Town’s Women’s team fell to a 3-2 League Cup Quarter-Final defeat at the hands of Oughtibridge War Memorial Women on Sunday in their first fixture of 2023.
Manager Hayley Cox was forced into making changes with injuries totting up with Chloe Wilkinson, Eden Pedersen, Leah Wray and Katie Howlett taking to the field in a new-look back line.
The game started in less-than-ideal circumstances with a heavy pitch affecting the passing game we have become accustomed to from the Mariners this season. Oughtibridge showed their class early on, displaying why they play their football in the division above, controlling the play and making Town work for any opening they could and the home team deservedly took the lead after nine minutes.
A free kick into the Mariners’ box was not dealt with at the first time of asking which left a now unmarked striker able to stroke the ball home.
This goal seemed to wake the Mariners up and, in the 29th minute, some neat wing play saw Ellie Wilson brought down on the edge of the box.
Captain Kim Brown stepped up and curled the resulting free-kick ball into the top corner, an effort which two goalkeepers wouldn’t have been able to save.
Town quickly turned one goal into two shortly before the forty-minute mark. Following a Oughtibridge attack, the Mariners countered with a ball out to Beth Wharton who slid in the ever-lively Ellie Wilson.
One on one with the goalkeeper, Wilson composed herself and sat the opponent down before passing the ball into the empty net.
Before the break, however, Town saw the hosts draw level when a left foot volley from a blocked shot eighteen yards out flew past Bethany French in goal.
With all to play for in the second period, the Mariners and Oughtibridge came out for the second half with both trying to get on the front foot early with neither team managing to gain superiority. As the game wore on, however, Oughtibridge began to take control.
Inspired defending kept the hosts at bay but, with the game looking to be going into extra time, Grimsby hearts were broken with a late Oughtibridge goal.
Following the match, Manager Hayley Cox said: “We’re disappointed to come away with a narrow defeat today, which I feel does not give a true reflection of the game. The ladies’ work rate was outstanding for the ninety minutes and everyone gave their heart and soul to win.
“The first goal from Kim Brown was a spectacular curling shot into the top corner, the second a very composed finish from Ellie Wilson and to be honest the game could quiet easily have gone either way. Our defending was outstanding and it is very pleasing to see that the things we have worked on at training are now being implemented into our match day performance.
“A performance of this quality was the start we needed to go into 2023 and I look forward to many more like this for the rest of the season.”
Grimsby Town Women’s next fixture is a County Cup Quarter Final Away to Stamford on Sunday.
Beth French, Chloe Wilkinson, Eden Pedersen, Leah Wray, Katie Howlett, Kim Brown, Danielle Brighton, Evie Revell, Ellie Wilson, Bethany Wharton, Alisha DeJonge
Subs Used: Lily Jacklin, Charlotte Townsend