REPORT | Mariners unbeaten run comes to an end.

Grimsby Town’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end as they were beaten by promotion-chasing Wrexham at Blundell Park.

The Mariners worked hard throughout a contest played in difficult, blustery conditions but were unable to match the quality of the north Wales side.

Andy Cannon’s early goal opened the scoring for the visitors and he went on to add a second, then Paul Mullin’s volley three minutes before the break put them in control.

Substitute Arthur Gnahoua pulled a goal back for Town with nine minutes to go as they pushed forward in search of a way back into the contest, but they could not find a second to boost hopes of a late comeback.

Grimsby were unchanged following the draw at Gillingham last time out, with goalkeeper Harvey Cartwright 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, Curtis Thompson and Kieran Green in the centre of midfield.  Justin Obikwu and Donovan Wilson started in attack.

The home substitutes were Jake Eastwood, Liam Smith, Rekeil Pyke, Charles Vernam, Gnahoua, Harry Wood and Jamie Andrews.

Wrexham made the journey east looking to continue their push for back-to-back promotions, having won the National League last season.

Phil Parkinson’s men began the day third in the Sky Bet League Two table and had plenty of attacking threat among their starting XI, with Mullin, Elliott Lee and former Town loanee Ollie Palmer all looking to add to their goal tallies.

Defender Will Boyle was first to a flick from Wilson to get the ball clear ahead of Obikwu, then a long throw from Tharme was headed away by Eoghan O’Connell as the hosts made a promising start to the game.

But when the opening goal arrived on five minutes, it was the visitors who took the lead.  CANNON won a challenge with Holohan in midfield and took the ball forward before beating Cartwright with a low strike from 25 yards.

A Clifton cross was headed clear as the Mariners aimed to respond, before a Luke Bolton cross at the other end was caught by Cartwright after a neat move on the away right.

Cartwright came off his line to get to the ball ahead of Palmer and stop another Wrexham attack, then Mullarkey blocked a shot from Mullin at the edge of the penalty area.

Wilson saw a low effort blocked after a cross from Thompson on the right as Town started to come back into the game around the 20-minute mark, before goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo had to race off his line to beat Wilson to a ball through the middle.

A Tharme long throw was turned wide by Rodgers on 26 minutes, then a foul on Green gave the home side a free kick inside the Wrexham half.  Holohan’s chip into the box was too close to Okonkwo and the keeper claimed it at the second attempt.

Another Tharme throw was caught by Okonkwo after it had been headed on, before Palmer was crowded out by Green and Mullarkey as he aimed to break through the middle.

Midfielder Tom O’Connor lifted a shot over the bar from distance on 33 minutes,  then a low cross from Jacob Mendy on the away left was eventually dealt with as Thompson brought the ball clear and won a free kick.

A Holohan shot was blocked for a Town corner on 35 minutes but Hume’s delivery from the right was flicked clear by Palmer.  The visitors broke at pace through the quick feet of Mullin and after the ball was switched to O’Connor on the right, a delicate pass into the box found CANNON at the near post and his powerful strike across goal made it 2-0.

And as half-time loomed, the visitors extended their advantage further after a cross from the right was not dealt with.  A shot by Mendy was blocked but the ball rebounded into the path of MULLIN, who hit a superb volley on the turn to beat Cartwright from inside the box.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the first half and Wilson had an opportunity with a shot on the turn but it was stopped by Okonkwo.

That proved to be Town’s last opportunity to pull a goal back before half-time as they found themselves three down at the break.


No changes were made before the restart and an early attempt by Holohan sailed wide as the wind got stronger.

Wrexham’s first corner of the half came two minutes in and eventually led to O’Connell firing well over the bar from 25 yards.

Hume was shown the first yellow card of the game after bringing Bolton down on the away right.  Callum McFadzean replaced the injured Mendy before the free kick was taken, then the offside flag went up as the ball was met by O’Connell at the far post.

Palmer sent a low shot through to Cartwright from distance, then a foul on Wilson gave Town a free kick in a promising position but Hume’s delivery went out at the far post for a goal kick.

A Holohan corner from the Town left was flicked away from goal and a foul by Rodgers then allowed the visitors to get the ball clear with a free kick.

Gnahoua, Wood and Andrews replaced Hume, Holohan and Green as the hosts made a triple-substitution on the hour in a bid to get themselves back into the game.

Thompson won a free kick when he was pulled back by Mullin 30 yards from goal, although Andrews’ strike from it hit Palmer in the Wrexham wall.

Clifton got back well to deny Mullin after the striker got to the ball ahead of Cartwright, then Mullarkey was spoken to by the referee after a late challenge on McFadzean.

Luke Young came on for Cannon in Wrexham’s second change with 20 minutes to go and they won a corner two minutes later when a cross from the right was put behind by Mullarkey.  Lee’s delivery from the flag was caught by Cartwright.

Pyke replaced Wilson in the Town attack on 74 minutes, then an Andrews free kick was headed clear after a foul on Mullarkey.

A corner from the Wrexham right was headed wide by O’Connell, before Okonkwo had to push a looping ball to the far post from Wood away from danger.

No action was taken after Mullin went down under minimal contact from Tharme, then Town’s next attack saw them pull a goal back as Clifton played the ball to GNAHOUA and he cut inside from the right before drilling a low strike past Okonkwo.

Mullin headed over the bar after a corner from the right was controlled inside the box by O’Connell and a low cross from Clifton was cleared at the other end soon afterwards as the home side looked for a second goal to set up a grandstand finish.

Jack Marriott and Steven Fletcher replaced Mullin and Palmer as Wrexham boss Parkinson swapped his strikers with five minutes remaining.

Obikwu missed the target with a first-time shot after a Thompson cross broke for him at the far post as Town continued to push forward with the clock ticking into a minimum of five added minutes.

Max Cleworth was booked for a foul but the resulting free kick from Wood caused no problems as Okonkwo claimed the ball.

And that proved to be the final opportunity for either side as Wrexham closed the game out to collect all three points.

Town are next in action on Good Friday, when they make the long trip to Barrow.



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