Match Report – King’s Lynn Town 0 – 1 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town continued their play-off push with a narrow away victory at King’s Lynn Town to make it two wins out of two over the Easter holiday.

The Mariners, backed by 1,890 travelling fans who made up more than half of the crowd at The Walks, lost John McAtee to injury early in the game.

But his replacement, Tristan Abrahams, got the vital goal in first-hand stoppage time which ensured the points returned from north Norfolk to North East Lincolnshire.

Town had several chances to add to their advantage in the second half but were unable to take any of them, meaning it was a nervous end to the match for the away fans.

In the end though, the missed opportunities did not matter as their favourites held firm to close out the game and secure the result.

Boss Paul Hurst made five changes to his starting XI following the home win against league leaders Stockport County on Good Friday.

Max Wright came in for his first league start of the season, while Jordan Cropper, Ben Fox, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe all returned to the side as Michee Efete, Joey Jones, Sean Scannell, Gavan Holohan and Ryan Taylor all made way.

Max Crocombe started in goal, with Cropper, Andy Smith, Luke Waterfall and Danny Amos forming the defence.  Maguire-Drew, Fox, Harry Clifton and Wright were the midfielders, with McAtee behind Dieseruvwe in attack.

Scannell was named on the bench, alongside Shaun Pearson, Scott Burgess, Erico Sousa and Abrahams.

King’s Lynn, managed by ex-Town midfielder Tommy Widdrington, were looking for a positive result which would boost their fight to stay in the National League.

They would look to the likes of striker Gold Omotayo, who scored in a 4-1 defeat at Notts County last time out, to provide the firepower.

An early long throw from Cropper was dealt with by the home defence, before Omotayo prodded wide as the hosts created the first opening of the game.

Tyler Denton then saw a shot blocked after a good move down the right which led to Michael Clunan playing the ball into the box as King’s Lynn’s promising start continued.

Theo Widdrington was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon for a poor challenge on Clifton on 10 minutes but Maguire-Drew’s free kick from the left was headed clear.

Dieseruvwe then had Town’s first chance on 14 minutes after a great ball from Clifton had started an attack through the middle. The striker was unable to capitalise though as home keeper Paul Jones raced off his line to block the shot.

A stoppage came on 17 minutes when McAtee stayed down after a heavy landing and it proved a big blow as he was unable to continue and walked off the pitch holding his wrist.  Abrahams was sent in in his place.

The home side won a corner on their left on 24 minutes and after the Mariners failed to fully clear it, Widdrington flashed a shot wide from 20 yards.

A corner came at the other end soon afterwards and after it was played back to the taker Maguire-Drew, a shot from Wright was blocked.

Fox played a nice pass through for Abrahams as Town attacked again but the striker could not pick a team-mate out with his ball across goal.

A header from Wright was cleared off the line for a corner after Abrahams’ effort was blocked by the keeper, as the visitors kept pushing forward in search of an opening goal.

Fox won a corner on the left on 33 minutes but the hosts eventually managed to scramble the ball clear after some pinball in the box as Town again went close to breaking the deadlock.

Crocombe claimed a cross from Munashe Sundire on the home right after Clifton had lost possession in a dangerous area, before a volley from Joshua Barratt was blocked for a corner, which was headed clear by Waterfall.

Barratt was involved again soon afterwards when his 20-yard drive was held by Crocombe at the second attempt, then a home free kick from halfway was comfortably dealt with.

A foul by Wright gave King’s Lynn a free kick on the edge of the Town box on 43 minutes but Barratt’s shot failed to beat the wall.

The home side were having a good spell as half-time approached and Barratt narrowly missed the target with a low, powerful drive across goal which only needed a touch from somebody in blue and yellow to take it past Crocombe.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the half and in the second of them, the Mariners took the lead. Amos hit the post with a low, placed effort and after the rebound fell for Maguire-Drew, he picked out ABRAHAMS to slot home.

It was almost 2-0 before the interval as Maguire-Drew led a break through the middle but Dieseruvwe was unable to take advantage as his effort was deflected away for a corner.  Maguire-Drew’s flag-kick was headed clear in what proved to be the last action of the half.

Town had been on top for the majority of the first 45 minutes without looking particularly threatening, although the goal arrived against the run of play as the away side had been coming under pressure.

No further changes were made before the restart and an early cross from Luis Fernandez on the home right was comfortably caught by Crocombe.

A foul on Wright gave the Mariners a free kick in a promising position on the left six minutes in but Waterfall could only head wide from Maguire-Drew’s delivery.

A free kick from Widdrington on the halfway line was cleared as far as Barratt but he was unable to create an opportunity and instead, played the ball out for a throw-in.

A Town corner at the other end was cleared and eventually turned into another one, although again, the away side were unable to make it count.

King’s Lynn had a corner of their own after a free kick was put behind but they, too failed to cause any serious problems despite defender Ross Barrows winning the initial header.

A cross from Maguire-Drew was headed behind for a Grimsby corner on 58 minutes but the winger’s ball from the flag was caught by keeper Jones.

Maguire-Drew met a cross from the left but could only head at Jones, then Clifton was booked for a trip on Widdrington after Abrahams had lost possession.

Wright did well to beat his man down the left on 68 minutes and swing over a cross which was headed behind for a corner.

Soon afterwards, Wright was replaced by Scannell, before Cropper did well to win the ball and slot it through for Abrahams. He in turn found Dieseruvwe but the striker could not beat Jones, who blocked his shot for a corner.

The pressure continued with another corner on the Town left and this time, Waterfall headed just wide at the far post.

Maguire-Drew then saw a shot blocked after being picked out inside the penalty area by Scannell.

Cropper had an opportunity to use his long throw on 76 minutes and after the ball was headed back to him, his cross was headed wide by Dieseruvwe.

Moments later, Scannell had a clear route to goal through the middle but when he reached the box, an unfortunate bobble led to him firing wide.

Zain Walker replaced Sundire for the hosts with 12 minutes to go and a foul on Abrahams two minutes later brought another chance for Town to attack.  The ball was played to Scannell on the left and he did well to get to the by-line and cut into the box but his pull-back was intercepted.

A free kick from Barratt was headed clear for a throw-in by Smith, then a Town break through Scannell on the left ended with Dieseruvwe missing the target.

Ken Charles replaced Fernandez for King’s Lynn for the last six minutes, before Dieseruvwe was again thwarted by Jones after he was played in by Maguire-Drew.

Smith was forced to concede a corner in the last minute but the delivery from it was straight at Crocombe, who claimed the catch.

The hosts were given an additional four minutes to force an equaliser as Town looked to hold on for all three points.

Burgess came on in place of Maguire-Drew for the closing stages, with King’s Lynn continuing to push forward.

A foul by Scannell gave them a free kick but the ball from it was headed clear.

The home side were unable to create another chance and the Mariners saw out the remainder of the game to collect another vital three points and complete an Easter double.

Attention will now turn to Saturday, when Torquay United are the visitors to Blundell Park.

P