Match Report | Grimsby Town 2 – 1 Torquay United

An added time penalty from substitute Tristan Abrahams gave Grimsby Town all three points against Torquay United at Blundell Park.

The Mariners fell behind when Asa Hall gave the visitors what had been a deserved lead on 28 minutes but the goal sparked them into life and they were level nine minutes later when Harry Clifton made it 1-1.

Town were the better side after the break and missed several chances to go ahead but as the clock ticked down, they were given an opportunity to win the game from the spot and Abrahams made no mistake.

That meant another big step towards qualifying for the National League play-offs, as Torquay’s late bid to reach the top seven took a big hit.

After freshening his team up with five changes for the Easter Monday trip to King’s Lynn, Town boss Paul Hurst reverted to a more recognisable line-up showing just one alteration from the XI that began the home victory over table-toppers Stockport County on Good Friday.

That change was enforced as the injury picked up by John McAtee in the narrow win in Norfolk kept him out, with his place taken by Jordan Maguire-Drew.

Max Crocombe continued in goal, with Michee Efete, Andy Smith, Luke Waterfall and Danny Amos forming the defence.  Maguire-Drew, Joey Jones, Gavan Holohan, Harry Clifton and Sean Scannell were the midfielders, with Ryan Taylor leading the line in attack.

After being given starts at King’s Lynn, Ben Fox, Max Wright and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe were all named on the bench, alongside Shaun Pearson and Monday’s goalscorer Tristan Abrahams.

Torquay made the long journey north looking to continue their own late charge for the play-offs, with Gary Johnson’s men aiming to narrow a seven-point gap between themselves and seventh-placed Notts County at kick-off.

Their dangermen included strikers Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Danny Wright.

An early shot by Wright was comfortably collected by Crocombe, before Amos cleared following a free kick from halfway.

Clifton fired wide of the near post as Town put together their first attack of note on six minutes,  then the game’s first corner came three minutes later after Jones had given the ball away in midfield but after it was initially played short, a cross from the away left was headed clear by Jones.

An attempt by Maguire-Drew was blocked after Holohan pulled the ball back on the edge of the penalty area.

Crocombe had to make a good save from Armani Little on 15 minutes after the Mariners failed to clear a cross from the right and the ball dripped for the winger, whose shot was pushed over the bar for a corner by the Town keeper.

Torquay’s third corner came a minute later but they were unable to create any danger from it as a low ball was cleared by Holohan.

A foul by Maguire-Drew on Tom Lapslie gave the away side a free kick inside the Town half on 18 minutes but again, it caused no problems as Waterfall won the initial header and Clifton completed the clearance.

Holohan set off on a run through the middle soon afterwards but the move broke down when his attempted pass to Taylor was intercepted, then Torquay keeper Shaun Macdonald was called into action for the first time as he caught a first-time shot by Clifton.

A cross from left-back Dan Martin was blocked for a corner and this time, it led to an opportunity in front of goal as Asa Hall’s delivery was met by Joe Lewis but he could only head it over the bar.

Crocombe had to concede another corner on 28 minutes as he stretched out an arm to push a chip from Lemonheigh-Evans over the bar and this time, the visitors did make it count as the delivery from the right fell for HALL and he slammed it into the roof of the net from close range.

A break from Scannell saw him win a throw-in level with the Torquay 18-yard line after a long throw at the other end was cleared, then Holohan headed well wide as Town looked to respond to falling behind.

A cross from Maguire-Drew on the right was cleared, before Little sent a cross over at the other end which proved too strong for Wright to get to at the far post.

Scannell forced a good save from Macdonald on 37 minutes when he got to a loose ball and hit a first-time effort from 20 yards which the keeper pushed away for Town’s first corner of the game.  Maguire-Drew’s delivery from the flag was straight at the stopper.

Lemonheigh-Evans was unable to bring the ball under control after Wright pushed it through for him following good play around the edge of the box.

But soon afterwards, the Mariners drew level with a moment of brilliance.  Taylor beat the offside trap and held the ball up well for CLIFTON, who arrowed a low shot past Macdonald and into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards.

Lemonheigh-Evans was shown the first yellow card of the game as the referee ruled he had dived in an attempt to win a penalty.

The equaliser had brought Town to life and they went forward again on 42 minutes, although Maguire-Drew’s cross was intercepted before it could reach Clifton at the far post.

Lemonheigh-Evans missed the target with a header after meeting a cross from Stephen Duke-McKenna, before a shot from Scannell at the other end was deflected wide for a corner.  Maguire-Drew’s ball found Efete at the far post but he headed wide.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, the scores remained level at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first chance of the second half when Taylor found Efete inside the box but his shot was well blocked by Macdonald for a corner, which led to Waterfall heading over the bar.

Efete headed wide after meeting a good cross from Clifton on the left four minutes in, then a long-range effort from Holohan took a big deflection but dropped just wide for a corner.  Maguire-Drew’s ball from the right flag was headed behind for another corner, this time on the left, but it was cleared.

A free kick from the Torquay right led to an offside decision after the ball dropped for Hall, before Taylor hit the bar with a shot from 12 yards after the visitors failed to clear heir lines following good play by Scannell down the left.

A long throw from Dean Moxey on 55 minutes was headed clear an Town launched a quick break through Scannell, who played the ball to Clifon and gave him a route to goal through the middle.  Unfortunately though, the midfielder lost control of the ball when he reached the box and the chance was gone.

Maguire-Drew headed at Macdonald three minutes later as the hosts continued to push forward, before a cross from Martin was headed clear by Amos at the other end.

Wright replaced Maguire-Drew as the Mariners made the first substitution on 63 minutes.

A foul by Efete on Armani Little gave Torquay a free kick on their left and after it was headed clear by Amos, the pressure continued with a series of throw-ins on the right.  The danger continued with a low ball across the six-yard line but nobody could get to it and Little eventually blasted well wide.

A foul on Wright gave Town a free kick on the right but Jones’ delivery to the edge of the box was headed away by Torquay’s Wright.  The hosts kept possession and Waterfall eventually headed at keeper Macdonald.

Efete narrowly failed to connect with a ball to the far post from Holohan, before a shot from Scannell was blocked.  Town kept possession as the pressure continued but a low ball across was missed by everybody.

A Jones free kick from the right was headed clear, then Klaidi Lolos replaced Lapslie in the Torquay midfield.

Clifton fired over the bar after being sent clear through the middle by Scannell on 80 minutes, before a cross from Torquay’s Little was caught by Crocombe.

Scannell had an opportunity to put the Mariners ahead with eight minutes to go but was unable to hit the target as he sent a low shot wide.

Lemonheigh-Evans was stopped by Waterfall after making his way into the Town penalty area, with the away side needing to push forward in search of all three points.

Lolos then suffered the same fate as Waterfall calmly saw the ball out for a goal kick, before Abrahams replaced Taylor for Town and Ali Omar came on in place of Moxey for the visitors with three minutes left.

Holohan saw a shot blocked as the game moved into four minutes of added time, then the crucial moment of the game came when a foul inside the box was spotted by the referee and he pointed to the spot for a Town penalty.  ABRAHAMS stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and find the bottom corner of the net to win the game.

Pearson replaced Taylor for the closing stages as Town looked to see out the remainder of the game and the referee’s final whistle sparked more celebrations around the ground.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Barnet.

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