REPORT | Town return to winning ways against Barrow

Danny Rose and Donovan Wilson were on target as Grimsby Town earned a much-needed victory over Barrow at Blundell Park.

Abo Eisa saw a first-half penalty saved but Rose put the Mariners ahead before the interval and Wilson came off the bench to score for the second game in a row and seemingly put the result beyond doubt with 15 minutes to go.

Barrow had posed problems throughout the contest and they made sure of a nervous ending for the home fans when Sam Foley halved the deficit but Town held on to claim the three points and end a run of three straight defeats.

Three changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI following the narrow loss at Swindon Town on Saturday, with Kamil Conteh returning from suspension as Otis Khan and Gavan Holohan also came back into the team, with Alex Hunt,  Arthur Gnahoua and Harry Clifton making way.

Jake Eastwood started in goal, with Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers, Luke Waterfall and Michee Efete forming an unchanged back four.  Conteh sat behind Khan, Holohan, Jamie Andrews and Eisa in midfield and Rose led the attack.

Gnahoua and Clifton were both named on the bench, where they were joined by Harvey Cartwright, Anthony Glennon, Rekeil Pyke, Wilson and Niall Maher.

Barrow’s team was unchanged following their 3-2 victory over Doncaster Rovers at the weekend, with Pete Wild’s side hoping to make progress into the Sky Bet League Two play-off zone with another win.

A low cross from the away right was intercepted by Rodgers in the opening minute, before a ball from the left was cleared by Waterfall as Barrow started on the front foot.

Town’s first attack of note came on six minutes and led to a good chance as Holohan took the ball down the right and crossed for Rose, although the striker’s header went away from goal.

Robbie Gotts won the game’s first corner for the visitors when his shot was deflected wide and it eventually led to another one on the left.  This time, the delivery was headed away by Rodgers and the referee blew for a Town free kick for a foul on Rose.

Eisa won a corner at the other end on 11 minutes after a clever flick by Rose.  Khan played the ball short to Eisa from the flag but his curling shot was comfortably caught by Barrow goalkeeper Paul Farman.

Dean Campbell had the next opportunity for the away side when he was given the time and space to run through the middle from halfway, although his strike from 20 yards flew over the bar.

Town were given a golden opportunity to take the lead on 17 minutes when Eisa ran at James Chester from the left and went down inside the box under contact from the defender.  The referee pointed to the penalty spot but Eisa was unable to take advantage as Farman got down to keep him out from 12 yards, before the rebound was scrambled away for a corner.

A low ball from the away left was eventually dealt with but Barrow continued to use that flank and soon afterwards, another cross was scooped over the bar by striker Dom Telford.

Waterfall had to make a good block from Gerard Garner, before a spell of Town possession settled the game down until an offside decision.

Conteh was shown the first yellow card of the evening just after the half-hour following a foul on Garner wide on the away left, although Barrow were unable to make the free kick count.

Kian Spence tried his luck with a strike from 25 yards soon afterwards which was comfortably caught by Eastwood, before a low effort from Eisa at the other end was claimed by Farman after good play by Andrews.

Barrow had looked the more comfortable of the two sides but when the opening goal arrived eight minutes before the break, it was the Mariners who got it.  Efete played the ball into the box from the left and ROSE beat the offside trap to nip in unchallenged and flick it past Farman.

The visitors’ response saw them win a free kick when Elliott Newby cut in from the left and was brought down.  Campbell’s chip to the near post was caught by Eastwood.

Eisa won a corner on 43 minutes after Holohan had battled to win the ball on the home left, although Andrews’ floated delivery from the flag was cleared.

Gotts flashed a shot just off-target from 20 yards as Barrow looked for an equaliser before the interval.

Three added minutes were played and a vital header off the line from Rodgers kept a cross-shot from Newby out and ensured the Mariners retained their advantage at half-time, after Chester was booked in the closing seconds.


No changes were made before the restart and Rose looked to have an early opening but the offside flag went up against him.

Rodgers cleared at the other end after a neat build-up by the away side led to an opening for Garner, before a high foot by Rodgers on Garner brought a free kick, which was headed clear.

Spence fired wide on 55 minutes as Eastwood remained largely untroubled, then Luca Stephenson, Emile Acquah and Sam Foley replaced Telford, Campbell and Gotts as Barrow made a triple-substitution three minutes later.

A Newby free kick was headed straight at the Town keeper by Chester,  before a well-worked move from a quickly-taken throw-in led to Eastwood diving to make a good save from Acquah.

Aquah had made an instant impact and he almost created an equaliser with a ball across the six-yard line, only for Eastwood to reach out and make a brilliant reaction save when it was diverted towards goal by Garner.

Efete had to make a sliding block to get the ball away for a corner as Barrow threatened again on 61 minutes and after Eastwood punched the flag-kick away from immediate danger, it was sent back into the box by Stephenson and George Ray headed wide.

Khan was replaced by Maher in Town’s first change and after a spell of Barrow pressure, the game had settled down again as the 70-minute mark passed.

Ben Whitfield was sent on in place of Tyrell Warren in the away side’s latest substitution, before Clifton and Wilson replaced Conteh and Eisa for the Mariners.

And just as he did at Swindon on Saturday, WILSON made an instant impact as he scored soon after joining the action.  The substitute showed his striker’s instinct to control a through-ball, take a touch and calmly slot past Farman.

But the visitors provided a reminder that the game was far from over as they replied with a goal of their own.  Garner’s defence-splitting pass went into the path of FOLEY and he kept his composure to beat the advancing Eastwood.

From looking comfortable at 2-0 up, all of a sudden there was a nervousness around the home sections of Blundell Park as Barrow sensed an unlikely point might still be possible.

Pyke came on for Rose with six minutes to go and a Holohan volley from 25 yards was caught by Farman as Town looked to restore their two-goal lead.

Barrow pushed forward as the game moved into a minimum of six added minutes and a looping header from Stephenson dropped agonisingly wide of Eastwood’s target.

Rory Feely, who had replaced Ray, sent a shot well over the bar from outside the box with three of the extra minutes left but the visitors kept coming forward and Eastwood had to make another stop from a driven, right-wing cross.

That proved to be their last opportunity though, as Town held firm to get back to winning ways and collect a vital three points.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Tranmere Rovers.



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