GRIMSBY TOWN 3-2 CHASETOWN (AET)
A HAT-TRICK from Lee Wattam sealed the victory for the young Mariners against Chasetown in the Midlands Cup at Blundell Park tonight.
Adam Smith's team started well- looking lively when in possession and on the attack.
In the very early stages, play looked frantic at times with both sides seemingly unable to keep calm under the pressure of defenders. However the home side soon adapted- and from then on enjoyed the majority of the possession.
Town had a great chance after just five minutes, but striker Lee Wattam was caught offside after a great lob pass from the midfield.
Chasetown presented very little threat in the early stages, unable to keep the ball for any length of time thanks to a solid Mariners defence. Their best chance of the opening 15 minutes came from a free kick deep into the area- however the ball was over-hit and went well wide.
On 20 minutes, the visitors could have gone ahead when a fierce 30 yarder went just over the bar.
Both teams showed great pace going forward in the attack, and the visitors could have gone ahead again in the 34th minute- the ball finding it's way through a slack Grimsby midfield- but keeper Bastock made the save look comfortable.
Chasetown had another shot from the edge of the area three minutes before half time, but the shot was wasted as it went well over the crossbar.
Town's best chance of the half came in added time- the shot from inside the box well driven, unfortunately for Town though it hit the side netting.
That was the last action before half time- and there were plenty of encouraging signs for the homeside who had looked lively and dominated throughout.
The second half began in much the same way- with Town looking the more threatening going forward, though the visitors held the ball much better when in possession than during the first 45.
Some heavy Town pressure on 55 minutes allowed Callum Walker in on goal, but his shot was well blocked and went out for a corner, which the defence dealt with swiftly.
Town were looking all the more likely to score as the half went on and Lee Wattam's cross nearly provided them the perfect opportunity to do so, however no one was there at the other end to direct the ball goalward.
Chasetown broke through a slack town defence on 65 minutes but again, the shot lacked venom and was no trouble for Bastock in the Mariners goal.
Town continued to apply pressure to the visitors. It eventually paid off when a perfectly timed through ball found LEE WATTAM, who calmly slotted past the goalkeeper to give the hosts the lead with 20 minutes left.
The visitors never really came into the game until five minutes from time, when some lacklustre defending by Town saw Chasetown gifted a one on one chance, which they duly converted with a close range effort to level the scores.
After that the home side seemed to lose their edge, continuing to apply pressure and create chances but lacking the necessary quality in the final third.
Town seemed to fade away toward the end of the game- and the visitors made them pay when in added time they again found themselves with no defenders in their way, and the ball ended up in the back of the net to give Chase Town the edge in the game for the first time
There was still time for more late drama at the end of the game though as Town grabbed their equaliser. Some good play by the home side forcing an opening in the visitors defence at WATTAM was there again to capitalise and draw level.
The game finished 2-2, so extra time was needed.
The visitors nearly re-established their lead during the first period when keeper Bastock spilled a 25 yarder that looked to be going over his head, however he regained his composure to eliminate the threat.
The scores were still level after the first extra quarter hour, and neither side looked likely to break through and win the game.
Josh Sunter came on for the last fifteen minutes for Town as manager Adam Smith looked to freshen the team up.
The visitors had the best chance of the last quarter hour, but wasted it as another long range effort went sailing over the bar.
They should have put the game to bed when they were presented with another one on one- but Bastock produced heroics in the Town goal. Keeping the ball out with his legs.
With the clock ticking neither side looked like stealing a winner and the game seemed destined for the dreaded shootout. However with only minutes to go on the clock, Town won a corner which was delivered deep into the area. The ball fell kindly to WATTAM to seal the victory for Town, and give him his hat-trick.
It was a well deserved and hard fought victory for Grimsby, who return to league action in Saturday's home game with Hull City.