Match report: Grimsby Town 2-0 Yeovil Town

Grimsby Town kept up their 100 per cent winning home record as they beat Yeovil Town at Blundell Park.

While not at their best for much of a tight contest, the Mariners found a way to secure the victory and stay top of the National League.

Lenell John-Lewis put them ahead from the penalty spot on 20 minutes after Will Bapaga was brought down.

But despite creating chances to double their lead in the second half, they were made to wait until added time to ensure all three points, as John McAtee’s strike made it 2-0.

Despite Covid cases and other illnesses in the camp in the build-up to the match, Town boss Paul Hurst was able to name a line-up showing just two changes from the XI that started the victory at Woking in the previous league game on October 9.

Bapaga came in for Erico Sousa, who dropped to the bench, while John-Lewis replaced Ryan Taylor.

James McKeown returned in goal after Max Crocombe played in last week’s FA Cup win at Bromsgrove, while Ryan Sears, Luke Waterfall, Ryley Towler and Adam Crookes formed the defence.

Bapaga, Ben Fox, Alex Hunt and Harry Clifton were the midfielders, with McAtee just behind John-Lewis in attack.

Joining Sousa on the bench were Seb Revan, Shaun Pearson, Giles Coke and Max Wright.

Yeovil made the long journey north buoyed by a midweek FA Cup replay victory over local ivals Weymouth.

They would look to the likes of six-goal top scorer Joe Quigley and fellow striker Charlie Wakefield to make it two wins in a week and make progress up the league table from 14th.

Visiting goalkeeper Grant Smith got an early touch when an attempted clearance ricocheted back off John-Lewis but fortunately for the stopper, the ball flew straight into his arms.

Towler won a free kick when he got back to stop Quigley as the striker looked to break into the penalty area, before a run down the left by Clifton came to an end when he was stopped by defender Josh Staunton.

John-Lewis was then unable to get on the end of a low McAtee cross from the left on 10 minutes as the Mariners looked to play their way into the game after Yeovil had made a promising start.

An away free kick from halfway was headed clear by Towler, before Jordan Barnett curled a shot over the bar from the left edge of the box.

Another free kick from Dale Gorman was dealt with by Fox, then Bapaga was penalised for a foul on Jack Robinson as the Coventry loanee tried to launch an attack. This time, the referee blew for a foul in Town’s favour as the ball was sent into the box from the away left.

Town were given the opportunity to take the lead on 20 minutes when McAtee slid the ball through for Bapaga and he was brought down by keeper Smith. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and JOHN-LEWIS stepped up to find the bottom-left corner of the net.

Yeovil’s response saw them create a chance after a long kick forward from Smith. The ball eventually broke for Gorman but his shot from 18 yards lacked direction and flew out for a goal kick.

McAtee was spoken to by the referee after a foul on the away right but the resulting free kick was comfortably headed clear by Clifton.

A shot by Wakefield was well-blocked by Waterfall just after the half-hour, before another attack by the visitors saw a cross from the left beat everybody.

John-Lewis was caught offside as he ran onto a ball from McAtee and the striker saw the assistant referee’s flag again when he met a great ball into the penalty area from Fox as Town began to create more openings.

Yeovil won the first corner of the game on 40 minutes when a cross from the left was headed behind by Crookes. The delivery from the flag was cleared at the near post by Sears.

One added minute was played at the end of what had been a tight first half and with no further chances created before the referee’s whistle, Town held their narrow one-goal advantage at the break.

Apart from John-Lewis’ penalty, there had been little to choose between the two teams and the Mariners would be looking to up the tempo in the second half.

No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first chance when Clifton turned and let fly from the edge of the box but Smith was equal to the shot and produced a great save to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.

McAtee then fired wide of the near post after linking up with Bapaga down the right, before a slip by Waterfall let Wakefield in down the Yeovil left, although the defender got back well to force the attacker wide and his low cross was blocked for a corner by McKeown.

John-Lewis hit the side-netting from a narrow angle on 58 minutes after showing good strength to work an opening from a throw-in.

The striker was involved again soon afterwards as he held the ball up well inside the box but his pass was cleared before the ball could reach McAtee.

A foul by Bapaga gave Yeovil a free kick near the halfway line just after the hour and Gorman’s ball had to be headed out for a corner. That led to another one on the opposite, right flank and this time, McKeown punched the ball out of his penalty area before collecting Gorman’s weak follow-up shot.

Coke replaced Hunt in Grimsby’s first substitution on 64 minutes and McAtee flashed a shot across goal moments later.

The hosts should have doubled their advantage four minutes later when a great through-ball from Clifton sent McAtee through on goal. He drew Smith from his line and squared for John-Lewis but the striker was stretching and could only slide the ball wide of the target.

Sousa came on for Bapaga, before former Mariners striker Adi Yussuf replaced Quigley in the Yeovil attack as both sides made changes with around 20 minutes of the game to go.

A great challenge from Towler stopped Wakefield and got the ball clear for a corner after a break through the middle. The ball from the flag was caught by McKeown.

Tom Knowles replaced Sonny Blu Lo-Everton for the visitors on 78 minutes, then Daniel Moss looped a header harmlessly over the bar from another Yeovil corner.

The away side were pushing forward in search of an equaliser and they won a free kick on 84 minutes after a foul by Fox 30 yards from goal. Lewis Simper replaced Barnett before it was taken and McKeown did well to push Gorman’s fierce strike away for a corner.

Gorman was booked for a foul on John-Lewis with two minutes to go and Sousa had an opening on the edge of the box soon afterwards but opted not to shoot and the chance was gone.

Town made the points safe once and for all though as the game moved into three minutes of added time, when McATEE got the ball on the edge of the penalty area and arrowed a superb strike past Smith and into the net at the near post.

The Mariners then saw out the remainder of the contest to claim another important three points and make sure they remained at the top of the league.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they make the trip to Wealdstone.


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