Match Report: Grimsby Town 2-2 Barnet

Grimsby Town were forced to settle for a point against relegation rivals Barnet after a topsy-turvy encounter at Blundell Park.

The Mariners made the perfect start to the game when they took the lead through Danny Collins after a well-worked corner.

But Barnet hit back after half-time, with former Mariner Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro coming off the bench to equalise before midfielder Curtis Weston put them ahead.

Town were not behind for long though, as Mitch Rose equalised from the penalty spot to ensure a share of the spoils.

One change was made to the Town side that beat Chesterfield last time out, with Harry Cardwell replacing Scott Vernon in attack.

James McKeown started in goal, with Reece Hall-Johnson, Nathan Clarke, Collins and Andrew Fox making up the defence.

Siriki Dembele, Luke Summerfield, Rose, Martyn Woolford and JJ Hooper were the midfielders, with Cardwell beginning as a lone striker as Hooper took up a position on the left.

The substitutes were Ben Killip, Simeon Jackson, Ben Davies, Harry Clifton, Diallang Jaiyesimi, Gary McSheffrey and Karleigh Osborne.

Barnet boss Marin Allen named the same starting XI as he had done for their victory over Forest Green Rovers last week.

Strikers Shaquille Coulthirst and John Akinde would look to be the danger men for the Bees, while former Mariner Akpa Akpro was kept in reserve on the bench.

An early free kick from Barnet’s Michael Nelson was dealt with by the Town defence, before the home side’s first attack saw Hall-Johnson’s low cross from the right go through to visiting keeper Craig Ross.

Coulthirst found himself with a chance on three minutes but as the ball bounced, he could not keep his shot down and instead, lifted it over the bar.

Hooper saw a shot blocked for a corner after he had been found by an excellent cross-field ball from Woolford.  And from it, the Mariners took the lead with a well-worked routine that saw Summerfield’s near-post delivery flicked on by Hooper for COLLINS to fire into the roof of the net from close range.

A foul on Fox as he looked to make progress down the left gave Town a free kick on eight minutes but as Summerfield’s ball went into the penalty area, the referee spotted a push by a home attacker.

The first yellow card of the game went to Barnet’s Weston for a foul on Rose on the quarter-hour and soon afterwards, Hooper tried his luck with a curling shot from 20 yards that was caught by Ross.

The home pressure continued with a strong run by Woolford but when he crossed, Summerfield’s header lacked power or direction.

Cardwell then won a corner on the left on 20 minutes but this time, Town were unable to profit from it as the ball was cleared.

A corner came at the other end two minutes later and McKeown had to make a good save after Ryan Watson’s ball from the flag was headed on towards goal by Nelson.

Clarke flicked a header wide from a Rose long throw as Town continued to look the more dangerous in attack, with a header by Barnet captain Dan Sweeney from a free kick at the other end proving comfortable for McKeown.

Cardwell won another left-wing corner for Town on 27 minutes but Summerfield’s ball to the far post was headed off-target by Clarke.

Barnet made the first substitution of the game on 35 minutes, with Charlie Clough replacing Nana Kyei in a move that saw Sweeney move forward into midfield as Clough slotted in at centre-back.

Fox had to clear for a Barnet corner a minute later and Town struggled to clear it until a shot was blocked by Summerfield for another flag-kick, this time on the opposite left flank.  Cardwell headed it beind for a third consecutive corner an this time, McKeown punched the ball clear.

Good play by Dembele and Summerfield led to a long-range shot from the winger that was beaten away by keeper Ross, before Coulthirst fired over the bar at the other end.

Nelson was booked for bringing Cardwell down as he looked to make progress down the right but the resulting free kick from Fox was eventually scrambled clear after Cardwell had headed the ball down.

Barnet had caused few serious problems but they were given an opportunity with a free kick given for a foul on Watson on the edge of the Town penalty area.  Watson’s shot from it hit the Grimsby wall, before Richard Brindley sent an effort over the bar after the ball was half-cleared.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and Barnet had another free kick on the edge of the box after Clarke fouled David Tutonda.  Clarke was booked before Watson sent a poor effort high and wide in what proved to be the last action of the half, with the Mariners retaining their one-goal advantage at the interval.

No further changes were made by either manager before the restart and Barnet were the first to attack, with Akinde winning a corner on the left that was cleared before the pressure was eased with a foul on Dembele.

Clarke haad to concede a corner as the visitors came forward again but the danger from the flag was dealt with by the Grrimsby defence.

A stoppage came when Hooper went down off the ball but he was passed fit to continue after getting treatment.

Dembele linked up well with Cardwell on 55 minutes but after getting the ball back inside the box, the striker could not hit the target with his shot.

Akpa Akpro was sent on in place of Alex Nicholls for Barnet just before the hour, then Coulthirst showed goo pace to get own the left before hitting a cross which deflected off Hall-Johnson for a corner.

The ball from the flag was headed away but another one was won soon afterwards by Watson.  It too was headed clear.

But the Barrnet pressure told on 62 minutes when they grabbed an equaliser.  Good play around the edge of the box by  Akinde saw him find AKPA AKPRO and he drilled a low shot into the bottom corner of McKeown’s net to make it 1-1.

Clifton replaced Dembele for the Mariners on 66 minutes as Barnet now looked the more threatening in attack.

Coulthirst was booked for a shirt-pull on Hall-Johnson, before an Akpa Akpro shot was blocked as the London side continued to create opportunities.

Jackson replaced Cardwell for Town on 74 minutes, before McSheffrey came on for Hooper in the third and final home substitution.

But when the next goal came with 11 minutes to go, it was the visitors who took the lead for the first time in the game.  WESTON was the man to get on the scoresheet, hitting a low shot that found its way past McKeown and into the net.

Town were behind for just two minutes though, as a great run down the right by Clifton took him into the box and when he sent over a low cross, Jackson was fouled at the near post and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.  Just as he had done last week against Chesterfield, ROSE stepped up and found the net from 12 yards to make it 2-2.

Clough was the next to be shown a yellow card but the Mariners were unable to turn the resulting free kick into a goalscoring opportunity.

A McSheffrey corner on 88 minutes was headed back to him but his follow-up ball into the box was caught by Ross.

The fourth official signalled fie additional minutes to be played as both sides continued to look for a winner that could mean so much in their battle to stay in League Two.

A late challenge from Sweeney on Clifton earned him a yellow card, with a minute of the five left to play.

McSheffrey was also booked for pushing Coulthirst, before Akpa Akpro fired wide from the edge of the box as both sides kept searching for that vital goal.

Ultimately though, neither side could get it and the scores finished level.

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


1 James McKeown 
31 Reece Hall-Johnson 
23 Andrew Fox 
5 Nathan Clarke (C) 
6 Danny Collins 
8 Mitch Rose 
25 Martyn Woolford 
19 Luke Summerfield 
27 Siriki Dembele 
9 JJ Hooper 
17 Harry Cardwell


30 Ben Killip 
2 Ben Davies 
14 Karleigh Osborne 
15 Harry Clifton 
20 Diallang Jaiyesimi 
39 Simeon Jackson 
10 Gary McSheffrey


21 Craig Ross 
2 Richard Brindley 
13 David Tutonda 
26 Dan Sweeney (C) 
6 Michael Nelson 
7 Ryan Watson 
23 Alex Nicholls 
8 Curtis Weston 
17 Nana Kyei 
9 John Akinde 
11 Shaquile Coulthirst


31 Kai McKenzie-Lyle 
4 Charlie Clough 
32 Joe Payne 
18 Wesley Fonguck 
19 Fumnaya Shomotun 
12 Jack Taylor 
25 Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro

Referee: Darren Bond

Attendance: 5,416 (123)


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