Match Report: Grimsby Town 2-0 Port Vale

Grimsby Town were finally able to celebrate their first home win of the season as they beat Port Vale at Blundell Park.

After losing all of their league games in September, the Mariners made it six points out of six so far this month with a comfortable victory.

They made a flying start as Wes Thomas opened the scoring in the first minute and made sure of the three points when JJ Hooper’s goal doubled their advantage seven minutes after half-time.

Town boss Michael Jolley named an unchanged starting XI after Tueday’s victory at Carlisle United, which ended a run of six straight defeats.

James McKeown started in goal, with Reece Hall-Johnson, Alex Whitmore, Danny Collins and Luke Hendrie forming the defence.

Harry Clifton, Mitch Rose and Elliot Embleton were the midfielders, with Charles Vernam, Thomas and Hooper in attack.

Ahkeem Rose was named on the bench after being recalled following his loan at Boston United and he was joined on the substitutes list by Paul Dixon, Louis Robles, Jake Hessenthaler, Martyn Woolford, Ben Pringle and Sam Russell.

Port Vale arrived in Cleethorpes looking to bounce back from a home defeat by MK Dons in midweek, with Neil Aspin’s men aiming for their fifth win of the season.

The Mariners got off to a dream start when they took the lead within 40 seconds of the kick-off.  A poor back-pass was intercepted by THOMAS and he rounded visiting keeper Scott Brown before sliding the ball into the net from a narrow angle on the right.

Vale’s response saw defender Leon Legge head wide of the far post after a free kick from Luke Hannant on the right.

Another Hannant free kick from the right was headed away by Collins, before a Clifton cross at the other end was headed out for a corner, which led to a glancing header from Hooper being deflected behind.

A foul on Thomas was not spotted by the referee as Town attacked on 16 minutes but Hendrie did well to ensure the hosts kept possession and got the ball to Vernam, who was crowded out inside the box.

A Vale free kick and a corner from the right were both dealt with by the Grimsby defence, before a low shot by Vernam from just inside the box proved comfortable for Brown.

A good attacking move by the Mariners saw Thomas, Hendrie and Hooper all involved before a low cross was blocked for a corner, which resulted in a free kick for the visitors after the ball from the flag had been headed clear.

McKeown got down to make a comfortable stop from a low shot by Lewis Hardcastle, then good pressure by Thomas at the other endd forced a corner on the right.  Embleton’s ball was eventually cleared by midfielder Tom Conlan.

A cross from Hannant was cleared after Tom Pope was unable to control the ball, then a shot from Hooper was blocked on the edge of the penalty area.

Pope had a chance to level the scores after meeting a cross from the left but his volley flew just over the bar.

A late challenge on Clifton by Antony Kay gave Town a free kick inside the Vale half on 44 minutes but they were unable to create any danger from it.

Another Town attack came as the game moved into two added minutes at the end of the first half, wit defender Connell Rawlinson denying Vernam after he had been put through by Hooper.

Thomas sent a volley over the bar after a corner had not been fully dealt with by the away defence as the Mariners ended the half on the attack, with their single-goal advantage remaining intact at the break.

Ricky Miller replaced Hardcastle before the restart as the visitors switched to a 4-4-2 formation and an early Hooper cross was cleared before Clifton lost out to Kay after a run to the edge of the box.

The Mariners were inches away from doubling their advantage on 49 minutes when good play around the edge of the box led to a chance for Hooper but the striker could only watch as the ball bounced back off the post.

Miller sent a shot wide of the far post after being allowed to turn inside the Town box.

But the next attack was a Mariners one and it saw them get a crucial second goal.  A nice build-up down the right led to a low cross from Vernam and HOOPER was in the right place to tap the ball into the net from close range.

Miller won a corner as Vale looked to get themselves back into the contest but after the ball was played short, David Worrall’s speculative shot went out for a throw-in.

The home fans thought their side had a third goal when Embleton put the ball into the net on 59 minutes but their joy was short-lived as the referee had blown for an earlier foul by Rose.

Kay fired over the bar as the hour mark passed, before a Hannant free kick was headed away by Collins and the clearance was completed by Hendrie.

Embleton tried his luck with a shot from 25 yards on 68 minutes but Brown gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Whitmore was booked for a foul which gave the visitors a free kick near the left edge of the Town penalty area, then a corner soon afterwards led to Miller’s free header being caught by McKeown.

Another Vale free kick saw Legge head over the bar, before a good tackle by Rose on Mitchell Clark ended another away attack.

Ben Whitfield replaced Worrall on 78 minutes, before a high foot by Embleton on Hannant brought another free kick in a dangerous position.  Hannant’s shot cleared the bar.

Woolford came on in place of Hooper with eight minutes to go, then Hannant was unable to ht the target from a narrow angle as another Vale attack fizzled out.

Kay was booked for a foul on Thomas and the midfielder was replaced soon afterwards by Luke Joyce.

Grimsby’s second substitution saw Ahkeem Rose come on for Vernam with three minutes left on the clock.

Four added minutes was signalled to be played at the end of the game and the visitors had a chance to halve the deficit when the ball was played through to Pope inside the Town box but his close-range effort lacked the power needed to beat McKeown.

Town saw the rest of the added time through to seal the three points from what had turned into a comfortable victory.

They are next in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Doncaster Rovers for a Checkatrade Trophy tie.


1 James McKeown
2 Reece Hall-Johnson
27 Luke Hendrie
25 Alex Whitmore
6 Danny Collins (C)
8 Mitch Rose
22 Elliot Embleton
15 Harry Clifton
39 Wes Thomas
18 Charles Vernam
9 JJ Hooper


23 Sam Russell
3 Paul Dixon
7 Jake Hessenthaler
30 Ben Pringle
16 Martyn Woolford
14 Louis Robles
21 Ahkeem Rose

Port Vale

1 Scott Brown
13 Connell Rawlinson
23 Mitchell Clark
5 Leon Legge
15 Nathan Smith
22 Tom Conlon
7 David Worrall
6 Antony Kay
11 Luke Hannant
25 Lewis Hardcastle
9 Tom Pope (C)


12 Sam Hornby
21 Theo Vassell
4 Luke Joyce
24 Ben Whitfield
19 Louis Dodds
17 Idris Kanu
10 Ricky Miller

Attendance: 3,842, (203)

Referee: Andy Haines

Next Up: Doncaster Rovers (A)


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