REPORT | Mariners defeat Lincoln in pre-season friendly

Grimsby Town picked up their first home victory of pre-season with a 2-0 success against League One Lincoln City.

The Mariners produced an impressive display to beat their Lincolnshire rivals, with first-half goals from Alex Hunt and Danny Rose settling the contest at Blundell Park.

The visitors made eight changes on the hour and looked more dangerous for the final 30 minutes but Town defended well and goalkeeper Jake Eastwood made a string of fine saves to ensure a clean sheet.

Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers, Niall Maher and Anthony Glennon formed the Grimsby defence in front of Eastwood, while Hunt, Harry Clifton and Kamil Conteh were the midfielders and Abo Eisa and Charles Vernam lined up either side of captain Rose in attack.  Luke Waterfall, Danny Amos, Michee Efete, Kieran Green, Gavan Holohan, Evan Khouri, Donovan Wilson and Harvey Cartwright were all listed as substitutes.

Lincoln’s starting XI included three trialists who were looking to impress manager Mark Kennedy, with the Imps boss also naming a strong bench featuring some of the more established members of his squad.

The away side had the first opportunity of the game with a free kick 35 yards out, although Dylan Duffy could only float it straight into Eastwood’s arms.

At the other end, Mullarkey played a great ball down the right for Rose but the striker’s cut-back was intercepted before it could reach Vernam inside the penalty area.

Clifton won the first corner of the evening on 19 minutes and after Lincoln failed to fully clear it, the ball came to Glennon on the edge of the box but his shot was caught by keeper Jordan Wright.

Mullarkey headed behind for an away corner soon afterwards following a chipped cross from Oisin Gallagher but the danger from the flag was comfortably dealt with.

Town created the next opening when a corner from the left was worked back to Hunt and he played a low ball across the six-yard line, although nobody in black and white was in place to apply a finish.

But the next time the Mariners went forward, they took the lead as HUNT cut into the box from the left and beat Wright with a powerful drive from a narrow angle.

Eastwood was called into serious action for the first time on 33 minutes when he dived to tip a shot from Charlie Kendall away for a corner, which the visitors were unable to make count.

One of the Lincoln trialists saw a 20-yard strike bounce back off the bar as the away side kept looking for an equaliser.

But when the second goal came on 39 minutes, it was the Mariners who doubled their advantage.  Clifton took the ball forward before slotting a pass through to ROSE, who steered a low effort past Wright and into the far corner of the net from 12 yards.

Kendall had a chance to halve the deficit when he ran onto a through-ball from Gallagher but he was unable to take advantage as Eastwood came off his line to collect.

Town were looking good in attack and Clifton narrowly failed to connect with a Glennon cross from the left, while the Mariners were also on top at the other end of the pitch as Eastwood kept out a late strike from Duffy to ensure the hosts went in 2-0 up at half-time.

Reeco Hackett-Fairchild replaced Kendall for Lincoln in the only substitution before the restart but the Mariners had the first good chance when Vernam nipped in to take advantage of a short back-pass.  He rounded Wright but could not hit the target with his shot, which flew over the bar at the Pontoon Stand end.

Town continued to push for more goals and they won a corner on the right on 54 minutes but Glennon’s ball from the flag was caught by the keeper.

Alistair Smith flashed a first-time shot wide from 25 yards at the other end, before Eastwood made a great save to tip an effort from a trialist over the bar for a corner on the Lincoln right.

Efete replaced Mullarkey for Town on the hour and the visitors made eight changes at the same time.

A 20-yard shot from Hackett-Fairchild took a deflection for a corner but Maher headed clear from the flag-kick, then striker Ben House was caught offside as the new-look away side went forward again.

Another corner from the Lincoln left was punched clear by Eastwood as a spell of Imps pressure came to an end, before a Town corner at the other end was volleyed clear at the far post.

Danny Mandriou fired harmlessly wide from the edge of the box, then Eastwood was quick off his line to deny Jaden Brown after the ball had been pulled back for him, with the away side looking for a way back into the contest as the clock ticked towards the 80-minute mark.

But although Lincoln hit the post in the last minute from what was their final opportunity of the game, that goal was not to come for them and as the ball bounced away from danger, the referee blew to end an encouraging evening for the Mariners and hand their visitors a first defeat of their pre-season campaign so far.

Town’s build-up to the new season continues as they head to Boston United on Wednesday evening, before they travel to Fleetwood Town for their final friendly on Saturday.



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