REPORT | Grimsby Town 1-0 Newport County

Danny Rose’s first-half goal earned Grimsby Town a vital victory over Newport County at Blundell Park. 

The Mariners were on top throughout a scrappy contest played in difficult, windy conditions as they battled to all three points.

Town had the better of the chances after taking the lead but in the end, Rose’s goal proved enough and with results elsewhere going in their favour, the win edged them further away from the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone.

Four changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI following the draw with Bradford City on Easter Monday, with Jake Eastwood, Kieran Green, Charles Vernam and Donovan Wilson coming into the team as Harvey Cartwright, Jamie Andrews, Denver Hume and Justin Obikwu missed out.

Eastwood continued in goal after replacing the injured Cartwright during the game against the Bantams, while Toby Mullarkey, Doug Tharme and Harvey Rodgers formed an unchanged back three. Vernam came in at left wing-back in place of the suspended Hume, with Liam Smith operating on the right as Gavan Holohan, Curtis Thompson and Green made up the midfield.  Wilson was alongside Rose in attack.

Youth team goalkeeper Seb Auton was handed a place on the bench, where he was joined by Abo Eisa, Harry Clifton, Callum Ainley, Harry Wood, Andrews and Obikwu.

Newport made the long journey from south Wales in a mid-table position and looking to keep any faint play-off hopes going by picking up a win.  Manager Graham Coughlan named ex-Town midfielder Bryn Morris among his starting XI, with former Mariners fans’ favourite Omar Bogle on the bench.

Vernam sent a low effort just past the near post after cutting inside on a run from the left as Town were first to attack on three minutes.

A foul on Rose brought a free kick on the left, although Vernam’s delivery into the box was headed clear for a throw-in.

Newport’s Matt Baker was spoken to by the referee after a late challenge on Vernam, then a snap-shot by Green was held by away goalkeeper Nick Townsend.

Both sides had struggled to come to terms with the strong wind blowing around the ground in the early stages and a left-wing cross from Vernam sailed out for a goal kick on 12 minutes.
A Tharme long throw then led to a Town corner but Vernam’s delivery form the left was cleared after Tharme had won the initial header at the far post.

Vernam won another corner after a long kick from Eastwood dropped for him on the left and this time, the winger’s delivery was headed behind for another one by Offrande Zanzala.  Tharme got on the end of Vernam’s ball from the right but he could not direct his header towards goal.

Newport’s first chance at the other end fell for Adam Lewis on 17 minutes but Eastwood was equal to the left wing-back’s low shot.

Another Tharme long throw was cleared, before Rose did well to win a corner on the left but Vernam’s delivery was punched clear by Townsend.

Town’s corner count continued to rise as Wilson won the latest one on the right on 22 minutes.  Vernam’s flag-kick found Tharme, who headed over the bar.

The long throw of Tharme was proving a useful attacking weapon in the windy conditions and it was used again when the centre-back found Mullarkey inside the box, although he was unable to test Townsend.

Another throw from Tharme was headed away, before the visitors created a great chance when Lewis crossed for the unmarked Zanzala at the far post but he could not turn his header past Eastwood.

Vernam beat Baker on the Grimsby left on the half-hour and cut into the penalty area but when he pulled the ball back across the six-yard line, it bounced off defender Kyle Jameson into the arms of Townsend.

Rose drew a foul midway inside the Newport half as Town kept searching for a way to break the deadlock, although Vernam’s free kick failed to beat the away wall.

The Mariners did not have to wait much longer to take the lead though, as a long ball from Thompson on the halfway line was headed on and ROSE nipped in to get to it first and slot past the onrushing Townsend.

Green and Harry Charsley were both shown the yellow card after an altercation on the away right, before a powerful, 25-yard strike from Jameson was well-held by Eastwood.

Wilson was denied by Jameson after the striker capitalised on a mistake in the Newport defence to go clear through the middle, then a free kick from Lewis on the away left was headed clear by Mullarkey.

A Holohan cross was cleared, before a strike from Smith was beaten away by Townsend following a run from Holohan.

Town were looking or a second goal as half-time loomed and a Smith free kick from the right was eventually cleared.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the first half and Green did well to win a corner on the left but Townsend was first to Vernam’s far-post delivery to push the ball clear.

That proved to be the last action before the break, with the Mariners retaining the advantage going into the dressing rooms.


No changes were made before the restart and a foul on Holohan gave Town an early free kick on the halfway line.   Smith sent it to the edge of the box but Townsend came off his line to punch clear.

A Lewis free kick was headed away at the other end and the hosts broke, with Smith eventually getting back to stop Wilson on the right.  The resulting throw-in broke for Vernam, who fired over the bar from 25 yards.

Holohan saw a shot blocked by Jameson on 53 minutes, before Luke Jephcott was booked for a foul on Tharme which gave Town another free kick, this time to the right of the Newport penalty area.  Vernam’s delivery to the far post was headed clear by Jameson.

Bogle replaced Zanzala and Seb Palmer-Houlden came on for Jephcott as the away side made a double-substitution on 55 minutes in a bid to get themselves into the game.

Good battling by Thompson saw him get the better of Bogle near the corner flag on the Newport left, before a low ball across the six-yard line proved just too far ahead of the former Town striker.

Vernam met a cross from Thompson at the far post but was unable to turn it back to a team-mate, before Townsend made a good reflex save to deny Wilson when the ball ricocheted to the striker inside the box.

A foul by Mullarkey on Palmer-Houlden gave Newport a free kick in a dangerous position on 68 minutes, although Morris could only fire over the bar from it.

Townsend made another save from Wilson and the striker had a third good chance in quick succession when he beat Jameson to get on the end of a ball over the top, only to be denied again by a good block.

Obikwu replaced Wilson and Clifton came on for Green as Town made a double-substitution with 19 minutes to go and the momentum still in their favour.

A Tharme long throw on 77 minutes was headed away and a foul by Clifton then relieved the pressure on the away defence.

Town were looking the more likely of the two sides to find the next goal but Newport had an opportunity to attack after a foul on Bogle.  Lewis found Scot Bennett from the free kick but the defender’s header was comfortably caught by Eastwood.

Another free kick from the Newport right was headed behind for a corner, which bounced around the penalty area until Tharme eventually cleared, with the referee then blowing for a Town free kick.

Obikwu won a free kick when he was brought down by Bennett in a promising position on he right, although the Mariners were unable to profit from Vernam’s set piece.

Matty Bondswell and Jack Norris came on for Lewis and Charsley as Newport made two further changes with three minutes remaining.

Andrews then replaced Vernam for the hosts as the game moved into four minutes of added time and Town saw the remaining time out to secure a priceless win.

The Mariners are next in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Harrogate Town.



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