REPORT | Late Crawley goal sinks Mariners

Grimsby Town suffered a last-minute defeat as Crawley Town came from two goals down to earn all three points at Blundell Park.

Four goals came in a frantic 11-minute spell either side of the half-hour, with Gavan Holohan and Abo Eisa giving the Mariners a commanding advantage only for it to be quickly cancelled out by Liam Kelly and Ronan Darcy.

Both teams pushed forward after half-time in a bid to win the game but in the end, it was former Town striker Danilo Orsi who had the final say as his close-range strike in stoppage time settled the contest in Crawley’s favour.

Four changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI following last week’s defeat at Wrexham, with Michee Efete, Anthony Glennon, Otis Khan and Eisa coming in for Luke Waterfall, Niall Maher, Danny Amos and Arthur Gnahoua.

Goalkeeper Jake Eastwood was protected by a defence of Efete, Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers and Anthony Glennon, while Kamil Conteh sat behind Khan, Holohan, Harry Clifton and Eisa in midfield as Rekeil Pyke led the attack.

Waterfall, Gnahoua and Amos were all named on the bench, alongside Harvey Cartwright, Callum Ainley, Jamie Andrews and Donovan Wilson.

Crawley began the game sixth in the Sky Bet League Two table but only four points ahead of the Mariners, who sat 15th at kick-off.

Manager Scott Lindsey’s line-up included a familiar face in the shape of Orsi, who made the move south from North East Lincolnshire in the summer.

An early strike by Holohan was blocked as the hosts were first to attack, then the midfielder was given another opportunity after goalkeeper Corey Addai could only parry a Glennon cross from the left. This time, his low effort was stopped.

More uncertain goalkeeping by Addai led to a chance for Eisa after a mis-hit clearance went straight to Clifton, although the winger was unable to profit from the edge of the penalty area.

At the other end, a 25-yard strike by Nick Tsaroulla was deflected wide for the game’s first corner on five minutes.  Will Wright’s delivery from the right picked Jay Williams out on the edge of the box but he sent a chip tamely wide.

Town had another great chance when a short backpass went into the path of Pyke but after controlling the ball, the striker could not beat Addai, who came off his line to make a block.  The hosts kept possession and the ball was played back into the box, where Eisa narrowly missed the target at the near post.

Laurence Maguire was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon on 17 minutes for a foul on Khan on the home right.  Glennon’s free kick was won in the air by defender Wright, before Pyke sent an overhead kick wide.

Pyke was caught offside from a ball into the box after more casual play by keeper Addai saw him give the ball away.

The visitors then had an opportunity to put pressure on the Town goal after a push by Conteh on Orsi.  Kelly’s free kick was headed away as far as Darcy, who volleyed over the Pontoon Stand from 25 yards.

The game was moving from end to end and Holohan won a corner after linking up with Eisa down the home left.  From it, they took the lead as after Glennon played the ball short to Eisa from the flag, his cross-shot beat Addai but bounced back off the far post and HOLOHAN reacted first to score from close range.

A foul on Eisa brought another chance to attack and after the free kick was played short to the winger, his ball into the box was headed wide by Efete.

It did not take the Mariners much longer to double their advantage though and they made it 2-0 in style on the half-hour.  Holohan passed to EISA on the left and after cutting into the box, he rolled the ball past Addai and into the far corner of the net.

But within two minutes, the visitors were back in the game as they halved their deficit.  KELLY got the ball wide on the left and chipped it over Eastwood into the net.

And with 35 minutes on the clock, the comeback was complete as Kelly got to the byline on the left and clipped the ball to the far post for DARCY to volley back across goal and past Eastwood.

Conteh was booked for a foul on Orsi as the away side were now on top, having come from two goals down to seize the initiative with half-time looming.

Four added minutes were played and an Eisa cross was dealt with, before another one was headed clear by Wright as Town aimed to snatch their lead back before the interval.

Neither side was able to create another chance before the referee’s half-time whistle though, so a frantic opening period ended with the game level at 2-2.


No changes were made before the restart and after a quiet opening to the second half, the first goalmouth action saw a Holohan cross headed away, then nobody in black and white could get to Glennon’s return ball into the box from the left.

At the other end, a shot by Tsaroulla from 20 yards was deflected wide for a corner after good play by Orsi but the visitors were unable to make an impression from the flag-kick.

Town created a chance on 57 minutes when Clifton turned and set off on a run from near the halfway line.  The midfielder found Eisa on the left but his low cross was deflected behind for a corner by Addai, who got to the ball ahead of Pyke.

Gladwin fired over the bar from the edge of the box for Crawley, before Adam Campbell went on a run through the middle but fired just wide as the visitors continued to threaten.

A low cross from Khan was cleared, then Rodgers had to get back and beat Tsaroulla to the ball at the other end to ensure a mistake by Efete went unpunished.

Conteh was given a warning by the referee after a foul and soon afterwards, he was replaced by Andrews in the Town midfield.  Gnahoua also came on at the same time, with Khan making way.

Tsaroulla was given another opportunity to shoot when he was found in space from a throw-in on the Crawley left but his effort lacked power and was comfortable for Eastwood.

A push by Efete on Tsaroulla gave the away side a free kick on their left on 68 minutes and they tried to catch the Mariners out with a clever routine but this time, Kelly’s ball had too much power and it went through to the keeper.

Klaidi Lolos replaced Campbell for the visitors after Town won a corner on the right, although Glennon’s ball from the flag led to a free kick for a foul on keeper Addai.

Another corner followed as the Mariners looked to keep the pressure up.  This time, the ball from it was met by Efete but he was unable to direct his header towards goal.

A Glennon cross was claimed by Addai after a great cross-field ball from Holohan had found Eisa on the left.

Eisa just missed the target from the edge of the box as Town kept attacking, before Harry Forster replaced Darcy in Crawley’s latest change.

Forster’s first involvement saw him hit a shot which was deflected wide for a corner and it turned into another one when Efete was first to Wright’s delivery from the left.  This time, Town broke through Pyke and he ran deep into the Crawley half before finding Clifton, whose low effort was stopped by Addai.

Wilson came on for his competitive Town debut when he replaced Pyke on 80 minutes and at the same time, Holohan made way for Ainley.

Lolos went close to giving the visitors the lead when his low shot was deflected into the side-netting for a corner but again, they were unable to create a goalscoring opportunity from the flag-kick.

A strike by Andrews was blocked at the edge of the box after a low ball across the six-yard line was half-cleared as Town continued to look for a vital goal with three minutes to go.

Aaron Henry replaced Ben Gladwin in the Crawley midfield, before Efete did well to get to a Forster cross first and head clear.

Kelly curled a strike wide as the game moved into a minimum of six added minutes, with both sides still looking for a winning goal.

And when that goal finally arrived, it was the away side who grabbed it in the last of the added minutes.  Lolos beat Mullarkey on a run to the byline before looking up and playing the ball back to the edge of the box.  It was then chipped to the far post and headed on for ORSI to nip in ahead of Eastwood and force it into the net.

Town poured forward in search of a last-gasp equaliser to rescue something from the game but despite a goalmouth scramble, they were unable to find it as Crawley were left to celebrate earning all three points.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Swindon Town.



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