REPORT | Town suffer defeat at home to Harrogate

Grimsby Town’s six-game unbeaten run in Sky Bet League Two came to an end as Harrogate Town took all three points away from Blundell Park.

The Mariners started brightly in blustery conditions as they aimed to begin the busy Christmas programme with a win but their visitors started to get on top as the first half went on and they took the lead four minutes before the break when former Town loanee Liam Gibson opened the scoring.

The hosts looked to hit back after half-time but their task was made tougher when Matty Daley made it 2-0 with 18 minutes to go.

Substitute Kieran Green gave Town hope when he halved the deficit as the game moved into stoppage time but Harrogate held on to seal their victory.

Head coach David Artell named the same Grimsby starting XI for the third game in a row, with Harvey Cartwright in goal behind a defence of Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers, Niall Maher and Anthony Glennon. Kamil Conteh and Alex Hunt sat behind Arthur Gnahoua, Harry Clifton and Abo Eisa in midfield, with Danny Rose leading the attack.

The substitutes were Jake Eastwood, Luke Waterfall, Michee Efete, Green, Gavan Holohan, Jamie Andrews and Rekeil Pyke.

Harrogate began the day two places and three points ahead of the Mariners in the league table, with manager Simon Weaver looking to the likes of attackers Jack Muldoon and Abraham Odoh to help ensure they would stay ahead of today’s opponents with a positive result.

Town won the first corner of the game after a brilliant move which started with patient play from the back and ended with a low cross from Glennon on the left.

The ball from the flag was cleared but the hosts continued to keep possession well in the early stages and a second corner followed on four minutes, which was put behind at the near post for another one. This time, Glennon’s delivery was headed away by Kane Ramsey.

A shot from George Thompson was blocked as Harrogate attacked for the first time, before Rose did well to win the ball on the right and send a cross towards Clifton, although defender Warren Burrell got to it first to head clear.

The visitors won their first corner on 10 minutes but the delivery from it was comfortably claimed by Cartwright, then a great pass by Gnahoua found Eisa in space on the left. He pulled the ball back across the six-yard line but goalkeeper James Belshaw beat Rose to it.

Rose curled a low effort wide from the edge of the penalty area after another nice build-up, before Clifton won a corner on the right as Town continued to dominate, although Hunt was dispossessed after it was played short by Glennon.

A foul on Eisa gave the home side a free kick on the edge of the centre circle and a shot by Eisa was blocked after the delivery into the box was not fully dealt with. Town kept possession after the ball was eventually scrambled away from danger and a corner soon afterwards was volleyed clear.

Cartwright made an excellent double-save from Odoh just before the half-hour when the striker let fly from the edge of the box and then followed up to try again from the rebound, then Thomson volleyed wide at the far post from a Matty Foulds free kick as the visitors threatened again.

Glennon slid in to stop Thomson from having a tap-in soon afterwards, before Muldoon was caught offside as the visitors attacked again.

After Town controlled the opening stages of the game, Harrogate had started to get on top as half-time loomed, with the visitors now pressing higher up the pitch.

Odoh found Thomson with a chipped ball into the box but after working an opening, his shot was pushed away by Cartwright for a corner. From the flag-kick, the deadlock was broken as GIBSON got to the ball at the near post and sent it beyond Cartwright.

Town aimed to respond before the interval but a low ball across the six-yard line by Eisa was cleared and after a minute of additional time, the visitors went into the dressing rooms with their lead intact and the Mariners were left with plenty of work still to do.


No changes were made by either side before the restart and there was almost a chance for Town inside the opening minute but Rose was unable to direct Glennon’s driven cross towards goal.

Conteh got back to block a strike by Daley at the other end after he had linked up well with Odoh, although Thomson’s resulting corner was cleared.

A foul on Hunt gave Grimsby a platform to build from with a free kick on the right but Glennon’s delivery into the box was headed away.

Eisa saw a strike blocked for a corner after Clifton had burst through the middle, although Hunt’s low ball from the left flag was cleared.

Glennon had to slide in and concede a corner after a quickly-taken free kick looked to have produced an opening for Thomson. The ball from the flag was worked to Burrell but he could only fire wide of the near post under pressure.

Green and Holohan replaced Hunt and Conteh in a double-substitution for the Mariners three minutes before the hour in a bid to change the course of the game after Harrogate’s midfield pairing of Dean Cornelius and Stephen Dooley looked to be controlling the centre of the park.

A good block by Ramsey denied Eisa after Clifton had again found him on the left edge of the box, before Pyke replaced Gnahoua on the right with 67 minutes on the clock.

Holohan played a dangerous-looking ball into the penalty area soon afterwards but keeper Belshaw was first to it, then a break by the visitors left Thomson with a shooting chance, only for Maher to make a great challenge and ensure the only damage was a corner. It was headed wide at the far post by Muldoon.

Town were aiming to get back into the game but Harrogate had continued to look the more threatening of the two sides and they doubled their advantage with 18 minutes to go. DALEY twisted and turned to create an opening before letting fly with a shot from 20 yards which took a heavy deflection on its way past Cartwright.

Holohan sent a 25-yard drive over the bar as the hosts looked to hit back, before a Thomson corner at the other end was cleared by Rose at the far post after it had been flicked towards goal.

Town were coming forward in a bid to get back into the game but they almost fell further behind on 85 minutes when a quick break led to a chance for Ramsey, although his powerful strike crashed back off the crossbar.

Levi Sutton and Josh March replaced Cornelius and Muldoon in a double-substitution for Harrogate on 87 minutes, with Efete coming on in place of Mullarkey for the Mariners at the same time.

Eisa was crowded out after he was picked out by a low ball from Efete, before a fantastic block from Gibson kept Green out from close range, at the expense of a corner. Jeremy Sivi replaced Odoh for Harrogate before it was taken and after the ball from the flag was not fully dealt with, GREEN drilled a low strike into the far corner of the net to halve the deficit.

The goal came just after the fourth official signalled for a minimum of five additional minutes and Town poured forward as they aimed to complete an unlikely comeback.

A foul on Efete gave the Mariners a free kick on the right but after Glennon’s far-post delivery was headed back across goal, Belshaw came off his line to gratefully gather the ball and seal the victory for his side.

Town are next in action on Boxing Day, when they travel to Mansfield Town.



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