Match Report | Wrexham 1 – 0 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town again found themselves on the wrong end of a narrow scoreline as they were beaten by Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground.

The Mariners started well in north Wales but after the hosts built up pressure, they broke the deadlock 10 minutes before the break when striker Ollie Palmer scored on his debut.

Town had some promising spells after the interval but despite creating some good openings, they were unable to find a way through, while Wrexham also missed chances to add to their lead.

And it meant another frustrating night for the visitors and their travelling fans as they were forced to return empty-handed.

Two changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Bromley, with Adam Crookes and Erico Sousa coming in for Danny Amos and Jordan Maguire-Drew.

Max Crocombe began in goal, with Andrew Smith, Shaun Pearson, Luke Waterfall and Crookes forming the defence as Pearson returned to his former club.  Ben Fox, Giles Coke and John McAtee were the midfielders, with Sousa, Ryan Taylor and Tristan Abrahams in attack.

New signing Arjan Raikhy was handed a place on the bench after joining on loan from Aston Villa on Monday, with Scott Burgess, Harry Clifton, Max Wright and Lenell John-Lewis joining him as substitutes.

Former Mariners loanee Palmer went straight into the Wrexham team a day after making a big-money move from AFC Wimbledon, while ex-Town defender Reece Hall-Johnson was also in the home side’s starting line-up.

An early McAtee cross was headed clear, before a run from Sousa ended when he was stopped after making his way into the penalty area.

Town won the game’s first corner after a shot by McAtee was pushed out by home keeper Rob Lainton and after the flag-kick was half-cleared, they retained possession until Pearson sent the ball over the bar.

A free kick came for a foul on Coke as the visitors continued their positive start to the match, although the ball was cleared following McAtee’s chip into the box.

Taylor was caught offside after Crocombe had found Sousa to launch a counter-attack when a Wrexham cross was caught by the keeper, then Abrahams let fly with a shot which was straight at Lainton.

Wrexham’s first opportunity of note saw Hall-Johnson find Liam McAlinden with a cross-field ball, although the left wing-back could only shoot at Crocombe.

Another chance for the hosts came soon afterwards as striker Paul Mullin tried his luck from distance but the ball went wide of the target.

A foul by Smith then led to a free kick inside the Town half on 22 minutes as the home side began to turn up the pressure.  The ball was cleared for a throw-in, which was launched into the box by Ben Tozer.  Town managed to get it away for another throw and this time, the ball was met by Aaron Hayden but he headed wide.

Another long-range effort was held by Crocombe, before a cross from McAlinden was blocked for a Wrexham corner on the half-hour.  The ball from the flag caused no problems, as the initial delivery was too long and the offside flag went up as Hayden hooked it back into the penalty area.

It was not long before the Wrexham pressure eventually told though, as a free kick from deep led to a shot from Mullin, which Crocombe did well to block. He was unable to deal with the rebound though, as PALMER sent the ball into the net to open the scoring.

Town immediately looked to hit back and after an effort by Fox was blocked, a free kick was sent into the box by McAtee but the ball was punched clear by Lainton.

The Mariners won a corner after a low ball across the penalty area by McAtee but they were unable to create a chance in front of goal from it.

Luke Young then volleyed over the bar at the other end after the ball broke for him following another Tozer long throw.

One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances for either side, the hosts retained their one-goal advantage at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and Town were straight on the attack through McAtee, who saw a shot blocked within seconds.

A free kick for a foul by Taylor eventually led to Crocombe making a good save from Mullin, as he pushed the ball away for a corner.  The ball to the near post from it was put behind for another corner, which led to Hall-Johnson firing over the bar.

A corner came at the other end on 54 minutes but after the ball from it was flicked on, Wrexham were able to clear and launch an attack which saw Hall-Johnson race away before shooting over the bar.

McAtee won another corner when his low cross was blocked on 58 minutes but the ball from the flag was headed clear.

Wrexham then had a period of pressure which saw a cross land on the roof of the net before Max Cleworth headed wide from another cross.

A shot by Sousa was blocked for a corner as Town kept looking for an equaliser and the delivery from the flag was met by Pearson.  His header was followed up by Waterfall but keeper Lainton kept the  ball out of the net.

Raikhy replaced Fox as the Mariners made the first substitution on 69 minutes and soon afterwards, an away counter-attack saw McAtee drive at the home defence before winning a free kick on the edge of the Wrexham box.  McAtee shot from it but sent the ball just past the post for a goal kick.

Tyler French was sent on in place of the injured James Jones for Wrexham, before McAtee won another corner after being found by a good ball from Smith.  After the flag-kick was not fully dealt with, McAtee sent the ball back into the box  but Abrahams could not get the vital touch to turn it into the net.

Burgess replaced Sousa in Town’s second change, then Kwame Thomas was introduced in place of goalscorer Palmer for the hosts with eight minutes left on the clock.

A good chance for Wrexham to wrap the points up came when a free kick was taken quickly by Mullin and with the Town defence not set, the ball was sent across by Jordan Davies for Cleworth but he could only turn it over the bar from close range.

Town won a corner with two minutes to go after a cross was cut out and before it was taken, John-Lewis replaced Coke.  The ball from the flag was headed clear and Wrexham broke, with Mullin missing the target.

The Mariners were given an additional five minutes to rescue something from the game as Wrexham looked to hold onto their advantage, with Jordan Ponticelli replacing Mullin in their final substitution.

Town kept attacking in search of a point but were unable to find a way through as Wrexham held firm to claim all three points and move further away from their visitors in the race for the National League play-offs.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they face Wealdstone at Blundell Park.

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