Match Report: Lincoln City 1-0 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town lost by a single goal as league-leaders Lincoln City claimed the derby day honours at Sincil Bank.

After a fast start to the game, the hosts went ahead through Harry Toffolo on 12 minutes and held their advantage throughout.

Town had their moments but were unable to seriously test home keeper Grant Smith throughout the contest.

And in a game which saw eight yellow cards, the Mariners were also forced to play the closing stages of the game with 10 men after goalkeeper James McKeown was sent off.

Five changes were made to the Town side after last week’s home defeat by Macclesfield, with Harry Davis, Ludvig Ohman, Alex Whitmore, Mitch Rose and Harry Cardwell all coming into the starting XI.

McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie and Sebastian Ring operating as wing-backs as Davis, Ohman and Whitmore formed a centre-back trio.

Elliot Embleton, Rose and Jake Hessenthaler were the midfielders, with Cardwell joining Wes Thomas in attack.

The substitutes were Sam Russell, Reece Hall-Johnson, John Welsh, Martyn Woolford, Charles Vernam, Ahkeem Rose and Ben Pringle.

Lincoln came into the game sitting at the top of League Two and looking to continue their promotion charge with a derby victory.

Their starting XI included striker John Akinde, while the likes of Lee Frecklington and Harry Anderson would also look to provide a major threat.

An early free kick came when Ring fouled Anderson inside the opening minute on the right edge of the Town box.  Michael O’Connor’s delivery caused no problems though, as the referee spotted a foul and blew for a free kick in Grimsby’s favour.

The home side’s promising start continued when Anderson won a corner on the right but O’Connor’s ball from the flag was headed clear.

Still with less than five minutes on the clock, O’Connor was shown the first yellow card of the game after catching Ohman with an elbow in an aerial chaallenge.

Davis did well to win Town’s first corner on six minutes but Embleton’s ball was cut out at the near post, then after the Mariners worked the ball back, Ring fired over the bar from 20 yards.

Frecklington fizzed a 25-yard drive over the bar at the other end, before a foul by Hessenthaler on Shay McCartan brought about another home free kick, which was eventually dealt with.

Another corner frrom the Lincoln right was headed away but this time, the pressure told as the ball dropped for TOFFOLO on the edge of the box and he rifled a superb strike past McKeown and into the net to open the scoring.

Thomas was booked for a foul on home keeper Smith, who had come out of his penalty area to beat the striker to a long ball.

A spell of Town possession ended when a deep cross from Davis was caught by Smith, before another attacking move on 23 minutes led to a cross-shot by Thomas going out of play.

Whitmore had to concede a corner soon afterwards as he hosts attacked again, although the Mariners were able to get the ball clear of danger.

At the other end, Hessenthaler got into the Lincoln box before passing to Ring, who found Embleton but the Sunderland loanee could only shoot wide from 10 yards.

Another quick Lincoln attack came when Rose lost possession in midfield but Akinde’s shot at the end of it lacked power and McKeown gathered the ball comfortably.

Embleton set off on a run down the left on 31 minutes and cut into the box before winning a corner.  After it was initially played short, the ball was then crossed to the far post, where a header by Ohman was blocked.

Another corner came when an Embleton cross was deflected behind, with another following soon afterwards on the right.  This time, Embleton’s delivery almost sneaked directly into the net but after a brief scramble, the ball was gathered by Smith.

At the other end, a long throw by Neal Eardley fell for Anderson but his volley went wide of the target.

Hessenthaler was booked for a foul on O’Connor on the halfway line, before Toffolo was also shown the yellow card for time-wasting before a free kick.

Town won a corner on the right on 43 minutes and the ball from it was headed away by Akinde.  The Mariners worked it back to Embleton on the right but his cross was caught by Smith.

Four added minutes was signalled as Akinde became the latest to be booked for a foul on Ohman.

Rose won a free kick in a dangerous position on the right in the third of the added minutes but Embleton’s whipped delivery beat everybody and went out at the far post for a goal kick, leaving Lincoln’s lead intact at the interval.

No changes were made before the restart and an early Town free kick was cleared, before a corner from the left was also dealt with by the home side.

Whitmore was booked for a foul in a dangerous position but Lincoln did not make the resulting free kick count, as Michael Bostwick headed over the bar.

Lincoln thought they had scored a second goal when they had the ball in the net on 55 minutes but the referee disallowed it after spotting a foul by Shay McCartan.

McKeown had to race off his line to deny Akinde after the striker had turned past Davis, then soon afterwards, a good challenge by Ohman stopped the former Barnet attacker, at the expense of a corner.

Danny Rowe replaced McCartan as the hosts made the first substitution on the hour.

A foul on Thomas eight minutes later gave Town a free kick in a promising position but they were unable to profit from it as Embleton failed to pick out a team-mate.

Davis became the seventh to go into the referee’s notebook for a foul midway inside his own half on 72 minutes.  From the free kick, the ball was played low to Rowe but he was blocked.

Vernam replaced Cardwell in Town’s first change but soon afterwards, they were reduced to 10 men when McKeown raced out of his box and brought Rowe down as he looked to get on the end of  long ball forward.  As last man, the keeper had to go and was duly shown the red card.

Whitmore was the unlucky man who had to give way to allow Russell to come on as a replacement goalkeeper but he was not called into action when the free kick was eventually taken as Akinde headed wide.

Rose was the fifth Town player to be shown a yellow card after a foul inside the Town half, before the last Grimsby substitution saw Ahkeem Rose come on for Ohman, who had impressed on his first start.

A foul on Akinde on 85 minutes was adjudged to be just outside the box and from the free kick, Eardley’s initial shot was blocked and his follow-up effort cleared the bar.

Matt Rhead replaced Akinde with a minute to go and after five minutes of added time, the referee’s full-time whistle brought the contest to an end and prolonged Town’s run of defeats to three in the league since the start of January.

The Mariners are next in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Forest Green Rovers.

Lincoln City

21 Grant Smith
23 Neal Eardley
14 Harry Toffolo
16 Michael Bostwick
24 Cian Bolger
8 Lee Frecklington (C)
26 Harry Anderson
4 Michael O’Connor
7 Tom Pett
17 Shay McCartan
29 John Akinde


1 Josh Vickers
20 James Brown
6 Scott Wharton
15 James Wilson
12 Ellis Chapman
19 Danny Rowe
9 Matt Rhead

Grimsby Town

1 James McKeown (C)
3 Sebastian Ring
5 Ludvig Öhman
27 Luke Hendrie
22 Elliot Embleton
7 Jake Hessenthaler
8 Mitch Rose
24 Harry Davis
25 Alex Whitmore
39 Wes Thomas
17 Harry Cardwell


23 Sam Russell
2 Reece Hall-Johnson
30 Ben Pringle
4 John Welsh
16 Martyn Woolford
21 Ahkeem Rose
18 Charles Vernam

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 9,650 (1552)


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