Match Report: Harrogate Town 1-0 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town were beaten by Harrogate Town as a single goal settled the contest at the Envirovent Stadium.

The hosts dominated the first half but a string of great saves by Mariners keeper Jake Eastwood kept the scoresheet blank at the interval.

The second half was more even and both sides had chances but it was Harrogate substitute Mark Beck who broke the deadlock with a header on 77 minutes that proved to be the winning goal.

Four changes were made to the Town starting XI following Tuesday’s home win against Crawley.

Giles Coke made his first start for the club, while there were returns to the line-up for Mattie Pollock, James Hanson and Luke Hendrie as Joe Adams, Danny Rose, Filipe Morais and the suspended Joe Bunney dropped out.

Eastwood began in goal, with Rollin Menayese, Luke Waterfall and Pollock forming a centre-back trio.

Elliott Hewitt and Hendrie operated as wing-backs, with Jay Matete and Idris El Mizouni alongside Coke in midfield and Stefan Payne partnering Hanson in attack.

Rose, Morais and Adams were all named among the substitutes, along with James McKeown, Sam Habergham, Matt Green and Lenell John-Lewis.

Harrogate began the day 14th in League Two and looking for a victory which could take them to within four points of the play-off places, depending on results elsewhere.

They would look to strikers Josh March and Aaron Martin to provide the main threat to the Town defence.

Eastwood had to come off his line to deal with an early long ball forward towards March, before midfielder Lloyd Kerry sent a low shot wide from 20 yards as the hosts started on the attack.

A deep cross from former Mariners left-back Dan Jones was headed out for the game’s first corner by Hendrie but the delivery from the flag was comfortably cleared.

Midfielder George Thomson let fly with a 25-yard drive on nine minutes that Eastwood gathered at the second attempt, then another shot from March was caught by the keeper after Town had failed to clear the danger following a home throw-in.

Harrogate were making all of the early running and after another corner was not cleared, Eastwood had to make a great save from a March volley to get the ball away for a third corner. This time, March connected with a header but Eastwood was in the right place to stop it.

Matete was shown the game’s first yellow card on 16 minutes for a late challenge on Kerry, before a Hewitt long throw was headed clear as Town launched a rare attack.

A long throw by Jones at the other end went straight through to Eastwood, before a free-kick from Thomson was headed away for a throw-in, which was also dealt with by the Town defence.

A foul by Kerry on Matete just inside the Town half gave the Mariners an opportunity to get the ball into the danger zone but after Hewitt’s delivery was headed on by Pollock, it went through to home keeper James Belshaw.

The long throw of Jones was being used to good effect by the home side and Menayese did well to clear the danger when defender Will Smith poked the ball towards goal after another throw broke for winger Josh McPake.

A stoppage came when Belshaw landed awkwardly after a challenge from Menayese in the air as he collected the ball following a Hewitt long throw. The keeper was passed fit to continue after receiving treatment.

A big chance for the hosts came when a throw by Jones was met by Martin but his header was pushed away by Eastwood and eventually cleared. Another throw from Jones, this time on the opposite left flank, led to a Town free-kick after the referee spotted a foul.

Town’s best opportunity so far came three minutes before the break when El Mizouni got the ball near the halfway line and made progress towards the edge of the penalty area before playing it left to Payne. The striker’s shot was well-saved by Belshaw, who dived to push the low effort away from goal.

A free-kick at the other end from Thomson was headed out for a corner but the flag-kick caused no significant problems.

A foul by Pollock deep into four minutes of stoppage time at the end of the half gave Harrogate a final chance to create danger but after the ball was chipped to the far post and headed back across goal, nobody could force it into the net and the Mariners eventually cleared.

That meant it remained goalless at the break after a half which the home side had dominated but failed to make their pressure count.

No changes were made before the restart and an early long throw from Jones was headed back to him, before a follow-up cross was cleared.

Town were almost given a chance from a short back-pass by Jones but Belshaw got to the ball ahead of Hanson.

After a scrappy first 10 minutes of the second half, a run by McPake down the left led to a home corner but the ball from the flag was cleared after it had slipped out of Eastwood’s grasp.

At the other end, a left-wing cross from Hendrie was blocked for a corner, which was cleared after El Mizouni’s ball had been headed on.

The game was there for the taking for either side at the hour mark, with neither team able to put their stamp on it.

A cross from Hewitt on the right on 67 minutes was met by Hanson but he could not get enough power on his header to take it past Belshaw and the keeper got to the loose ball before Payne could pounce.

The hosts made a triple-substitution with 21 minutes left to play, as Jones, Martin and March were replaced by Warren Burrell, Beck and top scorer Jack Muldoon.

Town responded with a change of their own, as John Lewis came on in place of Payne.

A home penalty appeal was waved away after Muldoon went down under a challenge inside the box following a run down the right, with the Mariners getting the ball clear.

The deadlock was finally broken with 13 minutes left to play and it was the hosts who opened the scoring. A cross from Fallowfield on the right was met by BECK, who beat Waterfall to the ball and sent a header floating beyond Eastwood and into the far corner of the net.

Harrogate immediately went in search of a second goal and Power raced clear to the edge of the box but Menayese got back well to make a good challenge.

Morais replaced Matete and Adams came on for Pollock as Town made a double-substitution in a bid to force their way back into the game with 10 minutes to go, while Josh Falkingham replaced Kerry for the hosts soon afterwards.

The Mariners had a chance when a Morais cross from the right was punched by Belshaw straight to the feet of Hanson. The ball came to the striker quickly though and he could only send a snap-shot over the bar.

Muldoon got onto a loose ball at the other end ahead of Eastwood but he too missed the target, scooping his effort over the bar.

Morais saw a shot deflected over the bar for a corner after a low cross from Hendrie broke for him as Town continued to search for an equaliser.

McPake then shot at Eastwood at the other end after opting to go for goal himself instead of squaring for Power.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the game but despite a late chance for Adams, the Mariners were unable to find the goal that would have given them a share of the spoils as Harrogate held on for all three points.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when Leyton Orient are the visitors to Blundell Park.

Town: Eastwood, Hewitt, Menayese, Waterfall, Pollock, Hendrie, Matete, Coke, El Mizouni, Payne, Hanson. Subs: McKeown, Habergham, Rose, Morais, Adams, Green, John-Lewis

Harrogate: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Smith, Hall, Jones, Power, Kerry, Thomson, McPake, March, Martin. Subs: Falkingham, Burrell, Beck, Muldoon, Francis, Minter.


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