Match Report: Grimsby Town 3-1 Stevenage

Grimsby Town scored three goals in a game for the first time since September as they enjoyed a comfortable victory over Stevenage at Blundell Park.

The Mariners took the lead through Elliott Whitehouse on 17 minutes, before Billy Clarke made it 2-0 from the penalty spot just after the hour.

And a fine home performance was capped with a third goal, which came through a superb individual effort from Charles Vernam.

Stevenage grabbed a consolation goal in added time through Charlie Lakin but it came too late to worry the hosts, who saw out the remainder of the game to collect all three points.

Town started with James McKeown in goal, protected by a defence of Luke Hendrie, Mattie Pollock, Ludvig Ohman and Anthony Glennon.

The midfielders were Harry Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Whitehouse, with Vernam, James Hanson and Clarke in attack.

Matt Green made a return from injury to take a place on the bench, where he was joined by Sam Russell, James Tilley, Elliott Hewitt, Luke Waterfall, Josh Benson and Max Wright.

Stevenage arrived in Cleethorpes sitting at the bottom of the League Two table and facing a battle to avoid the drop into the National League.

Their team included former Town striker Simeon Jackson, who would be out to cause problems as part of the visitors’ attack.

The Mariners were forced into a very early change when Hessenthaler went down with what appeared to be an arm injury within seconds of the kick-off. He was eventually replaced by Benson.

The away side made a bright start, taking the game to their hosts in the early stages and forcing a corner when a shot by Jackson was pushed over the bar by McKeown.

At the other end, Vernam cut in from the left and shot but his curling effort caused no problems for Stevenage keeper Paul Farman as the ball went over the bar.

The home side broke the deadlock on 17 minutes when a great cross from Hendrie on the right was met by Hanson at the far post and after he headed the ball back across goal, WHITEHOUSE was there to force it over the line.

Stevenage responded well, with a cross from Charlie Lakin finding Luther Wildin at the far post. He could not make it count though, with the ball going harmlessly through to McKeown.

Town almost had an opportunity on 23 minutes after Clarke did well to keep the ball in and send a cross over from the left. Farman got a touch to it though and the visitors cleared.

Soon afterwards, Charlie Carter had a chance for Stevenage when he controlled the ball and had the time and space to take a touch before shooting from 20 yards. The shot was weak though and McKeown got down to make a comfortable stop.

As the half-hour mark passed, it was the Mariners who were now looking the more dangerous in attack and a chance came for Hanson when Clarke played the ball through for him but after being forced slightly wide, the striker could only fire over the bar.

A Stevenage free kick on 37 minutes saw Farman pump the ball long down the right channel and after Wildin kept it in and crossed, Town failed to fully clear their lines but midfielder Dia Dabo could only find the Pontoon Stand with his shot from 20 yards.

Soon afterwards, a long kick by McKeown was headed out for a corner by Stevenage captain Scott Cuthbert. Clarke’s ball from the flag was met by Hanson but his header went through to Farman.

Vernam cut in from the left and let fly on 41 minutes, with Farman forced into action as he dived to his right to stop the low shot.

At the other end, a low cross from Wildin led to a close-range shot being deflected away for a corner, which was headed away by Hanson. A follow-up ball into the Town penalty area was dealt with by Glennon.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and after an away corner was cleared, the Mariners held their one-goal advantage at the interval.

No further changes were made by either side before the restart and the away side won a corner on the right five minutes in, which was caught by McKeown.

Lakin appeared to have been fouled near the edge of the Town box as Stevenage attacked again soon afterwards but the referee waved play on despite the protests of the away bench.

Vernam set off on a run at pace on 54 minutes after getting the ball near the halfway line but was unable to test Farman as his shot was blocked.

A shot by Clarke was deflected away for a corner after a good build-up by the hosts and from the flag, the ball was flicked back across goal but Farman managed to dive onto it before anybody in black and white could force it over the line.

Just after the hour, the Mariners were given the perfect opportunity to double their lead after Clifton was adjudged to have been brought down inside the box by Cuthbert and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. CLARKE stepped up and sent the kick down the middle and into the net to make it 2-0.

Clarke was booked for taking his shirt off while celebrating the goal, before Stevenage made their first substitution as Jackson was replaced by David Parkhouse.

An away corner from the left was collected by McKeown at the second attempt, before another attack by the visitors came to an end when Ohman cleared the ball.

A cross from Tyler Denton found Jake Cassidy as Stevenage created another opportunity but again, they were unable to make it count as the striker headed straight at McKeown.

Denton was replaced by Elliott List soon afterwards but it was the Mariners who struck the killer blow on 73 minutes. VERNAM set off on another pacy run through the middle and this time, he found the finish, firing past Farman from 20 yards.

Green was sent on in place of Hanson for the last 15 minutes, with Town now in complete control.

Hendrie was booked after a minor altercation with Stevenage manager Graham Westley, before Lakin was yellow-carded for a late challenge on the Mariners right-back.

Clarke was replaced by Tilley in the final Grimsby change with 11 minutes to go, before List hit the side-netting as the away side looked for a consolation goal.

Terence Vancooten replaced Dabo for Stevenage, who were seeing plenty of the ball in attacking areas but struggling to seriously test McKeown.

Five added minutes were played at the end of the game and in the second of them, the visitors got their consolation goal as LAKIN cut in from the left and sent a shot skimming past McKeown and into the far corner of the net.

Town then saw out the rest of the game until they and the home supporters were able to celebrate a good win.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when Forest Green Rovers are the visitors to Blundell Park. 

Town: McKeown (c), Hendrie, Pollock, Öhman, Glennon, Clifton, Hessenthaler, Whitehouse, Vernam, Hanson, Clarke.⁣ ⁣

Subs: Russell, Tilley, Hewitt, Waterfall, Green, Benson, Wright.

Stevenage:  Farman,  Wildin, Denton,  Cuthbert (C), Nugent, Dabo, Jackson, Digby, Carter, Lakin, Cassidy.

Subs: Bastien, Iontton, List, Parrett, Soares, Vancooten, Parkhouse.

Attendance: 4175 (21)

Referee: Tom Nield 

Possession: Town 53% – 47% Stevenage 

Next Up: Forest Green Rovers (H)


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