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REPORT: Cheltenham Town 2-1 Grimsby Town

Image by: Lee Blease

PUBLISHED

14:45 17th April 2017

by Andy Phillips

GRIMSBY Town went down to defeat on Easter Monday with a 2-1 loss to Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road. 

First half goals from William Boyle and Harry Pell were enough to give the Robins all three points, despite a spirited Town comeback after the break that saw substitute James Berrett pull a goal back before Gavin Gunning was dismissed late on.

Town made two changes to the side that beat Cambridge United on Good Friday, with Ben Davies coming in for James Berrett and Shaun Pearson coming into the team in place of Andrew Boyce.

This meant that the Mariners lined up with James McKeown in goal, a back four of Zak Mills, Shaun Pearson, captain Danny Collins and Danny Andrew, a midfield four of Ben Davies, Gavin Gunning, Chris Clements and Jamey Osborne with Sam Jones and Calum Dyson continuing their partnership up front.

The game began with the Cheltenham goalkeeper almost immediately being forced into action in the first minute when Town almost taking the lead in the very first minute of the game when Dyson was bundled over around 20 yards outside of the box.

Danny Andrew's resulting free-kick forced Robins goalkeeper Brown to move across his goal and palm the ball out for a corner, which came to nothing.

Following that early scare for the home side, they began to take control and play their usual direct game, which proved a tricky proposition on a less than ideal pitch.

The Robins first real chance of the game came when Jordan Cranston crossed in for striker Danny Wright but the ball was too high for him to head accurately and it went over goalkeeper James McKeown's crossbar.

Town's long serving goalkeeper was forced into action once again in the minute when Waters found acres of space in the centre of the pitch and drove towards goal, unleashing a shot from around 15 yards out that McKeown did terrifically to turn past his post and out for a corner. 

The Mariners were struggling to keep possession, with defenders Shaun Pearson and Danny Collins being kept very busy from the aerial bombardment that they were receiving from Cheltenham.

Former Town loanee Harry Pell was the next to try his luck with a rasping shot from distance that was well wide of McKeown's post, and it wouldn't be the first time Pell would be involved in the action on the day. 

Cheltenham's pressure forced Ben Davies to bring down James Rowe around 20 yards out, and the resulting free kick from Pell bounced off the turf but McKeown did well to push the ball over his own bar and out for a corner.

Unfortunately, he wasn't able to do the same from the resulting corner when Pell's corner found William BOYLE, whose header flew past McKeown and over the line despite Zak Mills best efforts to keep it out. 

Pell was again involved in the action and forced McKeown into a fairly straightforward save from 25 yards out.

However, he would finally get his rewards for his persistence on 39 minutes when he was found and curled the ball past the Town keeper to give the hosts a two goal lead. 

Town were unable to respond in any real way before the break, and after a minute of added time, the referee blew his whistle for the interval, and new Town boss Russell Slade would be hoping for a better performance from his men in the second half. 

The Town boss immediately made two changes at the break, bringing on Scott Vernon and James Berrett for Sam Jones and Jamey Osborne at the start of the second period.

However, it was the Robins that had the first real chance of the half when Pell's free kick was whipped in and Wright headed narrowly over the crossbar as the Robins direct threat continued to cause problems for the Mariners.

Despite that, Town were certainly beginning to have more of the ball and they won their first corner in the 54th minute, which Robins keeper Brown was forced to tip over after Vernon got his head on the ball. 

Brown was then forced to punch clear from a high cross from Mills as Town began to pin their opponents back slightly.

The Mariners had another opportunity when Ben Davies' free kick went through the Robins wall and the ball was scrambled away by Cheltenham. 

The Mariners finally got their rewards for an improved second half display when the two half-time substitutes combined. Vernon sent a terrific diagonal ball towards BERRETT, who expertly chested down and side footed past the on-rushing Brown to put Town back into the game.  

Vernon then came inches away from an equaliser moments later when he got on the end of a long diagonal ball from Mills and despite there being little pace on the effort, a tricky bounce almost caught the keeper out but he responded quickly. 

Town's chances of getting back into the game were then dealt a huge blow with just over ten minutes remaining when Gavin Gunning was shown his marching orders for what the referee perceived to be an elbow on the Robins' Wright.

Boss Russell Slade moved immediately to sure up the midfield, bringing on club captain Craig Disley for Chris Clements.

Despite being down to ten men, Town continued to press for an equaliser and five minutes of added time were signalled as they looked to get back on level terms.

However, it wasn't be and the side went down a 2-1 defeat, although boss Russell Slade will take some encouragement from the second half display.

Town's next fixture sees them host Yeovil Town at Blundell Park on Saturday afternoon.

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