REPORT | Mariners victory at BP

Grimsby Town earned a vital three points as they battled to a home victory over Forest Green Rovers at Blundell Park.

Harvey Rodgers’ early goal gave the Mariners the advantage and a disciplined defensive display ensured they held on to it to move six points clear of the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone.

In wet conditions, Town had to soak up long spells of pressure but the away side rarely threatened an equaliser and the home fans were sent home happy with an important win after a gritty performance.

Two changes were made to the Grimsby team after last week’s draw at Morecambe, with Curtis Thompson and Donovan Wilson coming in for Kieran Green and Justin Obikwu.

Harvey Cartwright started in goal, with Toby Mullarkey, Doug Tharme and Rodgers forming a centre-back trio as Harry Clifton and Denver Hume again operated as wing-backs.  Gavan Holohan, Thompson and Jamie Andrews were the central midfielders and Wilson joined Danny Rose in attack.

Green was named among the substitutes, along with Jake Eastwood, Liam Smith, Abo Eisa, Rekeil Pyke, Arthur Gnahoua and Harry Wood.

Forest Green arrived in Cleethorpes looking to build on their midweek home draw with Wrexham, when only an added-time penalty stopped them from taking all three points.

That result left Steve Cotterill’s men three points adrift of the Mariners in the league table, with the Gloucestershire side occupying the second relegation zone place.

Town won the game’s first corner through Clifton on the right and it was headed behind for another one, this time on the left.  Hume’s delivery led to an infringement inside the penalty area and a Forest Green free kick.

Good pressure by Wilson brought a throw-in near the left corner flag and Tharme’s throw resulted in a corner, which was headed clear.

Town had started well and the pressure continued with another long throw from Tharme on seven minutes.  And this time, it led to the opening goal as the ball was not fully cleared and when it dropped for RODGERS on the edge of the box, he hit a half-volley which looped over goalkeeper Vincente Reyes and into the net.

Rose volleyed over the bar from a Hume ball into the box, before the away side’s first attack of note was stopped by a good challenge from Clifton on Jamie Robson.

Forest Green were coming into the game with some patient build-up play and a volley by Emmanuel Osadebe flew just wide of Cartwright’s target.

Town had another opportunity to get the ball into the danger zone when Thompson won a corner on the right but they were unable to make the most of it, then a foul by Clifton on Charlie McCann gave the away side a free kick at the other end, just to the left of the penalty area.  Dom Thompson sent it towards the far post but Tharme cleared.

A stoppage came for Cartwright to receive treatment after going down with an injury, although the keeper was passed fit to continue.

A push by Jordan Moore-Taylor on Rose gave the hosts a free kick midway inside the Forest Green half on 29 minutes and Andrews’ delivery to the far post was headed behind for a corner.  This time, Andrews’ ball from the flag went all the way out at the far post for a goal kick.

Rodgers fired over the bar from distance after a low cross from Hume was half-cleared, before Forest Green break led to a corner when a strike by Osadebe was blocked by Tharme.  The ball from the flag was headed clear by Rose.

Another Town corner came on 41 minutes and it was headed away by Richard Keogh as far as Clifton, who sent a low shot wide from 20 yards.

Tharme slid to clear a low cross from Forest Green’s Thompson for a throw-in as the visitors looked to get themselves level before half-time.

But after three added minutes were played at the end of the first half, the Mariners retained their narrow advantage going into the break.


No changes were made before the restart and an early cross from Thompson for the away side sliced off the boot of Tharme and flew away for a corner.  Town struggled to clear their lines from the flag-kick but a shot from McCann was blocked.

Christian Doidge won another corner soon afterwards but this time, Andrews headed clear.

The away pressure continued with a third corner, although the delivery from the right went out at the far post for a goal kick.

Town’s first attack of note in the second half saw a snap-shot from distance by Wilson but goalkeeper Reyes was not called into action as the low effort went wide.

Harvey Bunker curled a shot wide at the other end after a run by Kyle McAllister took him to the edge of the box, before great defending from Rodgers stopped another attack as he got to the ball ahead of McAllister and won a goal kick.

Town were content to let their opponents control possession as they sat back and defended their lead, with another away corner dealt with when the referee blew for a foul on Rose.

Despite having more of the ball though, the visitors were not threatening Cartwright’s goal and with 20 minutes to go, the Town keeper was still yet to have to make a save.

A right-wing cross from McAllister was eventually dealt with, then Tharme got his head to a ball into the box from the left and another cross proved just too high for Doidge.

Green replaced Thompson as Town made the first substitution on 75 minutes, before Moore-Taylor had to make a vital interception as Wilson aimed to pull the ball back for the unmarked Rose after getting clear on the left.  The resulting corner led to Green firing over the bar from 25 yards.

Hume had to concede a corner on 80 minutes and before it was taken, Tyrese Omotoye replaced Bunker.  The flag-kick was cleared but another one came soon afterwards on the away left, although it also failed to cause a problem for Cartwright.

Pyke replaced Wilson with six minutes to go and Marcel Lavinier came on for Bernard in the colours of Forest Green soon afterwards as both sides looked to their benches again.

A minimum of four added minutes was signalled and Green and McAllister were both booked after an altercation involving several players.

No further chances came before the final whistle, leaving the Mariners and their fans to celebrate a huge three points on home turf and a first victory of 2024
Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they travel to AFC Wimbledon.


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