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05:28 5th July 2014

Town 7 Alfreton 0

GRIMSBY Town turned on the style again to earn their second big win in the space of three days with a 7-0 destruction of Alfreton Town at Blundell Park.


Lenell John-Lewis opened the scoring on 10 minutes, before his header came back off the post and hit visiting keeper Cameron Dawson for an own goal to double the hosts’ advantage.


That lead was stretched further just before half-time, when Jon-Paul Pittman beat the Alfreton offside trap to race clear and make it 3-0.


Craig Clay then capped an impressive display with his first two goals for the club, either side of a spectacular strike from Scott Brown.


And Scott Neilson made it 7-0 in the closing stages to complete the rout and send out a real statement of intent to the rest of the Vanarama Conference.


Town boss Paul Hurst stuck with the same side that recorded an equally emphatic 6-1 away victory at Gateshead on Saturday.


That meant club captain Craig Disley again had to be content with a place on the bench.


James McKeown started in goal, with Toto Nsiala, Shaun Pearson, Andrew Boyce and Carl Magnay making up the back four.


Clay, Brown and Patrick McLaughlin formed a three-man central midfield, with Neilson supporting front men John-Lewis and Pittman.


The substitutes’ bench was also unchanged, so Paul Bignot, Jack Mackreth, Alan Connell and Caine Winfarrah all joined Disley as replacements.


Alfreton named former Town defender Bradley Wood among their starting XI, while striker Joe Ironside, who had a trial at Blundell Park in the summer, lined up in the Reds’ attack.


The visitors made a positive start, turning an early free kick from halfway into a corner on the right that led to defender Jordan Keane heading over McKeown’s bar.


A cheap corner came at the other end when Nathan Hicks’ misplaced pass ran out of play but Brown’s delivery was missed by Pearson.


Town’s first shot of the game came through McLaughlin, whose seventh minute drive went wide of the mark.


A good move from the home side came soon afterwards, when Brown’s pass sent Neilson away down the middle. He then linked up with Nsiala on the right before a shot from Brown was saved.


Town took the lead with 10 minutes on the clock, when a ball from Pittman was played through for JOHN-LEWIS and he steered a low shot beyond visiting keeper Cameron Dawson and into the bottom corner of the net.


The Mariners were now on top and a foul on McLaughlin gave them a free kick midway inside the Alfreton half, which eventually led to the Irishman seeing a shot blocked by Wood.


Neilson had a chance to double the hosts’ lead when he linked up with both strikers to get into the box and shoot but this time, Dawson was equal to the effort and made a good save to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.


Another corner was won by John-Lewis on 17 minutes but it was dealt with and Alfreton broke through Hicks, who had one shot blocked and another saved by McKeown as the visitors threatened for the first time.


A foul on Dan Bradley close to the by-line on the left brought the first yellow card of the game for Nsiala. From the resulting free kick, the ball was played back to Hicks on the edge of the box but his shot was poor and drifted wide for a goal kick.


Pittman won a Town corner on the right on 24 minutes but they were unable to turn it into a goalscoring opportunity.


John-Lewis hit a shot wide from 20 yards, before a run through the middle by Neilson resulted in another corner.


Centre-back Duane Courtney was replaced by Daniel Gray as Alfreton made the first substitution on 28 minutes, with Wood moving to the centre of defence as the new man took up a position on the right.


Grimsby grabbed a second goal on the half-hour, when a great ball down the line from Clay found Pittman. He hit a powerful left-wing cross that was headed by John-Lewis and after hitting the post, the ball eventually rolled into the net after hitting keeper DAWSON for an own goal.


Town had the ball in an attacking area again after McLaughlin was fouled and the move eventually ended with Pittman trying a shot from inside the box but it went out for a goal kick.


An Alfreton free kick for a foul on Tom Shaw was headed away by Boyce, before another Shaw free kick had to be headed away for a corner.


The Mariners stretched their lead further two minutes before the break when John-Lewis threaded a ball through for strike-partner PITTMAN, who beat the Alfreton offside trap before rounding Dawson and slotting home.


McLaughlin fouled Bradley to give the away side a free kick in the third of three added minutes played before the break but when the initial delivery was not cleared, McKeown got down to stop a shot.


That proved to be the last goalmouth action of the first half, meaning Grimsby took a commanding advantage into the dressing room with them at half-time.


Lee Stevenson replaced Paul Clayton up front for Alfreton before the restart but as they had done on Saturday at Gateshead, Town made it 4-0 within a minute of the restart. This time, it was CLAY who ran onto a through-ball and steered a shot that went past Dawson and in off the post.


John-Lewis had an opportunity to add to the score four minutes in when he took the ball inside the box and hit a shot that was parried by Dawson. The striker then smashed the rebound over the bar.


The Mariners were dominating and they went close to a fifth goal again when Neilson pulled the ball back for McLaughlin but his low shot went narrowly wide of the far post.


Bradley was booked for pulling Neilson down near the halfway line as the home side looked to launch another attack on 58 minutes.


A long pass from Boyce put john-Lewis through again on the hour but this time, Dawson was able to stop his shot and keep the deficit at four goals.


The visitors were given a free kick when Boyce fouled Ironside on the Alfreton left but Shaw’s ball was headed clear by McLaughlin.


Bignot replaced Nsiala in Grimsby’s first substitution of the game.


A bad afternoon for Alfreton then got worse when they were reduced to 10 men as Anthony Howell was sent off for a bad foul on Brown. Magnay was booked for his reaction as several players became involved in a flashpoint.


Neilson let fly with a dipping shot from 25 yards on 69 minutes but Dawson got his hands to it to get the ball away for a corner.


The second Town change saw Mackreth come on for Pittman, with the winger no doubt sensing an opportunity to impress against the depleted Alfreton side.


John-Lewis hit a snap-shot wide as the Mariners continued to attack, before Mackreth worked his way into the box but was outmuscled by defender Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.


Former Lincoln midfielder Jake Sheridan came on for Bradley in Alfreton’s last substitution and the away side almost created a chance soon afterwards but Stevenson could not get a shot away and Bignot cleared.


Grimsby’s final change came with 13 minutes left and saw Winfarrah replace Magnay at left-back.


Soon afterwards, the fifth goal the Mariners had been searching for finally arrived, when a loose ball fell for BROWN and he hammered a 25-yard shot past Dawson and into the bottom corner of the net.


McLaughlin almost made it six when he worked his way into the box and fired a shot that was deflected out for a corner.


McKeown dived to make a relatively straightforward stop from a shot by Shaw as the visitors launched a rare attack with eight minutes to go.


Most of the attacking traffic was going the other way though and the sixth Grimsby goal came with three minutes left. Good play by Neilson saw him get he ball to Mackreth and he then found CLAY, who placed a first-time shot into the far corner of the net.


The Mariners were not about to settle for six though and they added a seventh goal in added time, when NEILSON raced through and rounded Dawson before slotting into the empty net.


After only scoring one goal in their first three games, the Mariners now had 13 in their last two.


They are next in action when they travel to Aldershot Town on Saturday.


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