Morecambe 1-0 Grimsby Town
GRIMSBY Town slipped to a disappointing defeat on their first-ever visit to Morecambe’s Globe Arena.
In wet, windy conditions on the Lancashire coast, a single goal from Lee Molyneux with less than two minutes on the clock proved enough to settle the contest.
Town had plenty of the ball but failed to seriously test the home defence on enough occasions to get themselves back into the contest.
And the hosts could have added to their lead but saw two goals ruled out, although in the end, Molyneux’s strike proved to be enough.
Town boss Marcus Bignot named an unchanged starting XI after last Saturday’s 3-0 home success against Mansfield Town.
That meant goalkeeper James McKeown was protected by a four-man defence of Zak Mills, Shaun Pearson, Danny Collins and Danny Andrew.
Gavin Gunning began in front of the back four, with Chris Clements and Jamey Osborne in the centre of midfield and Tom Bolarinwa behind strikers Calum Dyson and Sam Jones.
The substitutes were Ben Davies, Craig Disley, Andrew Boyce, Brandon Comley, Adi Yussuf, Akwasi Asante and Luke Maxwell.
Morecambe came into the game having won three and drawn one of their previous five fixtures in League Two, with Jim Bentley’s men looking to extend that good run of form.
They would look to the likes of veteran attacker Kevin Ellison and his strike partner Paul Mullin to provide the firepower.
The hosts won the first corner of the game inside the opening minute and from it, they opened the scoring. Michael Rose’s left-wing delivery was played low to MOLYNEUX on the edge of the box and he swept a shot beyond McKeown and into the far corner of the net.
Town’s response saw them win a throw-in on the right but referee Darren Handley spotted a foul as Mills’ long throw came into the penalty area and a free kick was given to the hosts.
A cross from Bolarinwa on the right was headed clear for a throw-in, before a ball from Mills was headed straight at home keeper Barry Roche by Gunning.
A foul on Mills by Antony Evans gave the Mariners a free kick on the right on 13 minutes. Andrew looked to catch Roche out at his near post but the shot went wide.
Both teams were struggling to put spells of possession together on a difficult pitch, with neither defence coming under much pressure between Molyneux’s goal and the 20-minute mark.
A mistake in the Town defence then almost let Ellison in, as the ball ricocheted off the striker. He chased it down on the left and sent a cross over towards Mullin, although McKeown got to it first.
The Mariners won their first corner on 23 minutes but the ball from the right flag was cleared by the hosts.
Osborne tried a shot after working an opening near the edge of the penalty area three minutes later but defender Ryan Edwards got a boot to it and the heavy deflection took the ball through to Roche.
At the other end, a cross from Andrew Fleming on the Morecambe right was cut out by Gunning, before Andrew was first to a cross from the opposite flank and Ellison missed his kick with an attempted shot from 20 yards.
A good run by Mills down the right led to a corner just after the half-hour, although Andrew’s delivery was cleared and an attempted follow-up cross by Mills was blocked for a throw-in.
The hosts were then given a corner when a deep cross from the right was headed behind by Osborne and the delivery looked dangerous until it was put out for another flag-kick. This time, Mills had to clear off the line after a shot came in.
A run and cross by Bolarinwa came to nothing as Roche caught the ball, before Osborne and Jones linked up well to create an opening for the former Solihull Moors midfielder, who failed to trouble Roche with a weak shot from 20 yards.
A foul on Fleming gave the home side an opportunity to get the ball into the Town box and after Rose’s delivery led to some pinball around the penalty area, it was eventually headed out for a corner. The flag-kick was headed clear and a return ball was punched away by McKeown.
One added minute was signalled to be played at the end of the half and with no further chances created by either side before the referee’s whistle blew, the hosts retained their one-goal advantage at the interval.
No changes were made before the restart and the first action of note saw Clements penalised for a foul on Mullin, although the resulting free kick from Evans was poor and deflected off the Town wall for a throw-in.
Soon afterwards, the hosts thought they had doubled their lead when Mullin turned and beat McKeown from inside the box, only for the offside flag to go up against him.
Mills had a run down the right on 52 minutes which took him into the Morecambe box but when he pulled the ball back, it was cleared.
Town were starting to get on top and Bolarinwa won a corner on the right soon afterwards, which landed at the feet of Dyson, although he could not get a shot in and the danger was eventually cleared.
At the other end, a header from Fleming and a shot by Ellison were both blocked in quick succession and soon afterwards, Mullin’s drive from the edge of the box was pushed out for a corner by McKeown.
It should have been 2-0 to the home side on 63 minutes after Evans did well to work an opening inside the box. The ball came to Mullin 10 yards out but his free header came back off the crossbar and Town got it to safety.
Asante replaced Osborne in the game’s first substitution soon afterwards, before Dyson did well to get into the box on the right and launch an attack which eventually led to a shot from Clements being blocked.
A corner came soon afterwards but after the hosts failed to clear it, Pearson could only scoop the ball over the bar.
Aaron Wildig came on in place of Evans for Morecambe with 20 minutes to go, before Gunning was booked for a foul on Mullin. Rose’s delivery from the free kick was good but nobody in red could apply a finish.
Asante did well to win a corner on the left and after it was blocked for another one, Andrew’s second flag-kick went into the arms of Roche.
A long throw from Andrew eventually fell for Mills but his shot from 20 yards was straight at Roche.
At the other end, McKeown did well to come off his line and deny Mullin after he had been found with a good through-ball.
Davies replaced Gunning for the last 11 minutes and Yussuf was sent on in place of Bolarinwa three minutes later as the Mariners continued to look for a way back into the game.
Yussuf looked to have a chance after turning inside the box but defender Liam Wakefield did enough to put him off and the ball went through to Roche.
Rhys Turner came on for the hard-working Mullin for the home side on 85 minutes and the substitute had a chance almost immediately but saw his 20-yard shot blocked.
A good opportunity then came at the other end when Davies’ cross from the right fell for Andrew at the far post but the left-back’s first-time shot went over the bar.
Three added minutes were signalled, with the Mariners still struggling to test Roche and his defenders.
Instead, it looked like the hosts had sealed the three points when a shot from Turner came back off the post and Ellison put the rebound into the net, only for it to be disallowed for offside.
In the end though, that did not matter as despite attacking for the remainder of the additional time, the Mariners could not force an equaliser and Morecambe were left to celebrate their win.
Town are next in action on Tuesday, when Colchester United visit Blundell Park