REPORT | Second half comeback sees Town defeated

Grimsby Town were beaten by a second-half comeback as Notts County earned all three points at Meadow Lane.

The Mariners twice led the game after Danny Rose opened the scoring and Harry Clifton struck in first-half stoppage time following John Bostock’s equaliser.

But the hosts levelled the scores again through Jodi Jones five minutes after the restart and he turned provider just after the hour, picking out Dan Crowley to head home what proved to be the winner.

Town pushed forward as the clock ticked down in a a bid to rescue a point but it was not to be for Paul Hurst’s side as Notts held on to claim victory in their first home game back in Sky Bet League Two.

Four changes were made to the Grimsby team after the Carabao Cup exit at Mansfield in midweek, with Jake Eastwood, Clifton, Kamil Conteh and Alex Hunt all coming back into the XI in place of Harvey Cartwright, Arthur Gnahoua, Gavan Holohan and Kieran Green.

Eastwood started in goal behind a defence of Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers, Luke Waterfall and Anthony Glennon, with Clifton, Conteh, Hunt and Charles Vernam in midfield as Abo Eisa supported Rose in attack.

Cartwright, Gnahoua, Holohan and Green were all named on the bench, along with Michee Efete, Rekeil Pyke and Evan Khouri.

Notts were looking for a first win since their promotion from the National League last term, with Luke Williams’ men beaten by Sutton United in their league opener and Lincoln City in the cup.

Williams would look to the likes of last season’s top scorer Macaulay Langstaff and marquee summer signing David McGoldrick to help fire his side to victory.

Town made a purposeful start, with Clifton winning the first corner within seconds of kick-off.  Hunt’s ball from the flag was sent wide by Rose.

Vernam was spoken to by the referee after catching Jones with a late challenge, before Eastwood had to be alert to gather the ball when a Jones volley across goal was sliced by Glennon as the home side attacked for the first time.

Aaron Nemane beat Clifton down the Notts right to win their first corner, then Matt Palmer was shown the first yellow card for kicking the ball away after a free kick was given for a foul on Rose.

Town immediately turned the free kick into a corner on the right but Glennon’s ball from the flag was headed away and a handball decision was given in favour of the hosts.

A cross from Nemane was headed behind for a corner at the other end on 14 minutes and it quickly turned into another but Notts were unable to capitalise.

The opening goal came on 18 minutes and it was the Mariners who grabbed the lead.  ROSE took advantage of a loose pass to run onto the ball near the edge of the box and he cut inside before steering a low strike past keeper Aidan Stone at his near post.

Town had another opportunity to get the ball into the danger zone after Rose was fouled on the right and the free kick turned into a corner on the left.  Hunt’s delivery was headed back across goal by Rodgers but nobody could get on the end of the loose ball.

Glennon was booked after he was adjudged to have brought Nemane down to the right of the Town penalty area soon afterwards, although the resulting free kick caused no problems.

Rose followed the left-back into the referee’s notebook for a foul on 25 minutes, before Mullarkey and Clifton combined to deal with a Nemane cross from the right.

Town made the first substitution of the game on 31 minutes, with Efete replacing Glennon at left-back.

Clifton was the next to see the yellow card after a late challenge on 34 minutes, although the free kick came to nothing as McGoldrick fired well over the bar from distance.

The game had settled down after the half-hour but the hosts came to life as they found an equaliser six minutes before the break.  Eastwood saved from Langstaff’s close-range effort but the ball was recycled back into the box and BOSTOCK’s powerful shot hit the back of the net.

Jones hit a shot straight at Eastwood from the left as Notts looked to complete the turnaround before half-time and they went even closer when a low Jones cross took a big deflection off Rodgers into the path of Langstaff but he could only lift the ball over the bar.

The fourth official signalled for at least six added minutes to be played at the end of the first half and Nemane was booked for delaying the taking of a throw-in.

McGoldrick won a corner on the home left and it led to another one, then a third when a cross from Crowley was headed behind by Mullarkey.  This time, Palmer let fly from distance but his attempt was pushed away by Eastwood.

There was still time for Notts to create another chance before the break, with Eastwood getting down to stop Bostock’s shot.

But when the third goal of the afternoon arrived in the eighth added minute, it was Town who reclaimed the advantage against the run of play.  A brilliant scooped ball over the top by Mullarkey fell into the path of CLIFTON and he did the rest, confidently slotting past Stone to make it 2-1.

Incredibly, time still remained for another chance as McGoldrick looked to work an opening inside the box but some resolute defending by the Mariners ensured they retained the lead at the interval.


No further changes were made before the restart and Town were on the attack straight away, eventually winning a corner after a low ball flashed across goal.

But the hosts were level within five minutes, as McGoldrick found JONES on the left and his cross took a big deflection and looped over the unfortunate Eastwood.

Eisa sent a low shot wide as the Mariners looked to respond again at the other end but the momentum was suddenly with the hosts and McGoldrick had an opportunity to put them ahead but scooped his shot over the bar from 12 yards.

Rose fired just past the far post as the game moved from end to end, then Conteh showed great vision to pick Clifton out on the right and his shot was pushed behind for a corner, which went straight out at the far post.

Eastwood did well to tip a Nemane cross away from the path of Langstaff as the hosts continued to hunt for a third goal.

But Town were unable to hold out for much longer, as a pinpoint cross from Jones on the left picked out CROWLEY, who sent a diving header past the keeper and into the net at the far post for 3-2.

Conteh was booked after Bostock did well to draw a foul in the centre circle, and after winning another free kick to get his side out of danger, Bostock was replaced by Jim O’Brien in Notts’ first substitution.

Pyke was sent on in place of Vernam as Town made their second change on 71 minutes, then Sam Austin replaced McGoldrick for the hosts.

Town were given a corner after a defensive mix-up when there appeared to be little danger but Waterfall’s header from Hunt’s delivery was blocked and cleared.

Rose narrowly falied to connect with a Clifton cross from the left as Town pushed for an equaliser with 10 minutes to go.

Another batch of substitutions followed, with Crowley, Connell Robinson and Jones replaced by Cedwyn Scott, Adam Chicksen and Tobi Tobi Adebayo for the hosts.

Langstaff had an opening through the middle soon afterwards but some excellent defending stopped his progress near the edge of the box.

Holohan and Gnahoua came on for Hunt and Eisa with five minutes left and a Pyke header was saved by Stone as Town went forward again.

Mullarkey lifted a shot over the bar when the ball was cut back to him following a good run by Conteh, with the visitors still looking for a leveller as the game moved into a minimum of seven added minutes.

Town had a chance to get the ball into the box with a free kick inside the Notts half but after Conteh’s chip was headed on, the ball ended up with keeper Stone.

And that proved to be their final opportunity to get anything from the game as the home side held on to claim all three points.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they host Salford City at Blundell Park.



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