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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-0
17 July 2021 Venue Sir Halley Stewart. Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

Spalding Town
2 - 0
Grimsby Town
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Match Reports

Match report: Cleethorpes Town 1-4 Grimsby Town

Mariners start pre-season with a victory as fans return

17 July 2021

Grimsby Town began their pre-season campaign with a 4-1 victory over neighbours Cleethorpes Town at the Myenergi Stadium.

The Mariners returned to action in front of their fans for the first time in 16 months, with nine of their 10 summer signings on show for the 1,000-strong, sell-out crowd.

In sweltering conditions, Town fell behind to an early goal scored by a Cleethorpes trialist but the home side's bright start did not last as Shaun Pearson marked his return to the club with a headed equaliser.

Youth team player Edwin Essel impressed after coming off the bench early in the game and it was the youngster who put the Mariners ahead on 21 minutes.

Michee Efete made it 3-1 after the break and Max Wright added a fourth two minutes from time.

Five of the new signings were in the starting line-up as Town boss Paul Hurst named almost completely different XIs for each half.

Three of them began in defence in the shape of Ryan Sears, David Longe-King and Pearson, while Joel Grant and Ryan Taylor were selected in attack.

Ollie Battersby started in goal, with Evan Khouri, Aaron Braithwaite, Giles Coke, Harry Clifton and Sean Scannell making up the XI.

Cleethorpes' starting line-up included former Mariner Paul Walker, while Josh Venney and Brandon Buckley were both named on the bench for the hosts.

And it was the Owls who opened the scoring with less than three minutes on the clock as a low cross fell perfectly into the path of a trialist and he beat Battersby from 12 yards.

Cleethorpes had a chance to make it 2-0 soon afterwards when Brody Robertson found Josh Batty on the edge of the penalty area but his curling shot cleared the crossbar.

Town's first attack of note saw Grant race to keep a ball from Coke in play and his cross from the left was cleared for the game's first corner. And the flag-kick brought an equaliser for the Mariners as the ball from it was met by PEARSON, who stooped to steer a header into the net.

Grant was looking lively down the Grimsby left in the early stages and he won another corner on 12 minutes, although this time, his ball from it was headed clear.

Goalkeeper Tom Nicholson raced off his line to deny Scannell as Town went forward again, before they were forced into an early substitution when Taylor went down with an injury after only 15 minutes. He was replaced by Essel.

In an eye-catching introduction to first team football, Essel's first act was to show good pace and win a corner on the right. Again, Grant's delivery was met by Pearson but this time, his header was blocked.

Essel did well to work an opening for a shot from inside the box soon afterwards, although Nicholson was equal to it and pushed the ball away from goal.

But the youth team player was not to be denied the next time the Mariners went forward, as he met a low cross from Braithwaite on the right and confidently finished from 10 yards to put the visitors ahead for the first time on 21 minutes.

At the other end, a cross from Harry Middleton on the right was headed clear, before a Town attack ended when Essel was flagged offside.

Cleethorpes started to come into the game again as the interval approached and they went close to making it 2-2 when Batty chased the ball down and sent a low cross to the near-post but Robertson could only hit the woodwork from a tight angle.

That meant the Mariners' one-goal advantage remained intact at half-time, following a good workout for the first-half team.

New signings Adam Crookes, Efete, Ben Fox and John McAtee got their first taste of action in Town's colours as they were among nine changes to the XI for the second half.

James McKeown replaced Battersby in goal, with Jaz Goundry, Luke Waterfall, Wright and Luke Spokes also coming into the team as only Khouri and Essel remained of those who finished the first half.

Town made it 3-1 nine minutes in as EFETE cut in from the right before firing past Nicholson from a narrow angle.

Efete impressed again soon aftrwards with a run through the middle after cutting in from the right and on reaching the edge of the penalty area, he slipped the ball through to Essel but the striker's shot was blocked.

Clifton was sent back onto the field in place of Khouri, before a Cleethorpes free kick from the right was comfortably caught by McKeown.

Wright fired over the bar from distance as Town looked to add to their lead, then a foul by Goundry gave the home side another free kick but they were unable to create a chance from it.

Another Cleethorpes free kick was headed clear by Efete as the game entered its closing stages, then Clifton got down the right and won a corner on 86 minutes which led to McAtee volleying wide.

But there was still time for one more goal, as Wright turned and measured a chip from 25 yards that found the net to make it 4-1 and complete the afternoon's entertainment.

Town's next friendly is a behind closed doors contest against Mansfield Town on Tuesday, before James McKeown's testimonial match sees Rotherham United visit Blundell Park on Saturday.

Town (first half): Battersby, Sears, Longe-King, Pearson, Khouri, Braithwaite, Coke, Clifton, Scannell, Grant, Taylor

(second half): McKeown, Crookes, Goundry, Waterfall, Efete, Wright, Fox, Spokes, Khouri, McAtee, Essel

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