Match Report: Grimsby Town 4-0 Notts County

Harry Davis scored twice as Grimsby Town began their Christmas programme with a comfortable win over struggling Notts County at Blundell Park.

The Mariners were sent on their way to making it five home league wins in a row when Harry Clifton opened the scoring with just four minutes on the clock.

Notts had plenty of possession and created openings but failed to seriously threaten the Town defence and instead, Davis’ first of the game doubled the Grimsby advantage.

The defender then made sure of the points with his second and Town’s third goal, before Wes Thomas added a fourth late on.

Two changes were made to the Town starting XI after last week’s win over Swindon, with Alex Whitmore replacing Danny Collins and Harry Cardwell coming in for Charles Vernam.

James McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie, Davis, Whitmore and Andrew Fox forming the defence.

Cardwell, Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Ben Pringle were the midfielders, with Elliot Embleton behind Thomas in attack.

There were also alterations on the substitutes list as academy graduate Mattie Pollock made the first team matchday squad for the first time and Ahkeem Rose, Martyn Woolford and Reece Hall-Johnson made returns.  They were joined on the bench by Sam Russell, Mitch Rose and Brandon Buckley.

Notts made the relatively short journey to Cleethorpes sitting in the League Two relegation zone but knowing victory could lift them out of the bottom two after a win last week.

They would look to experienced former Premier League front man Jon Stead to provide a threat to the Mariners backline, along with fellow strikers Nathan Thomas and Kane Hemmings.

Town kicked off attacking the Pontoon Stand end of the ground and they took the lead with the first chance of the game on four minutes.  Hessenthaler’s cross from the right fell for Cardwell and after his effort was blocked by keeper Ross Fitzsimons, the ball looped up for CLIFTON to head home from close range.

The visitors’ reply saw them win a free kick after a late challenge by Fox close to the edge of the box on the right.  The low delivery into the box was blocked, as was the return ball.

Notts’ Thomas did well to win a corner on the right on 10 minutes but from it, defender Jamie Turley headed over the bar.

A cross from Hemmings five minutes later was cleared for a corner by Whitmore but Elliott Hewitt’s delivery was dealt with by the Grimsby defence.

The away side had been controlling possession and territory for much of the game as the mid-point of the half passed but were yet to pose a serious threat to McKeown’s goal.

Another Notts corner came on 25 minutes but it was cleared, although the ball was brought back by Rob Milsom and a good challenge by Hendrie resulted in a further corner, which was cleared by Cardwell.

A foul by Embleton on left-back Dan Jones earned the Sunderland loanee a talking-to from the referee but the resulting free kick caused no problems and Town broke, with Cardwell eventually firing over the bar.

Embleton tried his luck from 25 yards after worrking an opening on 33 minutes but Fitzsimons got down to push the ball away for a corner.

That proved to be the start of a spell of Town pressure as Pringle’s ball from the flag was not fully dealt with and the ball eventually went out for a Mariners throw.

The pressure continued with a corner on the right soon afterwards and this time, it told as the ball was headed on and after a scramble, DAVIS was in the right place to head it over the line and make it 2-0.

The visitors went on the attack again after the goal as they aimed to reduce their deficit before half-time.

But they were unable to find a way back into the contest before the break as Town saw out an additional two minutes to preserve their two-goal advantage at half-time.

No changes were made before the restart and the first chance of the second half fell for Notts’ Thomas, whose powerful first-time shot from 20 yards was pushed over the bar by McKeown.

A better chance for the away side came soon afterwards when a mistake led to Stead being put through on goal but as McKeown came off his line, the striker dragged his low shot wide of the far post.

Thomas then cut in from the right and curled an effort off-target as the visitors continued to create chances.

The first substitution of the game came on 55 minutes as Hendrie went off with an injury and was replaced by Hall-Johnson.

A foul on Embleton gave Town a free kick inside the Notts half just before the hour but Pringle’s delivery proved to be too close to keeper Fitzsimons, who caught the ball.

Mitch Rose replaced Pringle in the second home change, as Kristian Dennis came on in place of Thomas for Notts.

The Mariners stretched their lead further with a third goal on 66 minutes.  Again, it came from a corner as the ball was played all the way through to DAVIS at the back post, who headed past Fitzsimons for his second of the game.

Jones sent a shot wide after a low cross from Stead at the other end, before a corner from the Notts left was comfortably cleared at the near post.

Thomas and Hewitt were both booked after an altercation near the Notts dugout which resulted in a free kick for the away side that again caused no problems.

Woolford replaced Cardwell with 13 minutes to go in the final Town substitution, before Embleton forced Fitzsimons into a good save with a fizzing drive which the keeper tipped over his bar for a corner.

The Mariners were now in complete control and they made it 4-0 on 89 minutes when THOMAS got himself on the scoresheet as he steered a volley into the net.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the game before Town were able to celebrate another excellent home win to provide a great start to the festive fixtures.

The Mariners are next in action on Boxing Day, when they travel to Port Vale.


1 James McKeown (C)
27 Luke Hendrie
19 Andrew Fox
24 Harry Davis
25 Alex Whitmore
7 Jake Hessenthaler
30 Ben Pringle
15 Harry Clifton
22 Elliot Embleton
17 Harry Cardwell
39 Wes Thomas


23 Sam Russell
2 Reece Hall-Johnson
31 Matthew Pollock
26 Brandon Buckley
8 Mitch Rose
16 Martyn Woolford
21 Ahkeem Rose

Notts County

1 Ross Fitzsimons
4 Elliott Hewitt
23 Daniel Jones
26 Jamie Turley
19 Elliott Ward
21 Keston Davies
8 David Vaughan
24 Robert Milsom
30 Jon Stead (C)
15 Kane Hemmings
10 Nathan Thomas


13 Branislav Pindroch
16 Shaun Brisley
25 Cedric Evina
2 Matt Tootle
17 Noor Husin
9 Kristian Dennis
37 Kion Etete

Referee: David Webb

Attendance: 4,946 (436)

Next Up: Port Vale (A) – Boxing Day


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