REPORT | Point on the road

Grimsby Town earned an away point after a much-improved performance against Morecambe at the Mazuma Stadium.

The Mariners made a fast start on the west coast and they were ahead within two minutes when Danny Rose opened the scoring.
Town were the better side for much of the first half but their hosts drew level seven minutes after the break when Jordan Slew struck from close range.
The goal swung the momentum Morecambe’s way and they put pressure on the away goal as they looked to complete the turnaround.
But Town held firm at the back and created chances of their own to win the game as the clock ticked down, although they were eventually forced to settle for a draw.
Four changes were made to the Grimsby team that began last week’s home loss to Doncaster Rovers.  Justin Obikwu made his first start for the club and Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers and Gavan Holohan all returned to the XI as Liam Smith, Niall Maher, Charles Vernam and Abo Eisa missed out.
Harvey Cartwright started in goal, with Mullarkey, Doug Tharme and Rodgers forming a centre-back trio as Harry Clifton and Denver Hume operated as wing-backs.  Holohan, Kieran Green and Jamie Andrews were the central midfielders and Obikwu joined Rose in attack.
Eisa was named on the bench, alongside Jake Eastwood, Rekeil Pyke, Harry Wood, Donovan Wilson, Aaron Braithwaite and Jamie Bramwell.
Morecambe started the day 11th in the Sky Bet League Two table, although they were just a point behind Harrogate Town, who occupied the final play-off position in seventh.
Shrimps manager Ged Brannan would be aiming for his side to bounce back from a midweek defeat at Walsall and secure a victory to add to their promotion hopes.
Town made the best possible start to the game as they took the lead with just over a minute on the clock.  Holohan played the ball to Clifton on the right side of the home penalty area and he looked up to find the unmarked ROSE, who slotted past goalkeeper Archie Mair.
Julian Larsson was caught offside as Morecambe looked for a response, before a good challenge from Hume stopped Gwion Edwards on the home right.
The hosts won the game’s first corner on eight minutes but it was dealt with by the Town defence, then a 25-yard effort from midfielder Yann Songo’o proved comfortable for Cartwright.
A foul by Tharme on Slew gave Morecambe a chance to start an attack from midway inside the Grimsby half but when the ball was eventually pulled back by Edwards, Cartwright gathered it at his near post.
Holohan saw a strike blocked from the edge of the box at the other end after a ball from Andrews was not cleared, before a Tharme long throw was headed away.
Andrews won a free kick inside the home half soon afterwards but Town were not able to make it count, although they retained possession until Rose fired just over the bar.
The Mariners were playing a more direct style of football in the early stages and with the 20-minute mark approaching, they were the team on top.
A Hume corner from the left was just too high for Tharme at the far post but again, the visitors retained possession until an offside decision against Rose.
Slew got in behind Green but saw his shot deflect off Rodgers and past the post for a corner, although the ball from the flag was dealt with and Town broke through Obikwu.
A corner came at the other end moments later after a low ball across the six-yard line from Clifton was cut out at the near post but Hume’s delivery was headed clear.
Rodgers flicked another Tharme long throw on at the near post but nobody in Town’s grey and blue was in place for a tap-in as the ball went all the way across goal and out for a goal kick.
Morecambe were yet to test Cartwright as the half-hour mark passed, although a low shot from Larsson was blocked at the edge of the box.
A break by the hosts was stopped by Holohan, before a cross from Edwards was not fully dealt with but when the ball was played back to Songo’o 20 yards out, he mis-hit his shot and it went out for a goal kick.
A good challenge by Mullarkey stopped Joe Adams as the midfielder aimed to go clear through the middle, then a powerful strike by Edwards from the right was pushed away from danger by Cartwright.
The home side were starting to look more dangerous as half-time loomed and a cross from Jacob Bedeau on their left was headed out for a corner, which was cleared by Rose.
A cross-shot from Andrews was blocked by Songo’o after a good ball from Hume to find the midfielder, then a foul by Obikwu gave Morecambe a chance to get the ball into the box at the other end.  Joel Senior’s delivery was caught by Cartwright.
Three added minutes were played at the end of the first half and Town saw the remaining time out to ensure they went into the dressing rooms at the break with the advantage.
Charlie Brown replaced Larsson for the hosts before the restart but Town had the first opportunity to create danger when Clifton won a free kick on the right.
Hume’s delivery was headed back to him and his return ball into the box was caught by Mair.
A foul on Obikwu by Edwards brought another free kick, this time on the left.  Green went down inside the box after Hume’s delivery was headed away but the referee waved play on.
The visitors had started the second half strongly but Morecambe grabbed an equaliser seven minutes in.
A Hume pull-back from the left was intercepted and the hosts broke through Songo’o.  Edwards then made progress down the right into the box and his low cross came off Cartwright into the path of SLEW, who scored from close range.
A long-range strike by Clifton was flicked towards goal by Rose as the Mariners looked to respond but the offside flag went up against the striker as Mair made a great reaction save.
Adams had a good chance to put Morecambe ahead when a low Senior cross from the right fell for him but his shot lacked power or direction and it was blocked by Clifton.
Hume then went close at the other end after good play by Obikwu and a clever flick by Holohan, although the left wing-back’s shot went over the bar from 15 yards.
Hume cleared at the other end after a low ball from Slew went all the way across goal, then the hosts won a corner as they aimed to complete the turnaround.  The ball from the flag fell for Edwards but his powerful shot was blocked by Clifton.
More corners followed as Morecambe kept the pressure up, until a long-range strike by Adams was blocked by Tharme.
Senior forced another corner on 65 minutes but Holohan was in place to head clear, then a strike from distance was straight at Cartwright.
Tharme did well to make a block from Senior after a quick break by the home side, before Brown missed the target with a shot from 20 yards.
Another Town penalty appeal was turned down after Rose went down under a challenge inside the box, then Jordy Hiwula replaced Songo’o in the home side’s second change.
A promising run from Obikwu was stopped by Farrend Rawson, before Cartwright got down to make a great save from Edwards, pushing the deflected 20-yard effort around his post for a corner.
Another home corner came on 77 minutes as the pressure continued but Brown’s delivery from the right was headed away at the near post by Andrews.
A shot from Obikwu at the other end was pushed away for a corner and it proved to be the striker’s last action as he was replaced by  Eisa.
 Pyke and Wood were also sent on at the same time, with Rodgers and Andrews making way in a triple-substitution for the away side.
Tharme cleared after a low ball into the box from Slew, then Nelson Khumbeni and Holohan were both booked after a foul by the Morecambe midfielder.
The home side had a golden opportunity to win the game with three minutes to go when a cross from the left beat Cartwright, hit the bar and bounced back into the path of Hiwula, although the substitute could only send the rebound wide from eight yards.
Slew dragged a shot wide soon afterwards, before Wood missed the target at the other end as the game moved into a minimum of five added minutes.
Town had another opportunity to win it when a quick break led to Eisa cutting inside from the left and sending the ball across the six-yard line, although Holohan could only lift it over the bar from close range.
The away side were finishing the game strongly and a foul on Wood gave them a free kick in a dangerous, central position.  Eisa stepped up to take it but his curling strike dropped just wide of the target.
That proved to be the last chance for either side to force a winning goal, although Town had ensured their efforts would be rewarded with a point.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they host Forest Green Rovers at Blundell Park.

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