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05:49 18th July 2013

Town 3 Forest Green Rovers 1

A ROSS Hannah double sent Grimsby Town on their way to three points against Forest Green Rovers at Blundell Park.


The visitors took the lead through striker Yan Klukowski midway through the first half, before defender Eddie Oshodi was sent off for a foul on the returning Craig Disley.


Hannah’s first goal of the afternoon drew the Mariners level and he struck again from the penalty spot after half-time to give the home side the advantage before Alex Rodman made the points safe.


Town boss Paul Hurst made four changes to his starting XI following the defeat at Salisbury City last time out.


Shaun Pearson came back into the team after serving a one-match ban, while Hannah returned from injury and Rodman and Disley were preferred to Patrick McLaughlin and Richie Jones.


James McKeown started in goal, with Sam Hatton, Pearson, Chris Doig and Aswad Thomas forming the defence.


Joe Colbeck, Disley, Scott Kerr and Alex Rodman were the midfielders, with Andy Cook partnering Hannah up front.


Jones and McLaughlin were both among the substitutes, along with Liam Hearn, Scott Neilson and Clayton McDonald.


Forest Green made the long journey to North East Lincolnshire looking to improve on a recent record of six defeats in seven games.


But the Gloucestershire side had plenty of firepower, with strikers Klukowski, Danny Wright and Andy Mangan all capable of causing problems for the Grimsby defence.


Town started brightly, with a driven cross from Colbeck headed clear after good play by Hannah down the right.


A foul on Rodman by right-back Jamie Turley gave the Mariners an early free kick in a promising position but Kerr’s delivery went straight through to keeper Sam Russell.


A free kick in a good position came at the other end soon afterwards but Yan Klokowski’s shot hit the Town wall, before midfielder Marcus Kelly hammered a long-range effort well over the bar.


Grimsby were gifted the first corner of the game on 11 minutes after a misplaced header in the Forest Green defence. Nobody could connect with Kerr’s right-wing delivery but the hosts retained possession until the midfielder blasted a shot over the bar from 25 yards.


Town almost had an opportunity when Cook flicked a header into the path of Hannah but he could not control the ball as he advanced into the penalty area and it went through to Russell.


A chance for the visitors came soon afterwards, with Danny Wright meeting a cross from the right at the far post but Pearson was there to deflect his header away for a corner.


The Mariners had another attacking opportunity when Cook was fouled in midfield. Hatton’s delivery from the free kick led to Hannah crossing from the left but the low ball eluded Doig.


The visitors took the lead on 24 minutes after Town failed to clear the ball in their own penalty area. An initial shot from the edge of the box was well saved by McKeown, before the rebound was scrambled away from the goal-line by Thomas but KLUKOWSKI was there to force the ball home at the third attempt.


Grimsby looked for an instant reply but Hannah narrowly failed to connect with a good cross from Thomas on the left.


Forest Green were reduced to 10 men three minutes after taking the lead when defender Oshodi was sent off for a poor challenge on Disley. Referee Ben Toner had no hesitation in brandishing a straight red card, giving the hosts a numerical advantage for the remainder of the game.


McDonald replaced Doig as Town made the first substitution of the game on the half-hour, before Dale Bennett came on for goalscorer Klukowski as Rovers manager Dave Hockaday looked to shore up his defence.


The Mariners were back on level terms eight minutes before the break from a brilliantly executed set piece. Hatton played a short ball to Kerr from a free kick inside the Rovers half and he found Thomas on the left. The full-back then advanced and sent a low ball across the six-yard line for HANNAH to convert from close range.

McDonald had to concede a corner on 43 minutes to stop Wright but Kelly’s near-post delivery was comfortably headed clear by Thomas.


A cross from Hatton was deflected out for a Town corner as the game moved into two added minutes and it led to Disley having a shot blocked by Al Bangura before Rodman was pulled back 25 yards from goal. Hatton’s free kick hit the visitors’ wall before the ball was worked back for McDonald to clear the Osmond Stand with a shot.


That meant the scores remained level at half-time, with Grimsby looking to push on after the break and make their extra man count.


The home side had the first meaningful attack after the restart, with a long-range shot from Hatton getting a deflection which just evaded Hannah.


Forest Green looked to have reclaimed their lead when a free kick from the right was headed past McKeown by Chris Stokes but the goal did not stand after the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.


James Norwood replaced Mangan for the away side on 53 minutes after the striker picked up an injury.


And the substitute had an immediate impact with a fine run and through-ball for Stokes, who hit a weak shot from inside the box which was saved by McKeown.

A good spell of Town possession followed, leading to a Rodman shot being blocked for a corner, which was cleared.


A smart touch by Cook sent Disley through the middle just before the hour but he could not capitalise and the ball ran through to keeper Russell.


Neilson replaced Colbeck soon afterwards and the substitute could have put the Mariners ahead when a loose ball dropped for him inside the box but he dragged his shot wide.


Neilson was involved again on 64 minutes and this time, it did lead to a breakthrough as he was brought down inside the penalty area. The referee pointed to the spot and HANNAH stepped up to smash the ball down the middle and into the net to give Town the lead.


A Kerr cross was headed behind for a corner four minutes later but the former York midfielder’s kick was caught by Russell.


Wright was replaced by Matthew Barnes-Homer for the visitors, who won a corner on 71 minutes that eventually led to Kelly shooting wide.


The game was now being dominated by the hosts though, with the Mariners keeping possession and looking to patiently build up attacks.


Pearson had a run forward and hit a low shot that was comfortable for Russell, before a rare Rovers attack led to substitute Bennett playing a ball across the six-yard box that ran out for a goal kick.


A good long pass from McDonald found Thomas on the Town left with 12 minutes to go and he crossed for Cook to hit a shot which forced Russell into another stop.

Norwood and Barnes-Homer were both booked for dissent before a Forest Green free kick, which was emphatically cleared by McDonald.


Grimsby could have extended their lead when Cook got on the end of a through-ball on the right side of the penalty area but his shot was blocked by Russell for a corner.


From the flag, the Mariners made the three points safe when the ball was forced over the line by RODMAN and the goal was given, despite protests from the visiting defenders.


Hearn replaced Hannah in the Grimsby frontline for the last five minutes of the game and he almost added extra gloss to the scoreline when he got on the end of a cross from Thomas but saw his shot crash against the bar, before Cook fired the rebound wide.


That proved to be the last chance of the game as the Mariners closed out their victory.


They will now take a break from league action as Rushall Olympic visit Blundell Park in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.