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09 December 2017 Venue Blundell Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Forest Green Preview

Andy Phillips previews Saturday's Sky Bet League Two fixture.

7 December 2017

Michael White
Russell Slade

TOWN host recent foes Forest Green Rovers on Saturday afternoon (3pm) looking for their third league win on the bounce.


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The Mariners go into the game in good form, with the 3-2 win over Swindon Town followed by the 2-0 win at Barnet resulting in Town being only 3 points off the play-off places and showing what Russell Slade's men are capable of on their day.

They will be looking to continue that with victory against a side that have had an inconsistent start to the campaign. Rovers had a poor start to the season, being in the relegation zone until October. However, they had an upturn in form after that and currently lie in 20th place in their first season in the EFL.

With it also being their first game against the Mariners since defeat in the 2016 National League play-off final, they will certainly be up for it and provide another test for Town.

Town near full strength

Town hope to be at full strength for the clash and are currently waiting to see how a couple of players have reacted to training, with one being James Berrett, who trained on Tuesday and Slade hopes to have available for Saturdays game.

Other than that, the Town boss will be hoping Jamille Matt and Sam Jones can continue their good form up front in the side, after they scored one each in the victory at Barnet a fortnight ago.

Forest Green looking to consolidate

Forest Green were promoted at the end of last season, beating Tranmere Rovers 3-1 in the 2017 National League play-off final. They will be eager to make sure that they stay in the division after their long-awaited promotion to the EFL and will want to make it a season of celebration.

Former Peterborough, Darlington and Swindon manager Mark Cooper was named Adie Pennock’s replacement at the end of the 2015/16 season, however didn’t formerly take charge until the following season.

Cooper watched the play-off final 18 months ago from the dugout as Town returned to the Football League. and after leading the team to promotion last term, he will be hoping to consolidate their place in the league this campaign.

The Villagers will want to continue their good recent away form, having only losing one of their last six away games, and they will be hoping to start putting together some momentum to push them up the table and away from the relegation zone.

In striker Christian Doidge, the side have a player that is proving to be able to step up to this level, having already scored 15 goals to add to the 27 he got last season to help them gain promotion. Town fans will also be familiar with Keanu Marsh-Brown, who scored Forest Green's goal in our Promotion Final victory in 2016.

Previous six results: WLDWLL

Managers in summary   

Russell Slade: ‘We're at home which I think is good and it’s not going to be easy because Forest Green are in great form - top six form at the minute. They’ve picked up incredibly well in recent weeks so we know it’s going to be a tough game. We need everybody behind us and need to pull together because if we can win on Saturday then we’re within touching distance. They’ve got a capable target man (Doidge) who seems to have got crucial goals in recent weeks that’s gotten them away from the bottom of the table. They’re a little bit unpredictable in what they may play but it’s about how we prepare, what we do and make sure that we make our impression on the game from the first minute.’

The Last Time

National League Play-off Final

Grimsby Town 3-1 Forest Green Rovers

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Match Reports

Match Report: Grimsby Town 1-0 Forest Green Rovers

Town make it three league wins in a row

9 December 2017

Grimsby Town made it three league wins in a row as they beat 10-man Forest Green Rovers at Blundell Park.

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A one-sided first half saw the Mariners in control throughout but they had to wait until six minutes before the interval to make their breakthrough, with Mitch Rose slamming in the rebound after a Sam Jones penalty was saved.

That spot-kick was the result of a foul by Jack Fitzwater on Diallang Jaiyesimi which saw the defender sent off.

After the break, the visitors came into the game more but were unable to cause any significant problems in front of goal as Town saw the game out to collect an important three points.

Grimsby were unchanged from the team that won at Barnet last time out, so goalkeeper James McKeown was again behind a defence of Zak Mills, Nathan Clarke, Danny Collins and Ben Davies.

Siriki Dembele, Luke Summerfield, Rose and Jaiyesimi were the midfielders, with Sam Jones and Jamille Matt named as the strikers.

The Grimsby substitutes were Ben Killip, Harry Cardwell, Martyn Woolford, Scott Vernon, Karleigh Osborne, Paul Dixon and JJ Hooper.

Forest Green arrived in Cleethorpes as one of League Two's form teams, having won three and rawn two of their last six games, although they sat just three points clear of the relegation zone at kick-off.

Mark Cooper's side were likely to look to striker Christian Doidge to be their danger man as he came into the game on an excellent run of goalscoring form.

The first chance of the game fell to Jaiyesimi, who picked up the ball after a cross from Jones on the right but saw his shot deflected over the bar for a corner.

Another corner came soon afterwards on the opposite flank, with Jaiyesimi firing over the top from 18 yards after the ball was not cleared.

A foul on Dembele gave the Mariners a free kick on the right on seven minutes but Summerfield's ball into the box was cleared.

Forest Green's first attack of note saw Doidge divert a low cross from the left wide of the near post, with McKeown untroubled.

Another promising opportunity for the hosts came soon afterwards when Jaiyesimi sent Mills away through the middle, although the right-back seemed off-balance as he made his way into the penalty area and was unable to get a shot away.

Forest Green were looking to play the ball out from the back through goalkeeper Bradley Collins, with Town looking to put their visitors' short passing game under pressure and take advantage of any mistakes.

A good run from Jaiyesimi down the left on 17 minutes led to a shooting chance for Jones, whose first-time effort got a deflection for a corner as it flew just wide of the near post.

Town were on top and another opportunity to get the ball into the box came with a free kick inside the Forest Green half, although Clarke could only head Summerfield's delivery wide.

Jones narrowly missed the target with another shot from the edge of the box, before a low effort from Matt from a similar distance was blocked as the Mariners continued to dominate, albeit without yet testing Collins in the Rovers goal.

Mills was the next to have a chance, cutting in from the right and working an opening on the edge of the box, only to hit a weak shot that went wide.

Jones took advantage of a mistake in the Forest Green defence to take the ball forward and shoot again from the edge of the penalty area just before the half-hour, with keeper Collins getting down to stop it.

Soon afterwards, Collins came off his line to block Jones, with the ball going behind for a corner.  Summerfield's driven delivery was pushed away by Collins but the Mariners kept possession until Summerfield let fly from 20 yards with an attempt which was pushed behind for another corner by the keeper.

The first yellow card of the game was shown to right-back Jack Fitzwater for wasting time over the taking of a throw-in on 33 minutes.

And Fitzwater was given his marching orders just four minutes later when he bundled Jaiyesimi over inside the penalty area.  Referee Carl Boyeson pointed to the spot before brandishing the red card and a stoppage then came for winger Luke James to receive treatment on an injury.

After what seemed like a lengthy delay, Jones eventually stepped up to take the penalty and although Collins got down to keep the spot-kick out, ROSE was in the right place to follow-up and smash the rebound into the net to give the Mariners a fully deserved lead.

Two added minutes were signalled to be played at the end of the half and with no further chances created before the referee's half-time whistle, the Mariners held their single-goal advantage at the interval.

No changes were made before the restart and an early Forest Green free kick from the right beat everybody and went out for a goal kick.

Another opportunity for the visitors came after Summerfield gave the ball away in midfield and the ball was eventually played to Doidge, whos shot was blocked for a corner by Clarke.  The flag-kick was then not dealt wit by the hosts and Rose had to clear off the line.

A free kick from the Forest Green right was caught by McKeown, then a run from Matt at the other end finished with keeper Collins gathering the ball from the striker's shot.

Jaiyesimi scooped a shot high and wide from 25 yards, before the Mariners were inches away from doubling their advantage when a header from Matt hit the woodwork after a free kick from Summerfield on the left.

Forest Green boss Cooper made a double substitution on 56 minutes, sending on Toni Gomes and Jordan Stevens in place of Reece Brown and Luke James.

But it was the hosts who were continuing to dominate and they had another chance to make it 2-0 when an interception gave Dembele a clear run through the middle.  He played the ball to Summerfield but the midfielder took it wide and could only hit the side-netting from a narrow angle.

The third and final substitution for the away side was made on 63 minutes and saw Omar Bugiel come on in place off Charlie Cooper in midfield.

Another run from Dembele through the middle was ended when he was brought down on the edge of the box by Mark Roberts, who was booked.  Summerfield's free kick was blocked by the wall and went away for a throw-in.

The 10 men of Forest Green were starting to come into the game and they won a corner on the right on 70 minutes, which was cleared.

Soon afterwards, Matt's strength saw him beat Lee Collins in midfield before Jones took the ball on and eventually won a corner, which came to nothing.

Woolford replaced Jaiyesimi in Grimsby's first substitution, before Summerfield was shown the yellow card for a foul midway inside his own half.  The shot from it was blocked by the Town wall, before a follow-up was deflected away for a corner.

Dembele was the next to be booked after going down easily near the dug-outs.

Hooper came on for Rose with eight minutes to go as the Mariners continued to look for the second goal that would secure all three points.

Jones ran into the box before seeing his shot blocked for a corner on 85 minutes, then a curling effort from Dembele was deflected just wide of the far post for another flag-kick, which was pushed away by the keeper.

Jones chipped a ball through for Hooper as the hosts kept looking for that second goal but the striker's first touch let him down and the ball went through to Collins in the Forest Green goal.

Vernon came on for Matt for the closing stages of the game, which was to include four minutes of additional time.

Jones had another chance to seal the points when he had a shooting opportunity from 20 yards but he could not keep the ball down.

In th end though, it didn't matter as Town saw out the remainder of the game to clinch a vital victory, with a tough-looking programme of fixtures to come in the run-up to Christmas.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Notts County. 


1 James McKeown 
12 Zak Mills 
2 Ben Davies 
5 Nathan Clarke (C) 
6 Danny Collins 
8 Mitch Rose 
20 Diallang Jaiyesimi 
19 Luke Summerfield 
27 Siriki Dembele 
29 Jamille Matt 
10 Sam Jones 


30 Ben Killip 
3 Paul Dixon 
14 Karleigh Osborne 
25 Martyn Woolford 
17 Harry Cardwell 
9 JJ Hooper 
21 Scott Vernon

Forest Green Rovers

1 Bradley Collins 
33 Luke James 
3 Scott Laird 
16 Jack Fitzwater 
20 Alex Iacovitti 
21 Mark Roberts 
5 Lee Collins (C) 
15 Charlie Cooper 
17 Daniel Wishart 
9 Christian Doidge 
10 Reece Brown 


23 Sam Russell 
12 Jordan Simpson 
35 Jordan Stevens 
11 Omar Bugiel 
25 Toni Correia Gomes 

Referee: Carl Boyeson

Attendance: 4,396 (38)

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