REPORT | Mariners point in Kent

Grimsby Town extended their unbeaten run to six games as they drew with Gillingham at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
The Mariners opened the scoring through Donovan Wilson on 13 minutes but the home side provided a swift response with George Lapslie’s equaliser.
Gillingham had the better chances during the second half, although they were unable to take any of their opportunities as Town held firm to secure another valuable away point.
Kieran Green and Wilson replaced Arthur Gnahoua and Abo Eisa as Grimsby head coach David Artell made two changes to his team following Tuesday’s home victory over MK Dons.
Harvey Cartwright started in goal, behind a back three of Toby Mullarkey, Doug Tharme and Harvey Rodgers.  Harry Clifton and Denver Hume were in the wing-back positions, with Gavan Holohan wearing the captain’s armband on his 100th appearance for the club as he lined up alongside Curtis Thompson and Green in midfield.  Wilson joined Justin Obikwu in attack.
Gnahoua and Eisa were both named on the bench, alongside Jake Eastwood, Liam Smith, Harry Wood, Rekeil Pyke and Jamie Andrews.
Gillingham started the day 10th in the Sky Bet League Two table, although they were level on points with the two clubs directly above them and just two points behind AFC Wimbledon in the final play-off position.
A chipped cross from Holohan was headed clear after a good move down the Town right as the visitors launched the first attack of the game, then Thompson was first to a Remeao Hutton long throw at the other end.
Lapslie diverted a Connor Mahoney cross-shot wide for a goal kick, before another centre from the right winger dropped beyond the far post.
Rodgers blocked a Hutton cross for the first corner of the game on 12 minutes but Mahoney’s flag-kick was caught by Cartwright.
Town broke the deadlock seconds later with a brilliantly-worked goal.  Cartwright started the attack and Green headed down for Holohan, who played a great ball through the middle for WILSON to run onto and slot past home goalkeeper Glenn Morris.
But the Mariners’ lead was to last less than two minutes, as Gillingham responded with an almost instant equaliser.  Timothee Dieng crossed from the left and LAPSLIE met the ball at the far post to turn it into the net on the volley.
Clifton was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon after bringing Mahoney down and Tharme followed him into the referee’s notebook on 22 minutes, also for a foul.
Rodgers had to get back and clear off the line after a Hutton cross from the right was headed past Cartwright by Jonny Williams, with the keeper claiming the ball after Dieng’s header from the resulting corner.
A push on Clifton by Max Clark gave Town a free kick on the right and when Holohan sent it towards the near post, Green’s flick came back off the bar but the referee had already spotted a foul and blown for a home free kick.
Clark tried his luck with a strike from 25 yards which Cartwright pushed away from danger, before a Clark cross was headed clear by Rodgers.
Thompson and Lapslie were both spoken to by the referee amid a midfield battle between the pair, with the hosts now looking the more dangerous of the two sides in attack as the half-hour mark passed.
A foul by Mullarkey gave Gillingham a free kick just inside the Town half but after it was played right to Hutton, his cross was comfortably caught by Cartwright.
Wilson was crowded out as he shaped to shoot on the edge of the penalty area on 38 minutes, before a Dieng cross was dealt with at the other end.
Morris made a great save to deny Obikwu after the striker got on the end of a header into the box by Tharme and flicked the ball towards goal.  The keeper tipped it away for a corner, which eventually led to Holohan sending a low shot wide.
Three added minutes were played at the end of the first half and with no further chances coming for either side, it remained all-square at the break.
Eisa and Gnahoua replaced Clifton and Obikwu before the restart as Town switched to a 4-1-4-1 formation, and an early cross from Hutton was headed away by Tharme.
Gillingham won a corner after a great challenge by Rodgers on striker Oli Hawkins but when Mahoney’s delivery from the flag went through to Hutton on the edge of the box, he could only fire high and wide.
Thompson brought Lapslie down in midfield two minutes before the hour but the hosts were unable to make the most of the free kick, before another free kick also failed to cause a significant problem as Hutton headed at Cartwright.
Wilson then lifted a first-time strike over the bar from 15 yards after a pull-back by Hume from the left as Town threatened for the first time since the interval.
Hawkins volleyed over the bar from close range after Lapslie pulled the ball back across goal in what was a good chance for the home side on 66 minutes, with Hume then booked for an offence in the build-up.
Another excellent opportunity came soon afterwards as Shadrach Ogie let fly with a powerful strike from distance.  Cartwright could only parry the ball into the path of Mahoney but his rebound hit the post from a narrow angle.
Holohan was caught offside after a ball from Eisa deflected across the penalty area into his path and it proved to be the midfielder’s last involvement as he was replaced by Andrews, with Green taking over as captain.
Eisa conceded a corner on 76 minutes when he mis-hit a clearance, although the delivery from the flag was well-claimed by Cartwright.
Ogie hit the bar from a narrow angle after a strong run down the home left which took him past Mullarkey and into the box.
Mahoney then beat Hume on the opposite side of the pitch but missed the target with a powerful strike.
Smith and Pyke replaced Mullarkey and Wilson as Town made a double-substitution with 10 minutes to go and the result still in the balance.
Gillingham’s Robbie McKenzie was booked for bringing Andrews down in the centre-circle, although Rodgers could only turn the ball from the free kick behind.
Lapslie was yellow-carded soon afterwards for a foul on Rodgers, before Ashley Nadesan, Scott Malone and Jayden Clarke replaced McKenzie, Williams and Max Clark as the home side made a triple-substitution in a bid to force a winning goal.
A Gnahoua header looped into the arms of keeper Morris after Pyke was first to an Andrews free kick, before a push by Rodgers on Hawkins on the edge of the Grimsby box was spotted by the referee.  Mahoney touched the free kick to Lapslie before curling a shot harmlessly over the bar.
The fourth official signalled for a minimum of five additional minutes and Town had a late corner when a shot by Pyke was blocked.  Andrews’ flag-kick was headed wide at the far post by Green.
Neither side could find a decisive goal in the remaining time before the final whistle, so both were left with a point apiece.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they host Wrexham at Blundell Park.

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