YOUTH TEAM REPORT | Mariners fall to late defeat

Our youth team suffered a last-minute defeat after a game of two contrasting halves against Doncaster Rovers at the Bradley Football Development Centre on Tuesday.

The Young Mariners played some excellent attacking football throughout the first half of the EFL Youth Alliance league encounter and deservedly found themselves 2-0 up at the break.

Cameron Gardner opened the scoring for Town, before Grayson Giles doubled their advantage in what was a dominant first 45 minutes.

But after making two changes before the restart, Doncaster were much-improved and a spectacular long-range strike by Jack Goodman brought them back into the contest, before substitute Jamie Tomlinson made it 2-2 with 13 minutes to go.

Grimsby substitute goalkeeper Will Mitchell saved a penalty from Rovers captain Will Flint to seemingly preserve a point but Goodman’s second goal in the third minute of added time meant the visitors returned to South Yorkshire with a victory.

Town’s under-18s were returning to action for the first time since their 1-1 draw with Harrogate Town on February 3, after their weekend fixture at Hartlepool United was postponed.

Gardner was off-target with an early strike from the edge of the penalty area, before Giles was denied by goalkeeper Jake Oram from close range.  The resulting corner eventually led to Oram tipping a header from Billy Bradley over the bar for another one, which bounced around the box before being cleared.

Giles won another corner on nine minutes but Shakeel Brown’s delivery from the left was dealt with.

The next time the Young Mariners went forward, they took the lead with a superb team goal.  Fin Abraham found Brown with an excellent cross-field ball and after an exchange of passes around the edge of the box, GARDNER fired across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

A low cross from Harry Wood was cleared at the other end as Doncaster attacked for the first time but Town were dominating and they doubled their advantage on 17 minutes.  Finley Axcell played a great ball through the middle for Brown and he took it forward before finding GILES, who produced a composed, clipped finish from inside the box.

Giles won a corner on 25 minutes after running onto a ball down the right from Axcell, although Brown’s delivery from the flag was headed away and a return ball into the box from Alfie Foy dropped out for a goal kick.

A low cross at the other end led to a Doncaster corner, although Gardner was in the right place to head the ball from the flag clear and Town almost launched a break but a through-ball was intercepted before it could reach Brown.

The away side started to come into the game after the half-hour but Town were still looking comfortable and Oram was forced into action to push a long-range effort from Charlie Clements away for a corner.
Brown did well to win another flag-kick after battling with Will Green and this time, it was played short but Axcell saw a low shot blocked at the near post.

A free kick from Brown on the right was headed wide for a goal kick as Grimsby remained firmly on top with half-time looming.

They had an opportunity to make it 3-0 when some sharp passing around the box led to an opening for Gardner but his shot from 15 yards went wide.

Brown linked up with Giles on the right on 44 minutes and the striker’s low cross was cut out for a further corner but when the ball from the flag fell for Gardner, he was unable to generate enough power on his shot to take it past Oram.

Gardner then sent a first-time effort just over the bar from distance after beating the offside trap to run onto a ball down the left, as Town kept looking to add to their advantage.

One minute of added time was played before the break and the Young Mariners were unable to find a third goal before the referee’s whistle blew but nevertheless, it had been an impressive first 45 minutes and they went into the dressing rooms with a fully deserved lead.


Max Adamson and Kasper Williams replaced Wood and Tyler Parkin for the away side before the restart and Adamson had the first chance of the second half six minutes in but saw his close-range strike come back off the bar.  The ball bounced around the six-yard box from the rebound but Town eventually cleared their lines.

Grimsby keeper Seb Auton stayed down after making a save in the scramble and after receiving treatment, he was unable to continue and was replaced between the posts by Mitchell.

Soon afterwards, the visitors halved their deficit when GOODMAN sent a powerful long-range strike into the top corner of the net.

Goodman almost completed the comeback on 58 minutes when he showed good strength to win the ball on the edge of the box before lifting it over Mitchell.  Town’s lead remained intact though, as Bradley got back to clear off the line.

Kenneth Imariagbe won a corner on the away left as Doncaster continued to threaten but the ball from the flag went through to Mitchell.

Henry Burt replaced Giles in Town’s second change on 63 minutes, before a foul on Harvey Cribb gave them a free kick midway inside the Doncaster half.  Brown played it to Clements on the edge of the box and after getting it back, the winger curled his shot just over the bar.

A free kick from the away left was punched clear by Mitchell, before Kenzie Dillon replaced Imariagbe in Doncaster’s latest change.

Adamson directed a header wide from a left-wing cross, then a Brown free kick drifted out for a goal kick at the other end.

The next goal was going to be important and when it came on 77 minutes, Doncaster got themselves back on level terms.  A Chris Pooley cross from the right was not cleared and TOMLINSON pounced to beat Mitchell and make it 2-2.  Adamson was then booked following the celebrations.

Jaxon Blankley came on for Clements in Town’s latest change with 10 minutes remaining, then Goodman was shown the yellow card for a foul.

Mitchell dived to make a brilliant save from Goodman and keep the scores level two minutes later, with Adamson looping a header just over the bar from the resulting corner.

Williams was booked for preventing a Town throw-in from being taken but as the clock ticked into the 90th minute, the visitors were given an opportunity to win the game after a foul inside the box by Mitchell.  The keeper was booked but got down to save Will Flint’s penalty.

Doncaster’s Sam Straughan-Brown became the latest to see the yellow card as the game moved into stoppage time  but Bradley’s header from Brown’s resulting free kick went through to Oram.

There was still one last chance for a winner though, and the visitors took it to snatch all three points, with GOODMAN chipping the ball over Mitchell and watching it loop into the net.

It was harsh on the Young Mariners, who were excellent in attack in the first half and committed in defence after the interval, but it was the visitors who were left celebrating at the final whistle.

Town are next in league action on Saturday, when they host Mansfield Town.

Town: Seb Auton (Will Mitchell, 54), Finley Axcell, Billy Bradley, Alfie Foy, Fin Abraham, Harvey Cribb, Shakeel Brown, Charlie Clements (Jaxon Blankley, 80), Grayson Giles (Henry Burt, 63), Cameron Gardner, Jack Collins
Subs not used: Callum Storr, Tom Rennardson

Doncaster: Jake Oram, Chris Pooley, Tyler Parkin (Kasper Williams, 46), Justin Bennett, Jacob Bacon, Will Flint, Harry Wood (Max Adamson, 46), Sam Straughan-Brown, Jack Goodman, Kenneth Imariagbe (Kenzie Dillon, 72), Will Green (Jamie Tomlinson, 60)
Sub not used: Jaden Campbell-Ryce



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