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Grimsby Town 3-0 Dartford

1 November 2014

GRIMSBY Town made it four wins in a row in all competitions as they comfortably beat Dartford at Blundell Park.

The Mariners dominated throughout against their struggling opponents and goals from Carl Magnay, Nathan Arnold and a late Lenell John-Lewis penalty sealed all three points.

Dartford offered little attacking threat throughout the contest as Town kept their fourth clean sheet in five games to give them the perfect start to November after an unbeaten October earned Paul Hurst the Conference Manager of the Month award.

Two changes were made to the Town side that beat Guiseley in the FA Cup last week, with new loan signing Harry Pell and Nathan Arnold replacing Scott Neilson and Ross Hannah.

James McKeown started in goal, with Magnay, Toto Nsiala, Shaun Pearson and Aswad Thomas forming an unchanged back four.

Craig Disley lined up as a holding midfielder, while Pell and Craig Clay formed a central duo and wingers Jack Mackreth and Arnold would support striker John-Lewis.

The Grimsby substitutes were Jon-Paul Pittman, Hannah, Neilson, Paddy McLaughlin and Paul Walker.

Dartford were looking for a result that could take them out of the Conference relegation zone and would look to the likes of captain Elliot Bradbrook, England Under-19 striker Harry Crawford and former Town midfielder Peter Sweeney to deliver the goods.

Pearson headed over the bar from the flag-kick. Town began the game on the front foot and they forced the corner on four minutes when John-Lewis was blocked after being found inside the box by Pell.

Another chance almost came when a free kick was pumped forward by Nsiala but visiting keeper Jason Brown just beat John-Lewis to the ball.

At the other end, a cross from Nathan Collier on the right was dealt with by Pearson as the visitors launched their first attack of note.

A foul on Thomas gave Town a free kick on the left on 13 minutes and from it, they took the lead when Arnold’s ball to the far post was touched in by MAGNAY.

The Mariners were well on top against a Dartford side that was yet to show any attacking threat and they had another opportunity when Arnold passed to John-Lewis but the forward could only scuff his shot through to Brown.

Soon afterwards, Arnold found acres of space on the left side of the penalty area but Mackreth could not pick him out as his cross was cleared.

From the flag, the ball was played short and Clay had a shot blocked from 20 yards. John-Lewis almost profited again on 19 minutes but this time, he was narrowly beaten to the ball in the air and a corner was the result.

A short spell of Dartford pressure came around the 23-minute mark and included a corner on the left but after the hosts struggled to clear their lines completely, a shot from winger Lee Noble was blocked.

The Mariners almost doubled their lead a minute later, when John-Lewis beat Brown to get on the end of a cross from Clay on the left but he could only watch his header drop wide with the keeper stranded.

From it, the ball bounced around the 18-yard line until Magnay sent a shot over the bar. A Magnay cross from the right was cleared by Collier as the home side continued to attack, before a foul on Clay by Noble gave them a free kick inside the Dartford half.

The ball eventually broke for Disley but he could only fire over the bar after controlling it near the penalty spot. Bradbrook was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul near the halfway line on 33 minutes and from the resulting free kick, there was another chance for Town when the Dartford defence failed to clear the ball from Thomas’ delivery.

John-Lewis then dragged a low shot wide of the far post after a good run through the middle by Disley on 35 minutes, as the Mariners continued to completely dominate the game.

Clay found Mackreth on the right and his perfect cross was expertly volleyed home by ARNOLD from 12 yards. It seemed a matter of time before a second Town goal arrived and when they did douoble their lead seven minutes before the break, they did it in style.

A long throw from Mat Mitchell-King was comfortably dealt with as the away side looked to create some danger, with the clock ticking into one minute of added time.

And with no further opportunities during the extra minute, Grimsby’s two-goal advantage remained intact at the interval.

It had been one of the most comfortable halves of football seen at Blundell Park for some time, with the Mariners in total control against a Dartford side which appeared to be lacking any urgency.

No changes were made by either manager before the restart and after a quiet opening to the second half, Dartford’s Crawford forced his way into the Town box on the left but could not pick out a team-mate with his low cross.

Tom Bender then sent a low cross in from the left but it was easily stopped by McKeown, who was yet to be forced into any serious action as the hour approached.

A foul on Noble gave Dartford a free kick inside the Grimsby half but it came to nothing, as Magnay headed the initial delivery away and the follow-up shot from Noble was sliced well wide.

Off went Crawford, Andy Pugh and Daley, to be replaced by Danny Harris, Ryan Hayes and Tom Bradbrook. The away side had seen more of the ball since half-time but manager Tony Burman was clearly unimpressed, as he opted to make a treble substitution on 64 minutes.

Town still looked the more likely to add to the scoring and Pell was the next to try his luck, forcing Brown to get down to stop his powerful 25-yard drive.

A good Grimsby move on 70 minutes saw John-Lewis find Clay on the right and he pulled the ball back for Arnold, who saw a shot blocked.

Good work by Thomas then thwarted Hayes, who had set off on a run through the middle for the visitors.

A foul by Disley gave the away side a free kick in a dangerous position on the right with 15 minutes to go but it was well-defended by the Mariners, with Thomas clearing before a return ball into the box went through to McKeown.

Pell then drove through the middle for Town and opted to shoot from the edge of the box but his effort took a deflection and bounced harmlessly through to keeper Brown.

Disley was given a warning by the referee after another foul on Noble but again, Dartford were unable to cause any significant problems from the resulting free kick.

McKeown was forced to tip the ball over his bar though as a cross from Hayes on the right drifted towards goal soon afterwards.

JOHN-LEWIS took the spot-kick himself and confidently dispatched it, sending Brown the wrong way. Pittman replaced Mackreth for Town with nine minutes to go and four minutes later, the hosts were given the opportunity to make it 3-0 when John-Lewis was pulled down inside the box by Mitchell-King as he met a free kick.

Arnold and Disley made way for Hannah and McLaughlin as Town boss Hurst made his final two substitutions with two minutes left to play.

Four additional minutes were signalled at the end of the regulation 90 and the hosts kept pushing for a fourth goal.

They nearly had it through a half-volley by McLaughlin but the effort bounced back off the post.

But ultimately, they would settle for three goals and the three points which saw them move further towards the play-off positions.

Town are next in action when they travel to Braintree on Tuesday.

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