good, as Holohan forced a save from Burge with a low strike from inside the penalty area.

Clifton won a corner on the left on 79 minutes but the ball from the flag was headed clear and the referee then blew for a foul and a Northampton free kick.

A low strike from Wearne was stopped by the keeper as Town kept pushing for an equaliser, before Clifton hit the post as another attack caused panic in the away defence.

Ryan Leonard came on for Pinnock with seven minutes to go, then Maguire-Drew replaced Clifton for Town on 86 minutes.

And the Mariners winger made himself the hero just two minutes later as he levelled the scores.  A shot was well-blocked by Burge after good work by Kiernan but MAGUIRE-DREW was on-hand at the far post to sweep the ball into the net and send the home fans into raptures.

Northampton looked for an immediate response and they almost had one through Bowie but his strike from a narrow angle was well-blocked by Crocombe at his near post.

Apart from that moment, it was all Town and as the fourth official signalled six added minutes, the home fans sensed a victory was now a real possibility.

A foul on Efete brought another chance to get the ball into the danger zone but Glennon’s delivery was headed off-target by Waterfall.

Town kept attacking and a Maguire-Drew cross from the right led to a corner but nobody could force the ball from it goalwards after Taylor had glanced it on.

A free kick on the left brought another chance to win the game but Maguire-Drew’s header from Glennon’s delivery was blocked and with that, the Mariners were forced to settle for a draw.

But after falling behind, they would have taken a huge amount of confidence from their response and in the end, a point was the least they deserved.

The focus now switches to Tuesday night, when Town host Crewe Alexandra in the first round of the Carabao Cup.


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