Match report: Wealdstone 1-0 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town fell to their second defeat of the season as they were beaten by Wealdstone at Grosvenor Vale.

A single first-half goal, scored by Matt Buse, proved to be the difference between the two teams as the Mariners failed to score for the first time since the goalless draw at Stockport in August.

Town could have fallen behind earlier in the contest when they conceded a penalty but had goalkeeper James McKeown to thank after he saved Josh Umerah’s spot-kick.

The away side, backed by another excellent travelling support numbering 794, had plenty of the ball and went close to an equaliser when a Luke Waterfall header was cleared off the line, while a Ben Fox free kick went narrowly wide.

But ultimately, they were unable to cause enough significant problems for an energetic and well-organised Wealdstone side, who held on for the victory as results elsewhere meant Town’s lead at the top of the National League was cut to one point.

Two changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI after Saturday’s victory over Yeovil, with Giles Coke coming in for Alex Hunt and Erico Sousa replacing Harry Clifton.

McKeown began behind an unchanged defence of Ryan Sears, Waterfall, Ryley Towler and Adam Crookes, with Will Bapaga, Coke, Fox and Sousa across the midfield. Lenell John-Lewis again led the line in attack, with John McAtee just behind him.

Hunt was named on the bench, alongside Shaun Pearson, Seb Revan, Evan Khouri and Max Wright.

Wealdstone were looking to improve on a record which had seen them win just two of their 12 games so far this campaign but although they had only scored five goals at home coming into the game, they had conceded just six.

The hosts’ starting line-up included former Town striker Ira Jackson Jr, who made the move from Blundell Park earlier in the season.

The Mariners won the first corner of the game on three minutes and after McAtee played the ball short, the visitors kept possession until Sousa cut in from the right and hit a shot which was saved by keeper George Wickens.

A home free kick was comfortably dealt with, before Sousa fired over the bar at the other end as both sides looked for early openings.

Another Wealdstone free kick on eight minutes saw Ashley Charles find Jack Cook but he headed wide.

The home side were then given the opportunity to open the scoring when Waterfall was adjudged to have fouled Matt Buse inside the penalty area. The chance was not taken though, as Umerah’s spot-kick was stopped and held by McKeown.

A run by Sousa on 17 minutes led to McAtee turning and hitting a shot which was saved by Wickens, before a Wealdstone corner caused no problems.

John-Lewis was shown the first yellow card of the evening for a foul on Charles, then the Mariners had a spell where they started to enjoy more possession, albeit without causing serious problems for the home defence.

But the deadlock was broken just before the half-hour and it was Wealdstone who took the lead. A corner from Charles to the near post was played back and the ball broke for BUSE, who shot through a crowd of players to beat McKeown from the edge of the box.

The home side immediately attacked again and a cross-shot landed on the roof of the net, while Town were struggling to create chances in front of goal at the other end.

A free kick from midway inside the Grimsby half was headed out for a corner by Waterfall on 38 minutes but it came to nothing as Umerah fired off-target.

Better signs for the Mariners came with an attacking move on 41 minutes which led to McAtee playing the ball through for Bapaga, although the winger was stopped by a good challenge.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half, with McAtee limping after being caught in a challenge which went unpunished by the referee.

A ball into the box from Coke failed to find a team-mate in the closing seconds of the half and with no further chances at either end, Wealdstone’s one-goal lead remained intact at the break and Town were left with plenty still to do.

No changes were made before the restart and Town won an early corner, which led to a shot by Waterfall being blocked from the edge of the box after McAtee’s low ball.

Another Mariners corner beat everybody, before boss Paul Hurst was forced into a substitution as McAtee was unable to run off the effects of his earlier knock and was replaced by Wright.

A deflected shot from Umerah was well-watched by McKeown as the hosts came forward, then a cross at the other end was turned away from goal before it could reach John-Lewis.

Soon afterwards, the Mariners were almost level when a free kick was whipped into the penalty area by Fox but Waterfall’s flicked header was cleared off the line.

Jay Bird replaced Zach Dronfield for the home side just before the hour, before a long throw from Jack Cook led to a shot from Jackson, which was blocked.

A foul on Bapaga gave Town a free kick to the left of the Wealdstone penalty area on 63 minutes and from it, Fox went for goal but his effort just missed the target at the far post.

Jackson’s game came to an end two minutes later as he was replaced by Dennon Lewis, then Towler was booked for a foul.

Another home free kick came seconds later for a foul on Umerah but it caused no problems as the delivery beat everybody and went out for a goal kick.

Sousa then set off on a run and crossed towards John-Lewis but the ball was cleared before it could reach the striker, then another Mariners attack ended when a cross from Wright was caught by keeper Wickens.

Wright sent over another cross on 73 minutes after doing well to beat his man and work the space but this time, Sousa was unable to get to the ball at the far post.

A foul on Bapaga brought a yellow card for Charles and Fox’s ball from the free kick was cleared for a corner. Wright’s ball from it was headed back across goal and John-Lewis went down but the referee was not interested in the striker’s appeal for a penalty.

Umerah was replaced by Craig Fasanmade in Wealdstone’s final substitution with eight minutes to go, as Town continued to search for an equaliser.

The home side were now sitting deep and looking to soak up the pressure from the Mariners, with the clock ticking down.

Wright was caught offside as he looked to meet a good ball from Fox, before Hunt replaced Coke in a move which also saw Waterfall pushed further forward.

A quick break by the home side led to a chance for Fasanmade as he met a cross from Bird but luckily for Town, his header went just over the bar.

Four added minutes gave the visitors added hope of taking something from the game and they were given a final opportunity with a free kick but with McKeown up to join the attack, the ball was cleared.

Wickens was booked for time-wasting as the home side looked to run the clock down but in the end, it did not matter as the Mariners were unable to find a way through and were left to taste defeat.

They remain top of the league though and will now look ahead to Saturday’s home clash with Notts County.


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