Grimsby Town 1 - 1 Guiseley
GRIMSBY Town came from a goal down to take a point against Guiseley at Blundell Park.
The Mariners dominated the game but were frustrated by their their visitors, who looked to be executing their game-plan to perfection when they took the lead against the run of play through Oliver Norburn.
Town showed more urgency after the break and eventually got their rewards when Padraig Amond equalised with a little under 20 minutes to go.
It appeared as though only one team was looking to win the game after that but Town were unable to find a breakthrough and instead, had to be content with a draw.
One change was made to the Town starting XI after the derby victory over Lincoln City on Monday, with Gregor Robertson replacing the injured Conor Townsend.
James McKeown started in goal, with Richard Tait, Toto Nsiala, Josh Gowling and Robertson forming the defence.
Nathan Arnold, Craig Disley, Craig Clay and Andy Monkhouse were the midfielders, with Omar Bogle and Amond continuing in attack.
Scott Brown, Shaun Pearson, Jon-Paul Pittman, Marcus Marshall and Danny East were all named as substitutes.
Guiseley were looking to improve on their 18tyh position in the league table and move further clear of relegation danger by registering a positive result.
They included former Grimsby midfielder Danny Boshell in their starting XI, with attackers Tom Craddock and Gavin Rothery expected to provide the main threat to the home defence.
Town, attacking the Pontoon Stand, had the first chance of the game three minutes in, when Bogle dragged a low shot wide after a patient build-up.
The striker saw another effort deflected out for a corner two minutes later but as the ball came across from the flag, referee Alan Young spotted a foul and blew for a Guiseley free kick.
Disley went down with an injury soon afterwards but was passed fit to continue after receiving treatment.
Another opportunity came after the ball broke for Bogle on the edge of the Guiseley penalty area. He gave it to Arnold but the winger’s shot was blocked and bounced back off him for a goal kick.
Town were looking to keep the ball and build up attacks patiently, while Guiseley appeared content to sit back and wait for their hosts to lose possession.
A Monkhouse cross from the left was headed away by defender Danny Lowe, before a foul by Disley gave the visitors a chance to start a spell of possession of their own.
Another chance almost came when a superb through-ball by Nsiala from inside his own half looked to have found Disley on the edge of the box but the midfielder could not control it and the ball went through to visiting keeper Steven Drench.
Clay fired over the bar on 20 minutes after another good build-up involving Bogle and Amond as Town continued to do the attacking.
Clay was involved again on 24 minutes, winning the ball in midfield and giving it to Amond. He then looked to put strike-partner Bogle through but the pass went behind the former Solihull man.
Amond was then caught offside as he looked to run onto a through-ball from Clay as Town kept looking for a way through the Guiseley defence.
The away side’s first attack of note came on 25 minutes and saw Rothery fire over the bar from 20 yards, although a late challenge from Nsiala gave the visitors a free kick in a very dangerous position on the edge of the box. Norburn’s shot hit the Grimsby wall and the ball went through to McKeown.
A powerful shot from Bogle was blocked just after the half-hour, although Town kept possession and built up another attack which ended with Monkhouse shooting wide from 20 yards.
Tait won a corner on the Grimsby right on 36 minutes and after Arnold played it short for Clay, the midfielder’s deep cross was missed by Bogle. Town kept possession but were unable to make it count as a foul by Disley eventually relieved the pressure on the away defence.
Arnold tried a shot from distance as the Mariners continued to dominate but the effort lacked power and bounced into the arms of Drench.
Guiseley had shown little threat as they looked to absorb pressure and get something on the break if given the opportunity.
And their game-plan appeared to be working to perfection when they took the lead against the run of play with five minutes to go before the break. A clearing header from Gowling fell for NORBURN and he thumped a volley past McKeown and into the net from 20 yards.
It was the first goal the Mariners had conceded in five league matches and meant they now had it all to do to keep their winning run going.
One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances created by either side before the referee’s whistle, the visitors went in at the interval with their advantage intact.
Town had done most of the attacking but had been frustrated by their opponents, who got men behind the ball and defended in numbers while showing little attacking intent but got their reward with the only goal so far.
No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first attacking opening of the second half five minutes in. Amond took the ball down the left and sent a good cross over but nobody in black and white was in the right place to convert it.
A late challenge by Ryan Toulson on Monkhouse gave the Mariners a free kick near the halfway line but McKeown’s ball into the box was cleared.
Monkhouse almost got on the end of a low cross from Arnold as Town kept looking for a way through, with Guiseley continuing to frustrate their hosts.
Craddock went down injured and was eventually replaced by Liam Dickinson, although the home fans signalled their frustration after the game was stopped with the Mariners on the attack.
Rothery was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul just after the hour, with Marshall replacing Monkhouse as Paul Hurst made his first change before the kick was taken.
Town then had their best chance of the game so far, when Arnold’s ball from the free kick went through to Gowling but he planted a free header wide of Drench’s far post.
A shot from Bogle was blocked after Amond did well to keep the ball in play and find his strike partner, with Grimsby now showing signs of stepping up the tempo and adding more urgency as they looked for an equaliser.
Bogle was fouled by Lowe on the right edge of the Guiseley box and a free kick was given, with the offence adjudged to be just outside the penalty area. Arnold’s low ball from it went towards Amond but a foul by the Irishman led to an away free kick.
Substitute Dickinson was yellow-carded for a foul on Gowling inside the Grimsby half but again, nothing came from the resulting free kick.
Gowling himself was then booked for a foul as Guiseley looked to launch an attack on the break.
Another yellow card came out soon afterwards, this time for a foul by Boshell, as the game showed some signs of getting out of the referee’s control.
But after it was starting to look like the visitors’ negative tactics might get them maximum reward, the Mariners finally got their equalising goal on 72 minutes. A cross from Robertson on the left was deflected and found its way through to AMOND, who put the ball into the net from close range for 1-1.
The relief around Blundell Park was evident and Town immediately went on the attack again, looking to complete the turnaround.
A powerful drive from Bogle was blocked by Drench at his near post after Brown had replaced Clay in Grimsby’s second substitution.
Another shot from Bogle, this time from further out, was gathered by Drench at the second attempt as Town kept looking for a second goal.
Adam Boyes replaced goalscorer Norburn for the visitors with nine minutes to go, before Will Hatfield became the latest to be shown a yellow card after he brought Marshall down.
A long throw by Tait then bounced in the Guiseley box but Drench managed to get to the loose ball just ahead of the onrushing Disley.
Pittman replaced Arnold as Town switched to three strikers in a bid to force a winning goal with four minutes to go.
And they could have had it when Tait put a high, looping cross into the box but Bogle could only head wide under pressure from Adam Lockwood.
Five additional minutes were signalled by the fourth official and Town were given a free kick for a foul midway inside the Guiseley half in the second of them. Tait’s ball was headed wide by Nsiala.
Town kept going forward but were unable to force that elusive winning goal and as a result, they fell further behind second-placed Forest Green Rovers in the league table.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Welling United