REPORT | Mariners defeated on New Year’s Day

Grimsby Town began the new year with a heavy home defeat as Walsall ran out 6-1 winners at Blundell Park.

The Mariners had been the better side for much of the first half and they looked to be in control after taking the lead through Danny Rose’s close-range strike.

But two goals in five minutes just before half-time from Douglas James-Taylor and Isaac Hutchinson turned the tide in favour of the visitors.

And Town were not given any opportunity to hit back after the break as Jack Earing made it 3-1 five minutes in, before Hutchinson grabbed his second goal of the game from the penalty spot, defender Priestly Farquharson added a fifth and substitute Danny Johnson completed the scoring in added time.

Kamil Conteh replaced Gavan Holohan in the only change to the Grimsby XI following the away victory over Salford City on Friday.

Harvey Cartwright started in goal, with Toby Mullarkey, Luke Waterfall, Niall Maher and Anthony Glennon making up the defence.  Conteh and Kieran Green sat behind Harry Clifton, Jamie Andrews and Abo Eisa in midfield, while Rose again led the line in attack.

The substitutes were Jake Eastwood, Harvey Rodgers, Charles Vernam, Otis Khan, Alex Hunt, Aaron Braithwaite and Cameron Gardner.

Walsall arrived on the east coast having won four of their previous five games in all competitions, the last of which was a 3-1 home success against Wrexham on Friday.  That result left them 13th in the Sky Bet League Two table, six points ahead of the Mariners in 19th.

Town started on the front foot and a foul on Andrews gave them a free kick midway inside the Walsall half on three minutes.  Glennon’s delivery was flicked towards the far post but the referee spotted an infringement and blew for a free kick to the visitors.

A deep cross from Liam Gordon on the away left was touched back to Cartwright by Maher, then Draper was caught offside as he looked to get on the end of a long ball from defender Donervon Daniels.

Tom Knowles saw a shot blocked after cutting inside from the right, before a Glennon free kick was headed out for the game’s first corner.  Glennon’s delivery from the right was not dealt with by the Walsall defence and it turned into a second corner, this time on the left.  The ball from the flag was headed over the bar by Waterfall.

Maher did well to stop Walsall’s leading scorer Freddie Draper on the edge of the Town penalty area, before persistence from Clifton saw him win a free kick on the right, which was cleared for a throw-in.

A strike by Hutchinson was blocked in the visitors’ next attack and Cartwright made a good save from the follow-up to get the ball away at his near post for a corner.

Town created a good chance moments later when Andrews threaded the ball through for Eisa inside the box but after getting it under control, his shot was well-blocked by goalkeeper Jackson Smith.

An Eisa drive from distance was deflected behind for a corner but as Glennon’s delivery from the left was headed clear by David Okagbue, the referee blew for a Walsall free kick.

Rose chased down a loose back-pass on 26 minutes but the angle was too narrow for a shot and after he pulled the ball back for Andrews, the Walsall defence recovered.

The Mariners had been on top for much of the game so far though and they broke the deadlock just before the half-hour.  Mullarkey passed to Green on the right and his low ball across the six-yard line found ROSE, who slotted past Smith for his 11th goal of the season.

The away side were forced into making the game’s first substitution soon afterwards after Draper stayed down following a challenge.  He was replaced by Johnson.

A Knowles free kick was headed clear by Maher as Walsall looked to respond to going a goal down, before a long throw was dealt with and Knowles’ follow-up cross was comfortably caught by Cartwright.

Town looked in control at that point but he visitors got themselves back on level terms seven minutes before the break.  A ball down the left was flicked into the path of JAMES-TAYLOR and he beat Waterfall before cutting inside and sending a powerful strike past Cartwright into the far corner of the net.

And the Mariners were to fall behind on 43 minutes when Walsall completed the turnaround.  A cross from the right was not fully dealt with as Waterfall’s header fell for James-Taylor on the edge of the box and when he squared for HUTCHINSON, the midfielder arrowed a shot into the net.

Four added minutes were played at the end of the half and a Town free kick on the left gave them an opportunity to create danger, although Andrews was dispossessed when Glennon played the ball short to him.

Comley looked to have an opportunity to make it 3-1 soon afterwards but when he shaped to shoot from inside the box, a great challenge from Glennon ensured the Mariners’ deficit remained at one goal heading into the interval.




No further changes were made before the restart and Knowles did well to control a cross-field ball, turn and send a low shot just past Cartwright’s far post in an early warning sign for the Mariners.

And within five minutes of the start of the second half, Walsall stretched their lead as they grabbed a third goal.  Johnson played the ball through for EARING and he made no mistake as he fired past Cartwright.

Town saw a penalty appeal turned down when Andrews went down under a challenge inside the box and moments later, there was a penalty decision at the other end when Earing was brought down by Conteh.  This time, the referee did point to the spot and HUTCHINSON stepped up to make it 4-1.

Hunt replaced Conteh in Town’s first change before the penalty was taken and Walsall responded with a substitution of their own on the hour, with Taylor Allen coming on for Earing in midfield.

A Glennon corner was headed clear as the hosts looked for a lifeline, before a burst into the box from Hunt was well dealt with by Daniels as he saw the ball out for a goal kick.

The visitors continued to dominate though and they added a fifth goal with 65 minutes on the clock.  A corner from the right made its way through a crowd of players to FARQUHARSON and he poked it past Cartwright.

Braithwaite replaced Green in the Town midfield, before a Walsall corner resulted in a Town free kick.

Hunt created an opportunity to pull a goal back when he played the ball back from the by-line, although Rose was denied from close range.

Vernam made his return from injury when he replaced Eisa with 12 minutes to go and Khan came on in place of Andrews at the same time.

The fourth official signalled for at least six added minutes to be played at the end of the game and James-Taylor was replaced by Ronan Maher in Walsall’s latest change.

The substitute’s first action was to win a corner on the away left but Allen’s delivery from the flag was headed wide by Farquharson.

There was, however, still time for Walsall to add to their score and cap their win with a sixth goal.  It came from a quick break down the right after a deep cross from Mullarkey at the other end and after the ball was played to Hutchinson, he crossed for JOHNSON to finish from close range.

That proved to be the final act of what had been a disappointing afternoon for the Mariners, who now have a break from action until Notts County visit Blundell Park on Saturday, January 13.



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