Match Report: Grimsby Town 2-2 Colchester Utd

Grimsby Town came from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils against Colchester United at Blundell Park.

The visitors took the lead through Frank Nouble and doubled their advantage in first-half stoppage time when Luke Norris headed in a second goal.

But the Mariners fought back after the break and were back in the game when James Hanson scored from the penaltty spot, before Matt Green’s first goal for the club provided a late equaliser.

One change was made to the Town side after the defeat at Forest Green on Saturday, with Sebastian Ring coming in as Harry Clifton dropped out.

James McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie, Harry Davis, Luke Waterfall and Ring forming the defence.

Elliott Hewitt, Jake Hessenthaler and Elliott Whitehouse were the midfielders, with Green, Hanson and Moses Ogbu in attack.

Clifton was named on the Grimsby bench, along with Jordan Cook, Charles Vernam, Harry Cardwell, Sam Russell, Mattie Pollock and Max Wright.

Colchester made the journey north looking for their first win of the season at the fourth attempt.

Their side included former Mariners loanee Brandon Comley, with Luke Norris and Javani Brown among those looking to create danger for the Town defence.

After a steady opening, Town almost had the first opportunity of the game when Hanson found Ring on the left but his first-time cross could not be diverted towards goal by anybody in black and white.

Hewitt became the first to be booked on 11 minutes a foul, with the referee waiting until play had stopped before showing the yellow card.

The midfielder was warned by referee Robert Lewis a minute later after another foul but this time, the card was not produced and Hewitt escaped further punishment.

Colchester attacker Frank Nouble beat the Town offside trap to go through on 14 minutes but after cutting in from the right, he could only fire across goal from a narrow angle and wide of the far post.

The hosts won the game’s first corner soon afterwards and after the ball was played short, Hessenthaler got it baack from Ogbu but his cross was headed into the side-netting by Waterfall.

Hewitt connected with a cross from the Town right on 18 minutes but his header was comfortable for visiting keeper Dean Gerken.

At the other end, Norris tried a shot from 20 yards but it was blocked by a team-mate, who was flagged offside.

Hanso was fouled by defender Tom Eastman midway inside the Colchester half to give Town a free kick on 23 minutes. Hessenthaler’s ball from it was headed over the bar by Waterfall.

The visitors took the lead soon afterwards when an attempted clearance by Hessenthaler was blocked and the ball broke for NOUBLE, who left McKeown with no chance as he unleashed a powerful shot that arrowed into the top corner of the net.

Town’s response was good and tthey won a corner which wa eventually cleared, before a foul by Norris on Whitehouse brought about a free kick on the left. This time, Hessenthaler could not pick out a team-mate with his delivery, which went out for a goal kick.

A good counter-attack through Hessenthaler eventually led to a Grimsby corner on the left and it was put behind for another one after being headed back across goal. This time, Hessenthaler’s ball was cleared.

The away side could have doubled their advantage on 38 minutes when a cross was met by Norris but his header was pushed away by McKeown for a corner.

Hanson headed wide from a deep cross by Hendrie on the right as the game moved into two added minutes.

But it was Colchester who were ending the first half the stronger and they grabbed a second goal in the first of the added minutes. This time, Nouble was the provider as his chipped cross from the left was met by NORRIS, who headed home at the far post for 2-0.

The visitors had looked increasingly comfortable as the half went on after taking the lead and with a two-goal deficit to make up, the Mariners faced a tough task in the second half if they were to take anything from the game.

No changes were made before the restart and Town were given a golden opportunity to get back into the contest within two minutes when Ogbu went down under a challenge inside the box. After initially looking to have waved the penalty appeals away, the referee eventually pointed to the spot and HANSON stepped up to make it 2-1.

Ogbu was spoken to by the referee after a foul on Brown but the resulting free kick caused no problems as the ball was flicked through to McKeown.

A foul by Waterfall on Norris gave the away side another free kick on the left but Norris’ shot from it didn’t dip in time and the ball flew over the bar.

Ogbu had an opportunity after Hessenthaler had made an interception in midfield. After he looked to be fouled, the striker kept his balance to advance and shoot frrom 20 yards but his low effort was stopped by Gerken.

A cross from Ring on the left was also stopped by the keeper before it could reach Hanson, then after a Colchester attack was stopped, a foul on Green gave Town a free kick on the left which was headed clear.

Whitehouse went down inside the box after a Hewitt long throw had not been fully dealt with but this time, the home appeals for a penalty were turned down.

Another long throw was cleared for a corner on 65 minutes but Hessenthaler’s delivery from the flag was headed clear.

Left-back Ryan Clampin won a corner for the visitors soon afterwards but Eastman’s header from it lacked the power needed to beat McKeown.

Davis was shown the yellow card for pulling Norris back on the right as the striker looked to make progress. Vernm replaced Ogbu in Town’s first substitution before the free kick was taken and the ball to the edge of the box was comfortably dealt with as Hessenthaler cleared.

Vernam’s first involvement saw him win a corner on the left but it was headed cleear by Eastman.

Another long throw from Hewitt was headed away for a corner but the ball from the flag was claimed by keeper Gerken.

Wright came on for Whitehouse with 15 minutes to go and a chance for the visitors came when Norris got the better of Waterfall but could not beat McKeown, who made a comfortable stop.

Luke Gambin replaced Courtney Senior for Colchester and Cook came on for Heitt in the colours of the Mariners as both managers made a change on 82 minutes.

Omar Sowunmi came on for Norris as Colchester looked to an extra defeender to try and protect their lead.

But their plan was foiled within seconds as the Mariners finally hauled themselves level with three minutes to go, as GREEN go the ball on the edge of the box and fired a great shot past Gerken into the top corner of the net.

Colchester’s response saw them win a corner and after the ball from the flag broke to Ben Stevenson on the edge of the box, his shot flew wide.

Five added minutes would be played at the end of the game and a foul by Cook gave the visitors a free kick 30 yards out in a position left of centre but Brown’s kick was cleared after the ball had been headed on.

At the other end, Wright looked to get on the end of a through-ball but was hauled down. Davis went down inside the box after Hessenthaler sent the ball over frrom the free kick but a goal kick was given.

That proved to be Grimsby’s last chance to snatch a winner but after being two goals down at the break, they would have been pleased to come away with a point.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when Port Vale are the visitors to Blundell Park.

Town: McKeown, Hendrie, Waterfall, Davis, Ring, Hessenthaler, Hewitt, Whitehouse, Green, Ogbu, Hanson.

Subs: Russell, Pollock, Clifton, Wright, Vernam, Cook, Cardwell.

Colchester Utd: Gerken,  Jackson, Clampin, Eastman, Prosser (C), Stevenson, Senior, Comley, Brown, Nouble, Norris.

Subs: Ross, James, Kensdale,  Sowunmi, Chilvers ,  Gambin, Hasanally.

Referee: Robert Lewis

Attendance: 4103 (144)

Next Up: Port Vale (H)


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