REPORT | Accrington beat ten-man Mariners

Ten-man Grimsby Town fell to defeat as Accrington Stanley earned all three points at Blundell Park.

The Mariners created the better chances in a goalless first half but after Luke Waterfall was dismissed for a second bookable offence, the visitors took full advantage as substitute Shaun Whalley put them ahead with a strike from distance.

Town made changes in a bid to get back into the contest, with Rekeil Pyke and Donovan Wilson both coming off the bench, but they fell further behind when Josh Andrews’ header made it 2-0 and sealed the away side’s victory.

Grimsby boss Paul Hurst made two changes to the team which began the 2-2 Sky Bet League Two draw at Tranmere Rovers last week, with Danny Amos and Arthur Gnahoua coming in for Michee Efete and Wilson.

Jake Eastwood started in goal, with Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rogers, Waterfall and Amos forming the defence.  Kamil Conteh lined up behind Gnahoua, Harry Clifton, Jamie Andrews and Abo Eisa in midfield and Danny Rose led the attack.

Efete and Wilson were both named on the bench, alongside Harvey Cartwright, Anthony Glennon, Gavan Holohan, Pyke and Niall Maher.

Accrington travelled east with several first-team squad members missing due to injury, although manager John Coleman was able to include goalkeeper Jon McCracken after his emergency loan from Norwich City was extended by seven days.  Striker Andrews would be among the main threats, with the Birmingham City loanee aiming to add to his five goals so far this season.

A foul on Town’s Andrews gave them an early opportunity to put pressure on the Accrington goal and the midfielder’s free kick was met by Rodgers but his header flew over the bar.

A cross from Jack Nolan at the other end was dealt with, then defender Matt Lowe was tripped by Eisa on the halfway line but the resulting free kick was cleared.

Another Andrews free kick was punched away from danger by McCracken, before a brilliant sliding block by Jay Baghuelou denied Clifton when an attempted clearance fell for the midfielder inside the penalty area.

Neither goalkeeper had been seriously tested as the 15-minute mark passed, then Waterfall was shown the first yellow card of the game for a late challenge on midfielder Ben Woods.

Rodgers stayed down after a collision with Nolan but was passed fit to continue after receiving treatment.

A foul on Mullarkey gave the home side a free kick on the right soon afterwards but Andrews’ low delivery into the box was cleared by Tommy Leigh and Rose’s follow-up ball drifted away for a throw-in.

Accrington’s Andrews headed over the bar from six yards as the visitors threatened for the first time on 25 minutes, then another Town free kick was tipped away for a throw-in by McCracken at his far post.

A strike from distance by Mullarkey was blocked after Rose had linked up with Eisa on the left, then Gnahoua created an opening on the right but when he pulled the ball back across goal, Eisa could not get enough power on it to beat McCracken from close range.

Another opportunity came on 34 minutes after Amos found Mullarkey with a cross-field pass.  The right-back played it across the six-yard line but the ball was just to far ahead of the stretching Rose for him to make contact.

Clifton did well to win a corner on the Grimsby left three minutes later but Gnahoua’s ball from the flag was headed clear by Lowe.  The hosts retained possession and another corner followed moments later, which was headed away from danger by Leigh.

A foul by Conteh gave the away side a free kick on their right and after Nolan’s delivery was not dealt with, a shot by Joe Pritchard was blocked for a corner, which was headed clear by Waterfall.

Pritchard had another chance on 43 minutes when he met a cross from Lowe on the right but the Mariners escaped as the attacker was unable to direct his header towards goal.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and after a shot by Pritchard was deflected wide for a corner, the game remained goalless at the break.


No changes were made by either side before the restart and Accrington’s Andrews won the first corner of the second half four minutes in, although Pritchard’s delivery from the left hit the side-netting at the near post.

The offside flag went up against Rose when he met a Gnahoua cross with a diving header as Town attacked for the first time since the interval, before Leigh was booked for bringing Eisa down near the halfway line.

Nolan chased a long ball down on the away right but his cross was claimed by Eastwood, then a 20-yard volley from Dan Martin did not trouble the keeper.

Amos won a corner on the left after a run through the middle by Rodgers but Town were unable to make it count as nobody could force Gnahoua’s delivery towards goal.

McCracken came off his line to ensure he was first to a ball from Andrews and as the hour mark passed, Whalley replaced Leigh in the away side’s first substitution.

Eisa sent a close-range volley over the bar at the far post from a Mullarkey cross, then a foul by Conteh gave Accrington a free kick in a dangerous position on their left.  Pritchard’s ball to the far post was missed by Eastwood but the ball went out for a goal kick.

Nolan beat Mullarkey to create another opening on the left but Martin was unable to turn his cross towards goal.

A Pritchard effort from 20 yards was deflected wide for a corner as Accrington continued to attack, although Rose was first to the ball from the flag.  Town broke through Eisa but he was unfairly stopped just inside the away half by Pritchard, who was booked.

Holohan replaced Andrews in Town’s first change on 70 minutes but soon afterwards, they were reduced to 10 men when Waterfall brought Accrington’s Andrews down and was shown a second yellow card.

Maher replaced Gnahoua to ensure the Mariners were not left short at the back but soon afterwards, they fell behind when WHALLEY got the ball 30 yards out, worked an opening and rifled a superb strike past Eastwood to open the scoring for Accrington.

Clifton brought Rosaire Longelo down to concede another free kick on the away left, although Pritchard’s delivery from it was claimed by Eastwood.

Pritchard was inches away from doubling the visitors’ advantage with a great piece of invention as he looked up from 35 yards but saw his chip bounce off the top of the bar to safety.

Pyke and Wilson were sent on in place of Rose and Eisa for Town in a bid to get back into the contest with just over 10 minutes remaining.

But soon afterwards, their hopes of getting anything from the game took a major blow as Accrington made it 2-0.  A cross from the right found ANDREWS, who towered above Eastwood to head home from close range.

Joe Gubbins replaced Baghuelou for the visitors after the goal, before an Amos cross was headed behind for a Grimsby corner.  The pressure continued with a further two corners in quick succession but the third was cleared.

Kelvin Mellor replaced Lowe in Accrington’s third change with three minutes to go and the fourth official later signalled for a minimum of eight additional minutes, with Town still looking for an unlikely way back into the game.

A shot from Pyke was blocked, before the Mariners went close to reducing the deficit when a long-range strike by Amos was tipped over the bar for a corner.

Town were unable to take advantage from the flag-kick and it proved to be their last opportunity to reduce the deficit as Accrington sealed a clean sheet to go with their three points, earned by an excellent away performance.

The Mariners will now look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Stockport County on Saturday.



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