Grimsby Town 4-1 Aldershot
GRIMSBY Town came from a goal down to record a convincing win against Aldershot at Blundell Park.
The Mariners dominated the first half but found themselves behind at the break after Charlie Walker struck for the visitors.
Town had their equaliser nine minutes into the second half, when Omar Bogle scored from the penalty spot.
Padraig Amond completed the turnaround on the hour, before Bogle saw a second penalty saved by substitute goalkeeper Dan Thomas.
The striker later managed to grab his second and Grimsby’s third goal though, making the points safe before Nathan Arnold added extra gloss to the scoreline with a late fourth.
The Grimsby starting XI was unchanged after last week’s away victory at Boreham Wood got the team back to winning ways.
That meant goalkeeper James McKeown was protected by a four-man defence of Danny East, Toto Nsiala, Shaun Pearson and Gregor Robertson.
Arnold began on the right of midfield, with Craig Disley partnered by Matt Robinson in the middle and Andy Monkhouse starting on the left.
Bogle and Amond were the strikers, while Richard Tait, Jack Mackreth, Craig Clay, Josh Venney and Jon-Paul Pittman were all named as substitutes.
For Aldershot, all eyes were on former Town striker Richard Brodie, who scored the winning goal on his last return to Blundell Park, in the colours of Southport last season.
Another former Mariner, Sam Hatton, had to be content with a place on the visitors’ bench.
Town had the first attack of the game in the opening minute, with Bogle making progress down the left and seeing a shot deflected behind for a corner. That led to a second corner, which was caught by keeper Phil Smith.
Dan Walker had the first shot for the visitors three minutes later but his effort did not trouble McKeown, who watched it sail over his bar.
The Mariners were seeing more of the ball than their opponents in the early stages and they could have taken the lead on nine minutes. A good passing move eventually led to a shooting chance for Arnold inside the penalty area but he could not keep the ball down and it went over the bar for a goal kick.
Both teams were looking to keep the ball on the ground where possible, adapting to the windy conditions, which made for some attractive football.
Another chance for Town came at the end of a possession move just before the quarter-hour, with Bogle eventually firing wide from the edge of the box.
Arnold had an effort blocked after a ball across the box by Robinson, with the winger unable to generate the power needed to divert it goalwards.
A foul by defender Luke Oliver gave the hosts a free kick on the right on 23 minutes but Arnold’s ball was headed clear.
Bogle then fired wide again a minute later after a long ball from McKeown had been headed on by Monkhouse.
Town were still dominating the game as the half-hour approached but were yet to seriously test visiting keeper Smith.
And they were made to pay on 30 minutes, when a foul by Nsiala on Brodie gave Aldershot the free kick from which they took the lead. The ball was played by Nick Anderton to the far post, where the giant Oliver sent it back across goal for WALKER to volley into the net.
The away side had shown little attacking threat for the most part but had taken their chance when it came, leaving the Mariners with work to do.
They almost posted an immediate reply though, with Arnold flashing a powerful shot wide of the far post.
The game then paused after Smith went down injured and after he was deemed unfit to continue, Dan Thomas replaced him between the Aldershot sticks.
An opportunity for Town almost came on 40 minutes, when Bogle and East played a one-two before the right-back crossed towards the far post. Thomas managed to get a hand to the ball though, taking it away from danger.
The visitors then had a chance to double their lead when Dan Walker beat Robertson to the ball and advanced forward into the penalty area. He could not apply a finish though, as his weak shot led to McKeown making a comfortable stop.
Two added minutes were signalled at the end of the half and the Mariners went on the attack, looking to force an equaliser before the break.
Bogle won a corner in the second of the extra minutes and from it, a header was cleared off the line before the offside flag came to the away side’s rescue as the ball was returned into the penalty area.
That proved to be Grimsby’s last opportunity to get on the scoreboard before the half-time whistle, leaving them with plenty still to do after the interval.
No changes were made before the restart and the home side’s first attack of note came three minutes in, when Amond controlled the ball on the edge of the box and hit a volley that keeper Thomas dived to push away for a corner.
Robinson then saw a shot deflected out for another corner and from it, the Mariners had the ball in the net but not before the referee’s whistle had blown for a shirt-pull by Amond.
A third corner in relatively quick succession came on 51 minutes but Oliver won the header and got the ball away from danger.
Oliver was in the right place at the right time again soon afterwards, heading a cross from Arnold over his bar for yet another corner.
That came to nothing but the ball was at the flag again a minute later. This time, Arnold’s ball to the far post led to Bogle going down under a challenge and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. BOGLE got up to convert from the spot, sending the ball to the keeper’s right to make it 1-1.
A corner at the other end soon afterwards gave Aldershot an almost immediate opportunity to snatch their advantage back but Brodie could not take it, shooting wide at the near post.
Monkhouse headed at Thomas from a right-wing cross by Arnold as Town searched for a second goal that would complete the turnaround.
Hatton came on for Charlie Harris as the visitors made their second substitution just before the hour.
But seconds later, the Mariners had the lead for the first time in the game. Robertson took advantage of a slip in the away defence to work his way into the box and when he pulled the ball back, AMOND was there to guide it into the net from 10 yards.
Grimsby were now well on top and another two corners came in quick succession around the 62-minute mark, although they could not make either of them count.
Another flag-kick came on 67 minutes but Brodie got the ball away after Disley had challenged for the header.
Robertson had a shot blocked soon afterwards, before Bogle brought the ball into the box moments later and after he was brought down by Oliver, the referee pointed for a second penalty and booked the defender. This time though, Bogle could not find the net from the spot, as he again chose to go to Thomas’ right and this time, the keeper dived to make the save.
A free kick driven in by Anderton was comfortably stopped by McKeown at his near post, before another one from much deeper was caught by the Town keeper.
Bogle battled well to win a corner on the right on 77 minutes and from it, Pearson almost made it 3-1 but his header was stopped by Thomas.
Matt Barnes-Homer replaced Charlie Walker as Shots boss Barry Smith made his final change of the game and soon afterwards, Amond was denied by Thomas, who made a good save at the expense of a corner.
Next time Town went forward, they made the points safe, as Monkhouse found BOGLE inside the box and after working an opening, the striker sent a right-footed shot past Thomas, whose fingertips could not prevent it from going into the far corner of the net.
Bogle’s second of the game made the points safe but there was still time for extra gloss to be added to the scoreline. Bogle, looking to complete his hat-trick, was blocked by Thomas but ARNOLD took advantage of the rebound, firing left-footed into the net for 4-1.
Robinson, Amond and Arnold were replaced by Clay, Pittman and Tait for the remainder of the game, with the points now won.
The rest of the game was played out without any further incidents and after four added minutes, the Mariners were able to celebrate a second consecutive victory.
They are next in action on Tuesday at Chester.