Grimsby Town 0-0 Shrewsbury Town
GRIMSBY Town and Shrewsbury Town will have to try again to find a winner after their FA Cup second round tie at Blundell Park ended goalless.
In an entertaining tie in front of the live BT Sport television cameras, the Mariners were the better side throughout and created several good chances which on another night, might have led to them winning the game.
Padraig Amond and Conor Townsend both hit the bar but try as they might, the hosts could not force a breakthrough and they now face a replay in Shropshire next week.
One change was made to the Town side that beat Kidderminster last time out, with Jon-Paul Pittman replacing Alex Jones in attack.
Otherwise, it was as you were, with James McKeown in goal, behind a back four of Richard Tait, Toto Nsiala, Josh Gowling and Townsend.
Nathan Arnold, Craig Disley, Craig Clay and Andy Monkhouse were the midfielders, with Pittman joined up front by Amond.
Seven substitutes are allowed in the FA Cup, so Scott Brown, Gregor Robertson, Shaun Pearson, Omar Bogle, Connor Henderson and Jones were all given places on the home bench.
The visitors included former Sunderland attacker Liam Lawrence in their starting XI, although ex-Town striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro had to be content with a place among the substitutes.
An early foul on Disley brought a yellow card for Shrewsbury’s Junior Brown and a free kick for the mariners in a promising position to the right of centre. Townsend’s ball was headed out for a corner, which was cleared.
A corner at the other end had a similar result, before the hosts attacked again, with a Pittman shot deflected out behind for another flag-kick.
Town had made a lively start but their visitors attacked down the right on eight minutes and Nsiala had to cut out a cross at the expense of a corner. From it, Anthony Gerrard headed at McKeown.
A foul on Townsend on the left led to a free kick on 10 minutes but after Arnold squared the ball to Clay, he could only fire wide from 20 yards.
A shot by striker James Collins was blocked for a corner three minutes later but again, Gerrard could not make his header count.
Both teams were looking to attack in an open first part of the game and it was Grimsby’s turn again on 14 minutes, with Clay twisting and turning to work an opening on the edge of the box but seeing his shot blocked for another corner.
At the other end, a free kick was pumped into the Town box but defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival was penalised for a foul as he looked to meet the ball.
Pittman had a chance to open the scoring on 19 minutes after collecting a pass and cutting inside but he could not beat visiting keeper Jason Leutwiler, who dived to his right to push the shot away from danger.
Collins was spoken to by the referee after a poor challenge on Disley five minutes later but no further action was deemed necessary by the official.
Another opportunity for the Mariners came with a brilliant piece of football two minutes before the half-hour. A superb chip through by Pittman was met by Amond but his volley on the turn skimmed off the top of the bar on its way out for a goal kick.
Town had been the livelier of the two sides and they almost had another chance on 32 minutes when Pittman turned in the box and crossed but Arnold could not get on the end of it and the visitors eventually cleared.
Soon afterwards, a chipped cross from Arnold on the right was well watched by Leutwiler, who claimed it at his far post.
At the other end, Shrewsbury attacks had not come as often, although a cross from Brown on 37 minutes had to be dealt with by Gowling, who headed it away.
Appeals for a Town penalty came when Townsend looked to get on the end of a lay-off from Arnold the box before going down in a challenge with Leutwiler. The keeper got to the ball first but came off worst and a long delay came while he received treatment for what looked like a bad injury, before being carried off on a stretcher and replaced by Mark Halstead.
The game restarted with a Town corner and Halstead’s first involvement was to push it away from danger, as six minutes of added time were signalled by the fourth official.
Arnold cut inside and tried to work some space for a shot on the edge of the Shrewsbury box in the fourth of the extra minutes but he was successfully crowded out by defenders.
The visitors thought they should have had a corner soon afterwards after winger Sulley Kailai had got into the penalty area but the referee instead pointed for a goal kick after Disley’s challenge.
The remainder of the additional period passed without incident, meaning the scores remained level at the interval.
Town had created the better chances and would have been confident of finding a breakthrough in the second half, while Shrewsbury would look to step their tempo up after half-time.
No further changes were made before the restart and an early Shrewsbury corner had to be dealt with after Scott Vernon was blocked.
Pittman then did well to win a flag-kick on the left for the Mariners and from it, Nsiala met the ball at the far post but could only send his header wide.
Another promising moment for the hosts came on 52 minutes, when Tait set off on a run down the right before driving the ball across goal, only to see it go just wide of the far post.
Nsiala was booked for a foul inside the centre circle two minutes later but the away side were unable to make anything of the set-piece opportunity.
Another free kick came soon afterwards and this time, it was floated into the box by Lawrence, although McKeown claimed it comfortably.
A foul by Disley earned him a yellow card on the hour but again, no danger came from the resulting free kick.
Soon afterwards, Town were inches away from taking the lead when a cross from Townsend on the left caught the wind and sailed over keeper Halstead but came back off the angle between post and crossbar. The ball was put out for a corner and after it was cleared as far as Arnold, he shot wide from 18 yards.
That proved to be the start of a frantic spell, with chances at both ends in quick succession.
Shrewsbury were first to threaten when Vernon went through on goal but was denied by McKeown, then Monkhouse forced Halstead into a good save from hi stinging, 30-yard drive.
And town went close again on 67 minutes, when Townsend hit a free kick from 25 yards that Halstead had to push out for a corner.
The home pressure continued with another corner, although this time, Brown was in the right place to head it clear.
Soon afterwards, Shrewsbury were given a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the Town box but the shot from it was blocked by Clay.
The visitors went closer with their next opportunity, as Kaikai flashed a volley over the bar after being set up by Colins.
A chance for Town then came on 73 minutes, after Pittman had done well to chase the ball down near the left corner flag. He was fouled but the referee played a good advantage and Amond took the ball on but put his shot over the bar from a narrow angle. Gedrrard was then booked for the foul on Pittman.
Bogle replaced Pittman in Grimsby’s first substitution and his first involvement was to win a corner after a run down the left. Arnold’s delivery was headed clear.
Shrewsbury boss Micky Mellon responded with a double substitution, sending Akpa Akpro on in place of Vernon and Tyrone Barnett on for Collins.
Town were looking the more likely to force a winner and Bogle went close on 80 minutes, lifting a shot from the right of the box just over the bar at the far post.
The hosts were on the attack again with five minutes to go and again, could have opened the scoring. Monkhouse squared the ball for Clay and he let fly from 25 yards but the ball went narrowly wide.
Town boss Paul Hurst then made a double change in a bid to force a winner, sending on strikers Alabi and Jones for Arnold and Amond.
Four added minutes were signalled as the Mariners kept attacking in a bid to avoid a replay and another penalty appeal was waved away after Bogle went down inside the box.
Barnett hit a shot at McKeown in the third of the added minutes, before Jones sent a drive just over the bar for Town at the other end.
Shrewsbury were then given a last chance to attack with a free kick midway inside the Town half, although it led to no danger. Town broke but they, too, could not fashion a chance in front of goal and the referee’s final whistle then brought an end to the contest.
The two teams will now have to try again to find a winner, who will then advance to face an away trip to Cardiff City in the third round