Altrincham 2-1 Grimsby Town
GRIMSBY Town slipped to their first defeat of the season as Altrincham ran out 2-1 winners at Moss Lane.
The Mariners went behind on 12 minutes as George Bowerman was adjudged to have forced the ball over the line from a home corner.
Town slowly managed to get themselves back into the game and they were level on the scoreboard before half-time, when Omar Bogle scored his third goal in the last three games.
That goal, coupled with a lively opening to the second half, gave the 825 travelling Grimsby fans hope that their team was about to go on and win the game.
But instead, the home side got themselves ahead again when Bowerman struck for the second time and they were able to see it out to secure their first win of the campaign.
Town boss Paul Hurst named the same starting XI for the third game in a row, as he kept faith with the players who had secured two successive 4-1 home victories.
That meant defenders Richard Tait, Toto Nsiala, Josh Gowling and Danny East lined up in front of goalkeeper James McKeown.
Nathan Arnold, Craig Disley, Craig Clay and Andy Monkhouse were the midfielders, with Bogle and Padraig Amond starting in attack.
The substitutes’ bench was also unchanged, with Gregor Robertson, Shaun Pearson, Jack Mackreth, Josh Venney and Harry Clifton all awaiting their chance.
Altrincham came into the game sitting bottom of the table and still waiting for their first goal and first points of the season.
Amond headed an East cross over the bar from Grimsby’s first attack two minutes in but it would not have counted had it gone in the net, as the offside flag was raised against the striker.
Altrincham’s first attack of note then came from a long throw but it did not lead to any problems for McKeown as George Bowerman failed to connect with an overhead kick.
A shot from Bowerman was gathered by McKeown at the second attempt after former Town striker Michael Rankine had done well to hold off Nsiala on seven minutes.
Bogle fired a shot straight at home keeper Stuart Coburn with 10 minutes on the clock, before Bowerman won a corner for the hosts at the other end two minutes later.
And the flag-kick led to the deadlock being broken, as the ball went across goal and was forced over the line by BOWERMAN, with the assistant referee signalling and the referee duly awarding the goal, despite an initial lack of home celebrations.
A Town cross was cleared for a throw as they looked for an instant response. Nsiala was then fouled to bring about a Grimsby free kick, although Arnold’s ball beat everybody and went out for a goal kick.
Another Arnold free kick was cleared on 22 minutes, before a flicked header from Amond went through to keeper Coburn.
At the other end, a cross-shot from Jake Moult had to be tipped over the bar for a corner by McKeown, although this time, the flag-kick was cleared by Gowling.
Bogle went down inside the Altrincham box under a challenge in front of the travelling Town fans on 25 minutes but the referee waved play on.
Another Altrincham corner caused no concerns for the Town defence as a shot was lifted over the bar.
Moult was off-target with another shot just before the half-hour, as the hosts continued to create the better opportunities.
But the Mariners had an unexpected half-chance when an attempted clearance from Coburn hit Amond and ricocheted back, although it dropped wide for a goal kick.
Bogle looked to work an opening after getting the ball from East on 34 minutes but he was unable to create a chance as it went through to the keeper.
Clay then lost possession in the Town midfield but the error ultimately went unpunished, as Moult failed to find James Lawrie.
Better play by the Mariners saw Arnold do well to get a cross in for Amond but the striker was unable to profit, as he headed across goal and out of play for a goal kick.
Bogle hit the side-netting with a shot six minutes before the break as the visitors continued to come back into the game after their slow start.
Town won a corner on the left a minute later but Arnold’s kick was headed over the bar by Nsiala.
The next time the Mariners attacked, they had their leveller, as Arnold found BOGLE inside the box and he did the rest, steering a left-footed shot past Coburn to make it 1-1.
A corner came at the other end after Rankine had got the better of Nsiala but the kick did not lead to a goalscoring opportunity.
East curled a shot which went straight to the home keeper as Grimsby looked to complete a turnaround in the scoreline before the break.
One added minute was played at the end of the half and another Town corner led to Nsiala again heading over the bar in what proved to be the last action of the half.
The Mariners had taken a while to get into the game but had ensured they went into the dressing rooms level at a goal apiece.
No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first opportunity of the second half, with Arnold firing wide.
A Grimsby free kick in a central position six minutes in was hit by Bogle but he could only watch his 35-yard effort cannon back off the post.
East then saw a cross headed out for a corner as Town continued to look for a second goal, although they were kept out on this occasion by Coburn, who produced a quickfire double save from Clay and then Disley.
Arnold was the next to have a shot saved after cutting inside, with Grimsby now dominating the game.
But their hard work was undone when the hosts reclaimed the advantage on the hour. McKeown failed to deal with a cross and after he pushed the ball down, BOWERMAN was there to stab it into the net off Gowling.
Town would have to come from behind for a second time in the game and they won a corner almost immediately but could not profit from it, as Amond headed over the bar.
Rankine saw a diving header saved by McKeown, before goalscorer Bowerman was replaced by Nicky Clee for the hosts.
Gowling was booked for a foul on Rankine, before the first Grimsby substitution saw Mackreth come on in place of Monkhouse.
Jordan Sinnott smashed a shot over the bar after Lawrie had been left unmarked in the Town box, with the Mariners living dangerously at 2-1 down.
Sinnott was then replaced by Josh O’Keefe, before McKeown was called into action to push a shot from Rankine away for a corner.
The Mariners were pushing for a second equaliser and East won a corner after his shot was deflected over the bar.
Before the corner could be taken, the game stopped after what appeared to be a serious injury to defender Tom Marshall, who was replaced by Damian Reeves.
The corner was eventually taken but it was cleared by the home defence.
Town now looked to be heading for defeat but they were given hope when 10 minutes of added time was signalled by the fourth official.
Pearson was sent on in place of Tait and he took up an unfamiliar position in attack as the Mariners looked to try and salvage a point.
Nsiala was booked in the fifth of the added minutes, before Pearson got to an East cross but could not put it into the net.
A late free kick saw McKeown join the attack but the ball was eventually cleared as far as East on halfway. Town kept possession until a free kick was given for a high foot after an attempted overhead kick on the edge of the home penalty area.
Mackreth saw a cross cleared as Town continued to push forward but they were unable to find a way through, meaning they would return home empty-handed.
The Mariners will now have to pick themselves up for Saturday’s home game against Torquay United.