Match Report: Northampton Town 2-2 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town twice came from behind as they earned a deserved point against Northampton Town.

The Mariners made a slow start to the game and fell behind to an early goal scored by Andy Williams.

But they equalised through Charles Vernam  and after a superb save by James McKeown kept the scores level at the break, Town were the better team for much of the second half.

Northampton regained their advantage against the run of play when Kevin van Veen scored from a free kick but Town fought back again, with substitute Harry Cardwell making it 2-2 with 10 minutes to go.

The visitors were forced to play the last few minutes with 10 men after Danny Collins was shown a straight red card but they were able to hold on to ensure a good performance brought a reward.

Elliot Embleton came back into the Town starting XI after returning from international duty with England under-20s, as Cardwell dropped to the bench in what was the only change from last weeks victory over Crawley.

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

Ben Pringle, Harry Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Embleton were the midfielders, with Vernam alongside Wes Thomas in attack.

Cardwell was named among the substitutes, along with John Welsh, Mitch Rose, Martyn Woolford, Alex Whitmore, Ahkeem Rose and Jordan Cook.

Northampton came into the game sitting 14th in the League Two table, having won three and drawn one of their last four games.

They would look to the likes of Williams and van Veen to cause problems for the visitors.

Northampton made a quick start to the game, with van Veen getting in behind the Town defence before Fox recovered to ensure the only dmage was a corner, which led to an offside decision as the ball was crossed by Shaun McWilliams.

The hosts took an early lead from their second corner of the game, when the ball from the flag was kept alive by Sam Foley and WILLIAMS volleyed home at the far post.

The Mariners had struggled to find a way into the game in the opening 10 minutes and another home chance came when a cross from Sam Hoskins on the right fell for van Veen, although his shot was blocked for a corner.

Town posed a threat for the first time on 14 minutes, when a cross-shot by Pringle was blocked for a corner after a good flick-on by Thomas.  The ball from the flag was cleared.

A quick break from the home side came on 20 minutes and led to a corner after a shot by David Buchanan was deflected into the side-netting.

A great pass from Clifton in the centre circle on 25 minutes found Pringle and he crossed into the penalty area but the ball was headed clear by Aaron Pierre.

Soon afterwards, a home penalty shout was waved away when Ash Taylor went down under a challenge inside the box, with the referee taking no action as play continued.

Foley fired wide of the target on the half-hour as Northampton continued to dominate, before Vernam sent a left-footed effort wide at the other end after being found by a good cross-field pass from Pringle.

Another chance for Northampton to double their lead came when van Veen crossed but McKeown just got to the ball ahead of Buchanan.

And they were made to pay for that miss when the Mariners equalised against the run of play on 36 minutes.  The ball was played to VERNAM at the far post and he brought it down before finishing with his left foot.

Town were buoyed by the goal and they could have take the lead themselves soon afterwards when a close-range header by Hessenthaler was blocked on the line by Hoskins.

Good defending by Davis saw him head a cross clear, before a header from van Veen dropped over the bar.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and a magnificent save by McKeown from Williams’ header ensured the scores remained level at the interval.

No changes were made before the restart and a good ball into the box from Hendrie was headed across goal by Collins but it went out for a goal kick.

Foley shot straight at McKeown from 20 yards, before Town won a free kick in a dangerous position when Embleton was fouled just outside the Northampton penalty area.  The Sunderland loanee’s shot from it was blocked, a was Pringle’s follow-up cross.

Jordan Turnbull was replaced by Shay Facey as the home side made the first substitution of the game on 56 minutes.

Pringle’s cross was tipped over the bar by keeper David Cornell for a corner as the Mariners continued to cause problems.  It turned into another after Williams just beat Collins to Embleton’s cross but this time, the ball was cleared.

A cross from van Veen was claimed by McKeown as Williams looked to profit, and it proved to be the striker’s last chance to add to his opening goal as he was replaced by Daniel Powell.

The first Town change of the game then saw Cardwell introduced in place of Thomas.

A foul by Clifton gave Northampton a free kick in a dangerous position on 74 minutes and from it, they reclaimed their advantage as VAN VEEN stepped up and beat McKeown with a whipped shot which went over the wall and landed in the bottom corner of the net.

Town responded with another substitution, sending Ahkeem Rose on for Vernam.

A volley from Embleton was caught by keeper Cornell, before a free kick for a foul on Rose led to a second equaliser for the Mariners.  Pringle’s floated ball was headed down by Davis and CARDWELL was there to fire it into the net from close range.

Town would now push for a winner and they almost had it when Hessenthaler’s ball from the right found Rose but his header went over the bar.

But they were dealt a blow on 86 minutes when Collins was shown a straight red card after being adjudged to be the last man when he brought van Veen down in a central position.  Van Veen’s free kick went wide and Whitmore replaced Pringle in the final Town change.

A foul by Hendrie on Powell earned the defender a yellow card in the last minute of normal time but the resulting free kick caused no problems.

The fourth official signalled four added minutes to be played at the end of the game and the 10 men of the Mariners were able to hold on for a share of the spoils.

They are next in action on Tuesday, when Tranmere Rovers are the visitors to Blundell Park.

Northampton Town

1 David Cornell 
18 Jordan Turnbull 
16 Aaron Pierre 
6 Ash Taylor 
17 Shaun McWilliams F
3 David Buchanan (C) 
21 John-Joe O’Toole 
8 Sam Foley 
7 Sam Hoskins 
10 Kevin van Veen 
9 Andy Williams


34 Lewis Ward 
2 Shay Facey 
4 Hakeem Odoffin 
31 Jay Williams 
19 Jack Bridge 
11 Daniel Powell 
20 Billy Waters

Grimsby Town

1 James McKeown 
27 Luke Hendrie 
19 Andrew Fox 
24 Harry Davis 
6 Danny Collins (C) 
7 Jake Hessenthaler 
22 Elliot Embleton 
15 Harry Clifton 
30 Ben Pringle 
39 Wes Thomas 
18 Charles Vernam


25 Alex Whitmore 
11 Jordan Cook 
8 Mitch Rose 
4 John Welsh 
16 Martyn Woolford 
17 Harry Cardwell 
21 Ahkeem Rose

Attendance: 5,594 (698)

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Next Up: Tranmere Rovers (H)


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