A late strike by captain Danielle Brighton earned our title-winning women’s team a victory over St Joseph’s Rockware of Worksop in their last home game of the season.
The match had been due to take place at Blundell Park to celebrate the team’s achievements in winning the East Midlands Women’s Regional Football League Division One North but unfortunately, heavy rain throughout the morning meant that was no longer possible.
Instead, the venue was switched to the 3G pitch at Oasis Academy Wintringham to ensure the game could go ahead as planned on Sunday afternoon and Town dominated it for long periods but were left frustrated by a combination of missed chances and some outstanding goalkeeping by Olivia Walker.
Hayley Cox’s Mariners stuck to their task though and as both teams tired in the later stages, the hosts got their reward as Brighton found the top corner of the net from 25 yards to settle the contest with five minutes to go.
Town started strongly, with Beth Wharton the first to go close on two minutes as she let fly with a low shot from 25 yards which was pushed behind for a corner by keeper Walker. Lily Jacklin saw an effort blocked from the flag-kick.
A shot by Ellie Wilson from inside the penalty area was caught, before Eden Pedersen lifted an attempt over the bar from 25 yards and a free kick from Olivia Kershaw was put behind for a corner after Alisha Dejonge had headed it on.
Brighton fired over the bar after a neat attacking move on 13 minutes as Grimsby’s purposeful opening to the contest continued, before another free kick from Kershaw drifted out at the far post after Brighton had been fouled 35 yards out.
Visiting keeper Walker’s first great save of the afternoon came three minutes later when she dived to her left to keep out a shot from Wharton.
The Mariners had dominated the early exchanges without making it count with a goal and they were given a warning as the away side created their first chance of the game on 19 minutes. Beth Gingell set off on a run down the left and cut inside before squaring for Ayesha Stead, although the ball proved just too far ahead of her run and she was unable to connect with a finishing touch.
The Nottinghamshire side then had another opportunity when Aimee Roper found Gingell and she got past Kershaw but could not beat Town keeper Chloe Gray, who got a touch to the shot to keep it out and ensure the only damage was a corner.
Brighton shot just wide after another free kick from Kershaw had been half-cleared, then Wharton ran onto a loose ball near the edge of the box but sent her attempt over the bar.
At the other end, Roper tried her luck from 30 yards but a big deflection took the ball through to Gray, then another nice attacking move by the Mariners ended with Dejonge firing just wide of the near post.
Town went even closer when a corner from the left was headed against the far post by Dejonge, then Wharton won another flag-kick on the left but the ball from it was nodded wide by Pedersen.
The hosts were looking dangerous from corners and a sliced clearance from another one almost led to an own goal four minutes before the break but the ball dropped to safety.
The Worksop team had the last opportunity to break the deadlock before half-time when Stead found Gingell, although her low strike across goal rolled just wide of the far post to leave the game goalless at the interval.
Mia Atherley was sent on before the restart as the Mariners made the first substitution and they were straight back on the attack, with a 20-yard shot from Brighton going over the bar.
A header from Dejonge was pushed wide for a corner by keeper Walker and it turned into another one on the left but this time, the short ball was intercepted.
The first yellow card of the afternoon was shown to Town defender Laura Ibbett after a late challenge near the halfway line, then a low cross from Wilson on the home right was claimed by Walker.
At the other end, the away side were inches away from taking the lead when Gingell did well to control the ball, turn and volley across goal but Stead was unlucky as her attempt to finish from close range came back off the post.
A strong run through the middle by Wharton then led to an opportunity for Jacklin but her shot was pushed around the post for a corner, which led to Dejonge heading wide.
Town were pushing for an opening goal but they were denied again by the keeper when she raced off her line to make a block from Dejonge, then pulled off an outstanding double save seconds later to keep the score goalless.
Grimsby’s second substitution was made three minutes after the hour and saw Evie Revell replace Jacklin, then more home pressure came with a corner on the left which eventually turned into another one. This time, Kershaw’s delivery beat everybody and went out for a throw-in.
Worksop’s Tammy Hessey was booked for bringing Wharton down in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area but Kershaw’s free kick hit the defensive wall and flew away for a corner.
Town continued to look for a breakthrough and another good move saw Dejonge, Wharton and Pedersen link up down the left. When the cross came in from Pedersen, the ball was headed against the bar by a defender and it bounced out for a corner, which nobody was able to connect with as it went away for a throw-in.
Both sides appeared to be tiring as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes but the Mariners looked the more likely to force a winner and a low cross from Wharton on the left was cut out for a corner, although Kershaw’s ball from the flag was cleared.
Instead, the decisive moment came on 85 minutes, when BRIGHTON got the ball in space and picked her spot from 25 yards before hitting a strike which arrowed into the top corner of the net, leaving Walker with no chance.
The away side looked for a way back into the contest and a free kick from Abbie Lister on the halfway line was headed clear, before Dejonge fired wide of the near post for the Mariners after bringing the ball in from the left as she looked to put the result beyond doubt.
Wharton set off on a run down the right as the game moved into stoppage time and she did well to win a corner, which eventually led to Leah Wray shooting at the keeper after Kershaw’s delivery from the flag was half-cleared.
Town then saw out the remainder of the game to ensure they could celebrate a hard-earned but thoroughly deserved win from their final home fixture of what has been a memorable season.
They are due to round the campaign off with an away trip to face Lincoln United Development on Sunday.
Town: Chloe Gray, Chloe Wilkinson, Leah Wray, Laura Ibbett, Olivia Kershaw, Eden Pedersen, Danielle Brighton, Beth Wharton, Alisha Dejonge, Ellie Wilson, Lily Jacklin
Subs: Evie Revell, Mia Atherley, Harriet Dalton, Jasmine Lacey
SJR Worksop: Olivia Walker, Latisha Whittaker, Aimee Roper, Abbie Lister, Lucie Spendiff, Kerry Fitzackerley, Ayesha Stead, Holly Smith, Beth Gingell, Tammy Hessey, Ellie Priestley
Subs: Paris Smith, Abbie Kent, Izzy Gallagher