Match Report – Grimsby Town 3 – 1 Aldershot Town

Grimsby Town moved to within goal difference of the National League play-off places as they recorded a comfortable home victory over Aldershot Town.

Erico Sousa’s early goal sent the Mariners on their way, before John McAtee struck six minutes before the break to ensure their first-half dominance was reflected in the scoreline.

McAtee then scored his second of the game on the hour to put the result beyond doubt and make it seven points out of nine over the last eight days, although the visitors did manage a late consolation goal through Ryan Glover. 

Scott Burgess made his first start for Town as he replaced Giles Coke in what was the only change to the XI that began the goalless draw with King’s Lynn Town in midweek.

Goalkeeper Max Crocombe was protected by a defence of Michee Efete, Shaun Pearson, Luke Waterfall and Danny Amos, while Sousa, Burgess, Arjan Raikhy and Harry Clifton were the midfielders and McAtee again started just behind striker Ryan Taylor.

Coke was named on the bench, alongside Andy Smith, Sean Scannell, Lenell John-Lewis and Tristan Abrahams.

Aldershot were looking to bounce back following a home defeat by Barnet last time out and they gave a debut to goalkeeper Dillon Barnes after he signed on loan from Queen’s Park Rangers.

The game kicked off in wet, windy conditions and the visitors won the first corner in the second minute but the ball from the flag was headed clear by Waterfall.  

Efete won Town’s first corner of the afternoon on the right three minutes later and Amos’ low delivery went through a crowd before being deflected away for another flag-kick, on the left.  This time, the ball broke for Clifton but his attempted shot from 30 yards was blocked.

A foul by Efete gave the away side a free kick inside the Grimsby half but it caused no problems as the offside flag went up when the ball was sent into the penalty area.

The Mariners took the lead on 10 minutes as a low ball across the six-yard line from Efete ricocheted onto the post and when it broke for SOUSA, he made no mistake from close range.

Aldershot were yet to threaten Crocombe’s goal but the Mariners had a great chance to double their lead on the quarter-hour when a superb through-ball from McAtee found Sousa.  He was unable to make it count though, as his low effort was blocked by keeper Barnes for a corner.

Another opportunity came from the flag-kick, as Raikhy’s ball was headed back across goal.  The visitors were unable to clear the danger but Amos could not get enough on his header to take the ball over the line and Barnes eventually gathered it.

Town were on top and they won another corner when Clifton was stopped as he looked to break through the middle.  Amos’ ball was flicked on by Taylor but nobody was there to get onto the loose ball and the away side cleared.

Striker Tommy Willard sent a low effort wide of the target from 20 yards as Aldershot registered their first shot of the game, before a low cross from Mikael Ndjoli was cleared by Waterfall.

Sousa fired just wide of the far post after a run through the middle, before Willard won a corner at the other end, which was headed behind for another one.  This time, Willard’s high ball towards the far post was well claimed by Crocombe.

An offside decision against Sousa brought a promising Town attack to an end soon afterwards, then the flag was raised again the next time the hosts went forward, this time against McAtee.

Efete poked a cross-shot just wide of the far post on the half-hour as the Mariners continued to create opportunities, before Crocombe was called into serious action for the first time to parry an attempt by Ryan Glover from the edge of the box.

McAtee was off-target with a shot from distance on 36 minutes but he only had to wait another three minutes to get his name on the scoresheet.  Clifton brought the ball down on the edge of the box and McATEE curled a shot which Barnes was unable to keep out.

A foul by Waterfall gave the visitors a free kick on the edge of the Town box but Willard’s shot cannoned away off the wall for a corner, which was caught by Crocombe.

One added minute was played at the end of a half which had been controlled by the Mariners and with no further chances for either side, they held a commanding lead at the break.

James Vennings replaced Aldershot captain Kodi Lyons-Foster before the restart and a foul by Taylor gave the away side the first opportunity to create danger with a free kick midway inside the Town half.  Vennings’ attempt was wasteful though, as he blasted the ball well over the bar.

Glover pulled a shot just wide of the near post on 54 minutes as a nice move by Aldershot led to their best chance of the game so far.

Barnes collected a cross from Sousa at the other end, before another spell of Aldershot possession as they looked for a way back into the game.

But the result was put beyond doubt when the Mariners made it 3-0 on the hour.  Clifton’s ball through the middle found McATEE and after his first effort was well blocked by Barnes, the attacker calmly rolled the rebound past the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

Scannell was sent on in plce of Sousa before Aldershot made a double-substitution as Toby Edser and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong replaced Mo Sylla and Ndjoli. 

Abrahams came on for Taylor in Town’s second change on 70 minutes, before Vennings cleared the bar again with another free kick following a foul by Efete.

Smith replaced Waterfall in the home defence with 15 minutes to go, before Willard sent a curling shot just wide of Crocombe’s far post after cutting in from the left.

McAtee won a corner on the right on 78 minutes but they were unable to turn it into a chance in front of goal as Efete was penalised for handball.

A shot from Clifton was held by Barnes as Town looked for a fourth goal but as the match moved into three added minutes, the visitors grabbed their consolation.  Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain got the ball near the halfway line and set off on a great run down the right which took him into the box before GLOVER applied the finishing touch to make it 3-1.

That meant there would be no clean sheet to go with the three points but nevertheless, it was a job well done for the Mariners, who move up to eighth in the league table.

Town are next in action on Friday night, when they travel to Southend United.

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