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Match Reports

Match Report: Notts County 0-0 Grimsby Town

Town earn a point with a solid defensive display

16 December 2017

Grimsby Town extended their unbeaten run to four games and made it 10 points from the last possible 12 as they earned a goalless draw against high-flying Notts County at Meadow Lane.

In a game of few genuine chances, the Mariners defended well throughout to become only the third team to return with a point from a Notts side who remain unbeaten at home in the league this season.

Backed by 1,500 travelling supporters, Town created the better opportunities in the first half and kept their hosts at bay after the break in a solid performance to preserve a clean sheet and ensure a share of the spoils.

Town boss Russell Slade again named an unchanged starting XI, although there was a change on the bench as the fit-again James Berrett came back into the matchday squad.

James McKeown started in goal, with Zak Mills, Nathan Clarke, Danny Collins and Ben Davies forming the defence.

Siriki Dembele, Mitch Rose, Luke Summerfield and Diallang Jaiyesimi were the midfielders, with Sam Jones and Jamille Matt lining up in attack.

Berrett was joined among the substitutes by Ben Killip, Paul Dixon, Karleigh Osborne, JJ Hooper, Martyn Woolford and Scott Vernon.

Notts came into the game as joint-leaders of League Two and were looking for another win which could see them take over as outright leaders of the division, depending on other results.

They would look to experienced strikers Shola Ameobi and Jon Stead to make the difference in attack.

An early shot from Ameobi was deflected wide for a corner, which was eventually cleared after Elliott Hewitt had initially won the ball.

Town's first attack of note then saw Matt hit an effort which was deflected through to home keeper Ross Fitzsimons.

Dembele did well to win a corner on eight minutes and Summerfield's delivery was put out for another one on the opposite side.  This time, it was flicked away for a throw-in, which led to Matt having a shot blocked and after the ball ricocheted to Summerfield, it looped towards goal but was tipped over the bar by Fitzsimons.

The Town pressure continued when Dembele did well to bring the ball down and put a cross in but he was unable to find Matt.

A quick break from the hosts after Dembele lost possession was foiled by Mills, who got enough on the ball to send it out for a throw.

Matt had a chance on 21 minutes after getting the ball from Jaiyesimi but after the striker turned, his shot was blocked for a corner by Fitzsimons.  The flag-kick from Summerfield also found Matt, who turned and volleyed at the keeper.

A foul by Mills gave the hosts a free kick in a dangerous position on 27 minutes but the danger from it was dealt with by the Mariners, as McKeown got a glove to the ball before Clarke completed the clearance.

A foul by Jones on midfielder Ryan Yates gave Notts another opportunity to get the ball into the penalty area but McKeown came off his line to claim Carl Dickinson's delivery from the right, with the goalkeeper losing the ball but getting a free kick for a foul.

The home side had a spell of pressure around the 35-minute mark, winning three corners in quick succession, but Town stood up to it well in defence and were eventually able to clear.

Jones was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon after another foul on Yates on 38 minutes and this time, it was Matt who managed to get the ball clear from the resulting free kick after it had been flicked on towards the far post.

Notts were now having most of the ball in attacking areas, aided by a string of free kicks, but Town were defending well, with Mills the latest to deal with a threat from a set-piece.

A cross from Jaiyesimi was caught by Fitzsimons, before the Norwich loanee won a corner on the right, which led to a free kick being given against Collins.

That came at the end of one additional minute played at the end of the first half and with no further action of note, the game remained goalless at half-time.

No changes were made before the restart and most of the early Town attacks in the second half came through throw-ins which caused no serious problems for the home backline.

The visitors looked to have gone closer to opening the scoring when a diving header from Matt went just wide after a cross by Clarke but the offside flag had gone up against the striker.

At the other end, McKeown claimed a cross as Notts aimed to create some danger of their own with 55 minutes on the clock.

Rose and Hewitt were spoken to by the referee after an off-the-ball altercation two minutes later, before Jones was penalised for a foul but escaped a second booking.

Dembele fired off-target after doing well to make his way into the Notts penalty area, before a free kick at the other end was headed wide by Yates, who then collided with McKeown and had to receive treatment after staying down.

McKeown was booked after he raced out of his penalty area but was beaten to the ball by Stead, who was brought down by the keeper.  The resulting free kick from George Grant was punched clear.

The first substitution of the game saw Vernon replace Matt up front for Town, before Davies did enough to stop Ameobi from having a chance inside the Grimsby box.

Jaiyesimi went down in the box at the other end soon afterwards but no action was taken, before Notts attacked again, with a ball across goal getting a deflection to take it out for a corner.

The game was moving from end to end as both sides searched for what was looking increasingly likely to be a decisive first goal.

Woolford replaced Jaiyesimi before another home corner, which was headed away by the winger in what was his first touch.

Home manager Kevin Nolan made a double substitution with 10 minutes to go, sending on Jonathan Forte and Lewis Alessandra on in place of Stead and Hawkridge in an attempt to force a breakthrough.

Another Town penalty appeal was turned down after Rose went down inside the box, before Forte hit a shot off-target from 25 yards at the other end.

A long throw from Clarke with three minutes to go failed to find its target and the hosts cleared.

Four added minutes were signalled and a foul on Vernon in the third of them gave Town a chance to get the ball into the danger area.  Hooper, who had come on for Dembele for the closing stages, won the ball before a cross came in that keeper Fitzsimons got to first.

That proved to be the last chance of the game as Grimsby's excellent defensive display got them their reward of a deserved point.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they face another tough task as they travel to league leaders Luton Town.

Notts County

34 Ross Fitzsimons 
2 Matt Tootle 
3 Carl Dickinson
5 Richard Duffy (C) 
16 Shaun Brisley 
22 Ryan Yates 
11 Terry Hawkridge
4 Elliott Hewitt 
10 Jorge Grant 
9 Shola Ameobi 
30 Jon Stead

13 Branislav Pindroch 
19 Nicky Hunt 
23 Daniel Jones 
24 Robert Milsom 
17 Alan Smith
7 Lewis Alessandra 
14 Jonathan Forte


1 James McKeown 
2 Ben Davies 
12 Zak Mills 
6 Danny Collins 
5 Nathan Clarke (C) 
8 Mitch Rose 
27 Siriki Dembele 
19 Luke Summerfield 
20 Diallang Jaiyesimi 
10 Sam Jones 
29 Jamille Matt


30 Ben Killip 
3 Paul Dixon 
14 Karleigh Osborne 
7 James Berrett 
25 Martyn Woolford 
9 JJ Hooper 
21 Scott Vernon

Attendance: 8016 (1500)

Referee: Craig Hicks

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