Match Report – Grimsby Town 2 – 1 Wealdstone

Michee Efete scored twice against his former club to earn Grimsby Town all three points against Wealdstone.

The Mariners dominated the first half but went in at the breaak only one goal ahead after Efete was credited with getting the final touch following a corner.

There was no doubt about the second goal, as Efete powered a header home from a free kick by Arjan Raikhy to put Town in complete control six minutes after half-time.

But Wealdstone hit back four minutes later when Jamie Mascoll halved the deficit and after that, the visitors grew in confidence as they looked for an unlikely point.

The hosts were not about to let the result slip though an despite missing chances to make it 3-1, they were good value for an important win.

Four changes were made to the Grimsby starting line-up after the midweek defeat at Wrexham, with Efete returning from injury and Aston Villa loanee Raikhy given his first start.  Harry Clifton and Danny Amos also came back into the team as Andrew Smith, Adam Crookes, Ben Fox and Tristan Abrahams made way.

Max Crocombe started in goal, with Efete, Shaun Pearson, Luke Waterfall and Amos forming the defence.  Clifton, Raikhy, Giles Coke and Erico Sousa made up the midfield, with John McAtee supporting Ryan Taylor in attack.

Smith, Fox and Abrahams were all named on the bench, alongside Max Wright and Scott Burgess.

Wealdstone made the long journey north looking for a victory which could move them further up the National League table from the 19th position they occupied at kick-off.  But despite being just two places above the relegation zone, the Stones had a nine-point cushion to the bottom three.

Manager Stuart Maynard made two changes to his team following their midweek goalless draw with Notts County, although former Mariners striker Ira Jackson Jr had to be content with a place among the substitutes.

The game kicked off in blustery conditions and an early Wealdstone free kick from the halfway line was comfortably dealt with, before McAtee was caught offside as he ran onto a through-ball from Waterfall.

Town went close to an opening goal when a cross from Sousa on the right found Taylor, although he was unable to get enough power on his close-range volley to beat visiting keeper George Wickens, who dived to keep the ball out and it was then scrambled away for a corner.

Raikhy’s ball from the flag was tipped over the bar for another corner by Wickens and he had to push the ball out for a third corner after Waterfall shot from 12 yards.

The goalkeeper was called into action again to stop a low effort from Sousa on 10 minutes, before a one-two between Clifton and Efete almost led to another chance but the right-back slipped as he made his way into the Wealdstone penalty area.

It had been one-way traffic in the early stages as the hosts dominated with the wind at their backs but Wealdstone won a corner of their own on 16 minutes when a left-wing cross was headed behind.  The ball from the flag was cleared.

Crocombe punched clear after midfielder Charlie Cooper launched a free kick into the Town box following a foul by Taylor just inside the home half, then another free kick came on the Wealdstone left after a foul by Waterfall.  Again, Crocombe punched clear.

Seconds later, the Mariners attacked down the left through McAtee, who raced clear and cut into the penalty area but saw his side-footed shot blocked and was then penalised for a foul.

A cross from McAtee on 27 minutes found Taylor and the ball broke for Clifton, although the offside flag went up s he sent the ball over the bar.

Another corner came on the half-hour after a run down the left by McAtee.  His low pass found Sousa but the winger opted to pass instead of shooting and the ball was deflected behind.  A looping delivery from the flag was met by Pearson but Wealdstone cleared.

Clifton won Town’s fifth corner when he did well to get to a ball from Sousa ahead of keeper Wickens.  Amos’ delivery from the right was met by Coke but the ball was scrambled behind for another corner.  This time, the Mariners finally made their breakthrough as Raikhy’s delivery was met by Waterfall and after he headed it on, the ball was bundled into the net by EFETE.

Town immediately went in search of more goals and a corner on the left led to Pearson sending an overhead kick over the bar.

A low cross from Efete on the right was well intercepted before Clifton could get to it, before McAtee fired over the bar from a narrow angle after a good through-ball by Coke as half-time approached.

One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, Town’s single-goal advantage remained intact at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and the Mariners had two opportunities to double their lead in quick succession as shots from Amos and Coke were blocked after McAtee’s low ball across the box.

They did not have to wait much longer to make it 2-0 though as a foul by Jayden Mundle-Smith brought a free kick, 25 yards out and slightly right of centre.  After Mudle-Smith was booked, Raikhy chipped the ball to the far post, where EFETE met it with a towering header to beat Wickens and find the net.

Town were unable to get comfortable with their two-goal lead though, as Wealdstone came back into the game with a goal out of nothing on 55 minutes.  A mistake by Amos saw him give the ball away on the left and MASCOLL took advantage, sending the loose ball over the stranded Crocombe and into the net from 35 yards.

David Sesay replaced Mundle-Smith as the visitors made the first substitution just before the hour, before a high ball from Connor McAvoy dropped over the bar as Wealdstone appeared to be growing in confidence.

A foul by Raikhy gave the away side a free kick on the left and Mascoll’s dangerous delivery into the box was flicked just wide by Matthew Buse, although the offside flag had already gone up against the midfielder.

A double-substitution for Wealdstone saw Alex Dyer replace Charlie Cooper and Joshua Umerah come on for Douglas Taylor with 23 minutes to go.

McAtee then saw a shot blocked after a run by Sousa down the right, before a free kick came on the left following a foul by McAvoy, who was booked.  Raikhy’s ball went past the far post for a goal kick.

Abrahams was sent on in place of Taylor in the Grimsby attack with 18 minutes left to play, with the home side looking for a third goal.

Coke saw a shot blocked after the ball broke for him on the edge of the box, before a corner eventually led to McAtee firing at Wickens, with the rebound going out for a goal kick.

Wealdstone were still showing signs of promise as they chased what had looked like an unlikely point, with Mascoll hitting a low shot which was stopped by Crocombe at his near post.

Fox came on for the impressive Raikhy on 81 minutes as the Mariners aimed to hold onto their advantage and soon afterwards, a penalty appeal from the away supporters for a handball was turned down by the referee.

Sousa went close to settling the result when he launched a powerful drive from the edge of the box after cutting in from the right on 88 minutes but Wickens was equal to it and pushed the ball around his post for a corner.

Four added minutes were played and another opportunity to put the result beyond doubt came when McAtee did well to chase down a clearance and keep the ball in near the corner flag. He cut inside and found Abrahams but the striker could not keep his shot down.

An opportunity for Wealdstone came with a free kick inside the Town half but with Wickens up to join the attack, they were unable to profit from it.

They still had time for one more attack with another free kick inside the Grimsby half but after Mascoll’s delivery was met by Wickens, the ball was cleared and the three points were Town’s.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Notts County.

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