AFC Telford Utd 1 - 1 Grimsby Town
GRIMSBY Town came from a goal down to claim a point against AFC Telford United at the New Bucks Head.
The Mariners had created the better opportunities throughout the first half but could not make them count.
And they were punished when defender Andy Parry scored from 35 yards to silence almost 500 travelling supporters.
Town hit back through Jack Mackreth three minutes before the hour but they were unable to force a winner against the side at the bottom of the Conference table.
Paul Hurst named an unchanged Town side after the midweek victory over Woking.
That meant there was no place in the squad for midfielder Nicky Walker, who joined the club on loan from Rotherham United before Thursday’s deadline.
James McKeown started in goal, with Daniel Parslow, Toto Nsiala, Shaun Pearson and Carl Magnay in defence.
The midfielders were Mackreth, Craig Disley, Scott Brown and Nathan Arnold, with Lenell John-Lewis and Jon-Paul Pittman again starting together in attack.
The Grimsby bench was also unchanged, with Paul Bignot, Ross Hannah, Scott Neilson, Craig Clay and Hamish Watson all available as substitutes.
Telford came into the game knowing a win could take them off the foot of the table if Nuneaton were to lose to Chester.
Town had the first shot of the game on five minutes when Arnold’s powerful drive bounced back off keeper Fred Hall, with Pittman unable to control the rebound.
Another chance came a minute later, when Pittman sent John-Lewis through but after beating the offside trap, the striker could not beat the keeper, who pushed the ball away for a corner.
Karl Ledsham was the first home player to call McKeown into action, hitting a shot which the keeper dived to comfortably stop.
John-Lewis fired an effort over the bar for Grimsby after getting the ball on the edge of the penalty area from Mackreth.
Then, on 16 minutes, Pittman collected a long pass from Nsiala to go through on goal but after lifting the ball over the keeper, he could only watch as it also cleared the bar.
Pearson had to concede a corner at the other end soon afterwards but Ryan Higgins’ delivery was cleared by Disley before a foul on Parslow gave the Mariners a free kick.
A cross by Mackreth was headed away on 20 minutes but the ball eventually came for John-Lewis, although he was blocked by Godfrey Poku.
Town had done most of the attacking so far but the hosts won a corner on 23 minutes, which quickly led to another after Magnay put the ball behind following a header across goal by Steve Akrigg.
At the other end, a cross by Mackreth fell for Pittman but his half-volley was well saved by Hall in the Telford goal.
A Telford attack came when John-Lewis gave the ball away and Disley had to concede a corner to stop Tony Gray from having a shooting chance. The delivery from the flag was punched clear by McKeown.
Town then attacked again and after a long ball forward by Pittman, Mackreth beat the first defender but was then crowded out.
A mistake by Parslow led to a Telford attack but Higgins’s shot did not trouble McKeown.
The next home attack did prove costly for the Mariners though, as Telford took the lead against the run of play. Defender PARRY picked the ball up in midfield and advanced before smashing a long-range shot that caught McKeown by surprise as it swerved and beat him.
The goal galvanise Telford and they won another corner on 38 minutes, which was headed away for a throw-in by Pittman.
Arnold shot at keeper Hall from outside the box on 41 minutes, before Magnay overran the ball as he looked to get a cross in from Town’s next attack.
Brown sent a header off-target from a cross by Pittman as the game moved into stoppage time.
And that proved to be the last chance of a half where the Mariners had created the better opportunities but found themselves a goal down at the break.
No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first chance of the second half when Akrigg lost the ball in his own box but Disley’s shot was deflected away for a corner. Hall punched clear from Arnold’s delivery before John-Lewis fired wide after the ball was worked back.
Poku also missed the target at the end of an attacking move by the hosts on 50 minutes, before Ledsham hit a shot which took a deflection off Parslow and went out for a corner that led to Rod McDonald heading over the bar.
A chance for the Mariners came when John-Lewis pulled the ball back for Brown but he could only lift a shot well over the bar from the centre of the penalty area.
Pittman also fired over the bar after being found by Arnold on 56 minutes, as Town kept looking for an equaliser.
And that leveller came a minute later, when Pittman crossed from the left and MACKRETH was there to head it back across Hall and into the net for his first Grimsby goal.
A cross from Mackreth was cleared as Town now set about finding a way to get themselves ahead.
An Arnold corner was headed away by Ledsham and the ball was sent back into the box but Disley could not turn it goalwards.
Neilson replaced Mackreth on 62 minutes as Town made their first substitution, before Higgins shot wide for the home side soon afterwards.
Pittman then went close two minutes later, hitting a shot that Hall touched away for a corner.
Akrigg headed just past the post after getting away from Nsiala to be first to a cross from Kyle Brownhill.
Hannah came on for Pittman with 22 minutes left, before Charlie Barnett replaced Kristian Platt and striker Sam Smith made way for Adam Farrell for the hosts.
Neilson was spoken to by referee Colin Lymer after an off-the-ball incident which also involved Brownhill.
A foul on Neilson then gave Town a free kick in a dangerous position but they were unable to turn it into a goalscoring opportunity.
Josh Hancock was sent on as the third and final Telford substitution was made on 77 minutes.
Nsiala conceded a corner with 10 minutes to go but it was well-defended, with Disley heading clear before Pearson saw the ball out ahead of Barnett.
Neilson cut inside and let fly with a shot that went past the far post as the Mariners kept looking for what would now almost certainly be a winning goal.
Brown then hit one over the bar, before the Mariners had a chance to win it when Arnold found John-Lewis in the box in the first of four added minutes. Town appealed for a penalty when the striker was challenged by Poku as he shot but the referee instead pointed for a corner.
Another corner came in the last of the added minutes and Town could have won it when Pearson got on the end of the ball from the flag but his header cleared the bar.
That meant the Mariners were forced to settle for one point, although they remain second in the league table.
Town are now without a game until December 13, when they begin their FA Trophy campaign against as-yet unknown opposition.
Catch the highlights of this game on Mariners Player.