REPORT | Another Eisa rocket as Town pick up point

Grimsby Town were forced to settle for just one point despite another Abo Eisa rocket against Walsall at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.

After his spectacular strike in the draw with Mansfield Town last time out, the winger  repeated the trick as he found the top corner of the net from 25 yards seven minutes into the second half.

Walsall had made a promising start to the contest but Town grew into it, established themselves as the better side and looked to be heading towards victory after taking the lead.

But the Mariners were unable to add a second goal and their efforts were rewarded only with a share of the spoils after midfielder Ryan Stirk levelled the scores with nine minutes remaining.

Two changes were made to the Grimsby team for the trip to the West Midlands, with Niall Maher and Charles Vernam coming in to replace Luke Waterfall and Arthur Gnahoua, who were both named on the bench.

Goalkeeper Jake Eastwood lined up behind a defence of Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers, Maher and Danny Amos, while Vernam, Harry Cliftton and Eisa were in front of Gavan Holohan and Kamil Conteh in midfield and Danny Rose again led the line in attack.

Waterfall and Gnahoua were joined as substitutes by Harvey Cartwright, Michee Efete, Rekeil Pyke, Alex Hunt and Evan Khouri.

Walsall were looking to bounce back from a midweek EFL Trophy defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion U21 and build on last week’s league draw away at Crewe Alexandra.

Head coach Mat Sadler would look to strikers Freddie Draper and Danny Johnson to provide the firepower, with former Town loanee striker Jamille Matt kept in reserve on the bench.

An early cross from Vernam on the right went through to home keeper Owen Evans, before Ross Tierney got on the end of a long ball forward and the midfielder’s header at first appeared to have wrong-footed Eastwood but he recovered to stop it.

Rodgers had to get back and clear a goalbound effort from Tierney for a corner on four minutes and the hosts won a second corner two minutes later as their strong start to the game continued.

A deflected effort by Isaac Hutchinson was cleared by Amos, before Rose was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon for a foul on Tom Knowles.

Tierney beat Eastwood to a chip into the box by Stirk but could only head wide, then Town’s first attack of note saw Holohan win a corner on the right.  Vernam’s delivery was cleared after Holohan had won the initial header.

A strike by Vernam was blocked after a good build-up as the visitors started to come into the game with 12 minutes on the clock, although Walsall were still looking the more dangerous of the two sides and Oisin McEntee was off-target with a header when a corner found its way through to him at the far post.

Knowles dragged a low shot wide of the near post from the edge of the penalty area, then Eisa was unable to get on the end of a cross from Holohan at the other end and Clifton was caught offside as he ran onto a ball from Amos.

A stoppage came on 24 minutes for Maher and Draper to receive treatment following a clash of heads and after play resumed and both rejoined the action, the Mariners were on the attack.  They won a corner through Mullarkey on the right but were unable to make it count.

Eisa cut inside from the left wing on 32 minutes in what was the away side’s most promising move so far but after the ball was worked to Holohan on the right, his low cross was cleared for a throw-in.

Another opening came through Vernam down the right on 37 minutes, although a vital interception stopped his low cross from reaching Eisa.

Rodgers was booked after he was adjudged to have brought Draper down near the left corner of the Town box but Knowles’ free kick was pushed away from goal by Eastwood.

Seconds later, Eastwood was in action again to tip another effort from Knowles away for a corner, which was cleared by Holohan after a flick by Donervon Daniels.

Walsall were putting a spell of pressure together as half-time loomed and Mullarkey had to make a good challenge to stop Tierney.

Four additional minutes were played at the end of the first half and a cross from Knowles on the home right was cleared by Rodgers.

Maher sliced the ball over his own bar for a corner from a Hutchinson cross after Amos had lost possession.  The delivery from the flag went low towards the near post and it was eventually cleared in what was the last action of the half.

Town had come into the contest after Walsall started the stronger of the two teams but the Mariners were yet to test Evans in the home goal and the game remaining goalless at the interval.


No changes were made before the restart and Daniels was just wide when he tried to catch Eastwood out with an ambitious attempt from the halfway line.

The keeper got a strong hand to the ball to push a powerful shot from Draper away as Walsall again put together a purposeful opening to the half, then Tierney fired wide when the corner fell for him.

Town’s first attack since the interval saw Eisa beat his man down the left but the winger sent a cross-shot out for a goal kick.

Holohan won a corner after a powerful run from Clifton and from the flag, the Mariners opened the scoring with a spectacular goal.  The ball was played short and worked to EISA, who took a touch to cut inside from the left before unleashing a rocket which scorched past Evans on its way into the top corner of the net in front of the 675 travelling fans.

Town were on the front foot after taking the lead and Eisa was brought down on the left as they looked to double their advantage.  And they were inches away from a second goal when the free kick was touched to Eisa but his curling shot hit the top of the bar.

At the other end, Eastwood made another great save as he pushed a powerful strike by Hutchinson away, then a volley from Eisa was blocked after he got on the end of a Vernam cross.

Walsall won a corner on the hour as they looked to respond to falling behind but Eastwood was first to the ball and punched it away from danger.

Rose went close soon afterwards when he met a cross from Mullarkey but his header was saved by Evans, then excellent pressure from the striker saw him force a mistake from the keeper to win a corner on the left.  Town kept possession from the flag-kick until a Clifton cross was cleared.

Clifton did well to create an opening on 70 minutes and it led to Conteh winning a corner when his shot was deflected behind.  Maher’s flicked header from it went wide.

Aramide Oteh replaced Johnson, who had endured a quiet afternoon, as the home side made the first substitution.  Joe Riley followed him onto the pitch in place of Knowles with 15 minutes to go.

Holohan was brought down by defender Chris Hussey to give Town a free kick after a flowing move, although Vernam’s chip into the box proved too far ahead of Rodgers.

Soon afterwards, the hosts drew level when Oteh found Tierney from the right and his strike came off Maher into the path of STIRK, who beat Eastwood from close range.

Town set off in a bid to regain the advantage and Vernam curled a shot off-target from the right after a Holohan cross had been headed behind for a corner.

Khouri replaced Vernam with three minutes to go and Clifton was booked soon afterwards for a push on Tierney.

Matt was introduced in place of Draper for the hosts and after the fourth official signalled a minimum of six additional minutes, they were reduced to 10 men when Hussey was sent off following a late challenge on Mullarkey.

Conteh drilled a shot just wide from 25 yards after Town worked a corner to the midfielder, with the away side still pushing for a winning goal.

Pyke replaced Holohan after Rose was brought down to give Town a free kick in a shooting position.  Eisa took it but sent the ball over the bar.

Evans became the latest to see the referee’s yellow card when he was deemed to be timewasting.

Neither side could force a winner in the remaining time and as a result, both were forced to settle for a point.

The Mariners are next in action on Tuesday, when they host Manchester City U21 in their opening EFL Trophy group match.



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