REPORT: Grimsby Town 2-2 Carlisle United
GRIMSBY Town twice came from behind to earn a draw with Carlisle United at Blundell Park.
The visitors took the lead at the end of a first half which had been low on genuine chances, with striker Charlie Wyke capitalising on a mistake by Town keeper James McKeown.
But the Mariners recovered and were level within five minutes of the restart as Omar Bogle struck from the penalty spot after Kayden Jackson was brought down inside the box.
Carlisle reclaimed their advantage when Zak Mills scored an unfortunate own goal but the hosts rallied and got their second equaliser through Tom Bolarinwa.
One change was made to the Town side after the fantastic win at league leaders Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, with Bolarinwa replacing Ashley Chambers as they turned their attention to the second-placed Cumbrians.
McKeown started in goal, with Mills, Danny Collins, Josh Gowling and Danny Andrew in defence.
Bolarinwa began on the right, with James Berrett, Luke Summerfield and Brandon Comley forming a central midfield trio and Jackson on the left, supporting striker Bogle.
The Grimsby substitutes were Shaun Pearson, Craig Disley, Dominic Vose, Rhys Browne, Scott Vernon, Dan Jones and Dean Henderson.
Carlisle came to Cleethorpes sitting in second place in the League Two table after late goals secured a dramatic 3-2 victory over Exeter City at the weekend.
A long throw by Carlisle right-back Tom Miller led to the game’s first corner on two minutes when Collins headed the ball out but the flag-kick failed to cause any problems as referee Nigel Miller spotted an infringement and gave a free kick in favour of the Mariners.
A free kick for a foul on Wyke inside the Town half then led to defender Michael Raynes looping a header over the bar.
The home side’s first attack of note came on eight minutes and saw Jackson hit a low shot wide of the target after being picked out by a cross-field ball from Mills.
A foul on Collins gave the Mariners a free kick on the halfway line and Andrew’s delivery into the penalty area was not dealt with by the visitors. The ball was worked back to Andrew and his cross was cleared but Town kept possession and eventually won a corner on the right.
A moment of danger for the home side came on 13 minutes when Summerfield gave the ball away inside his own half but after taking it forward, winger Reggie Lambe could only shoot wide of McKeown’s target.
A free kick played into the box by Carlisle’s Danny Grainger was dealt with by the Grimsby defence, before a home attack was stopped when Miller did well to beat Bolarinwa to the ball on the right and clear.
Good pressure soon afterwards led to a home corner on the right but the ball from the flag was headed clear by Wyke.
Town’s best opportunity so far came when Bolarinwa picked the ball up in midfield and raced forward before his cross took a deflection on its way through to Bogle. The striker shot from a narrow angle but visiting keeper Mark Gillespie was able to block it for a corner, which led to Summerfield sending a cross out of play for a goal kick.
Neither goalkeeper had been seriously tested in an opening quarter of the game which had seen both sides largely cancel each other out, with few genuine chances created.
That could have changed when the ball was played through for Bogle but he was hauled back by Raynes, who was shown the evening’s first yellow card. The resulting free kick was whipped into the box by Summerfield but Bogle’s header was cleared for a corner.
Another opportunity came from the flag-kick, with the ball breaking for Bogle to fire an overhead kick wide.
Carlisle’s main attacking threat was coming through long throws by Miller, although the Town defence seemed equal to them and McKeown had still not been called into any serious action as the clock ticked past the half-hour.
A chipped cross from the away left was headed out for a corner on 36 minutes but McKeown got a hand to the ball from the flag before it was brought clear of danger.
Another long throw from Miller led to Jason Kennedy hitting a overhead kick just wide of the far post, before a foul by Gowling earned him a yellow card and gave Carlisle a free kick on the edge of the Town box. The opportunity was not taken though, with Nicky Adams firing over the bar.
The away side had started to take control of possession though and with a minute to go before the break, they took control of the game by grabbing the opening goal. It came when a mistake by McKeown led to WYKE being presented with the ball and he took the opportunity, finding the empty net from close range.
One added minute was played before the referee’s half-time whistle brought the half to a close, with Carlisle in the lead and Town with plenty of work to do after the interval to get back into the game.
Disley replaced Comley for the Mariners before the restart as Berrett was pushed forward into a more advanced position behind Bogle.
Raynes was forced into conceding an early corner on the Town left and it led to another on the opposite flank after Berrett knocked the ball against Kennedy.
This time, Gowling was beaten to Summerfield’s delivery but the Mariners worked it back through Jackson and he was brought down inside the penalty area as he shaped to shoot. The referee pointed to the spot and BOGLE stepped up to drill the ball into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards to level the scores with five minutes of the half gone.
Town were now resurgent and a god pass from Berrett sent Bogle away through the middle, although he was crowded out by defenders before he could shoot.
Bolarinwa was adjudged to have fouled Kennedy to give the away side a free kick on the left, although Adams’ ball was too close to McKeown and the keeper claimed a comfortable catch.
Soon afterwards, Wyke was brought down on the opposite wing and this time, Adams played the ball low into the box for Kennedy but his shot was stopped by McKeown.
At the other end, a shot on the turn by Bogle was blocked for a corner but Summerfield’s delivery went straight into Gillespie’s arms.
A chance almost came for Berrett after a pass from Andrew but neither he nor Bogle could bring the ball fully under control and the visitors were able to clear.
Jabo Ibhere replaced Lambe in Carlisle manager Keith Curle’s first substitution with 65 minutes on the clock, before Bogle was spoken to by the referee after a foul on Grainger.
Town had looked to be controlling the game but they went behind again in cruel fashion on 67 minutes.
Ibhere beat the offside trap to get to the ball on the right and after he sent a low ball across the six-yard line, the unfortunate Mills stuck a boot out and diverted it past McKeown for an own goal.
The goal seemed to have shaken the Mariners and Carlisle immediately went in search of a killer third.
Town boss Marcus Bignot responded with an attacking substitution, sending Vose on in place of Berrett in a bid to get back into the contest.
A Carlisle corner from the right was cleared and the hosts had an opportunity of their own soon afterwards, with Vose curling an effort just wide of the far post.
A foul on Bogle on the halfway line gave Town another chance to attack but Mills’ high ball into the box went straight through to keeper Gillespie.
The Mariners did get themselves level soon afterwards though. A long throw from Mills led to a wild attempted shot from Summerfield finding its way back to the right-back. He kept it alive and crossed and after the ball went to BOLARINWA, he had the simple task of tapping it into the net from close range after his initial header was blocked.
Suddenly, Town were in the ascendency and they went close to taking the lead for the first time in the game when the ball was laid off for Disley on the edge of the box, although the midfielder’s volley dropped just wide.
Mike Jones was booked for a foul on Mills on the Grimsby right with eight minutes to go but Vose’s free kick was cleared.
A stoppage came when Jones went down with an injury and he was eventually replaced by Joe McKee.
Town’s final change then saw Browne come on for Jackson as the hosts looked for a late goal to win the game.
Five added minutes were signalled as the Mariners continued to attack, with the away side now looking to secure a point.
Derek Asamoah replaced Adams for the final three minutes and the visitors could have snatched a winner when the ball was played to Luke Joyce on the edge of the box. The home fans breathed a sigh of relief though, as his shot sailed over the bar.
Mills had to turn the ball away for a throw-in and a shot from McKee was charged down as Town kept their opponents out before attacking in search of one final opportunity to claim all three points.
But that chance was not to come as the final whistle ended the game with the scores level and both sides forced to settle for a point apiece.
The Mariners are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Crawley Town