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📝Match Report: Port Vale 0-1 Grimsby Town

Thomas strike seals hard-earned win

26 December 2018

Grimsby Town claimed a hard-earned three points as they beat Port Vale at Vale Park to make it two wins out of two over the Christmas period so far.

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Match Reaction: A Good Away Win, But More Injury Woe For Jolley

26 December 2018

A single goal from top scorer Wes Thomas, coupled with an excellent defensive effort, proved enough to bring a Boxing Day victory.

After a first half of few chances, the home side looked to be creating the better opportunities after the interval but it was the Mariners who broke the deadlock against the run of play before holding onto their advantage.

And as they celebrated their first away league win since early October, they also made further progress up the League Two table.

One change was made to the Town side after Saturday's big home win against Notts County, with Reece Hall-Johnson replacing the injured Luke Hendrie.

James McKeown started in goal, with Hall-Johnson, Harry Davis, Alex Whitmore and Andrew Fox in defence.

Harry Cardwell, Harry Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Ben Pringle were the midfielders, with Elliot Embleton behind striker Thomas.

The substitutes were John Welsh, Mitch Rose, Ahkeem Rose, Martyn Woolford, Brandon Buckley, Mattie Pollock and Sam Russell.

Port Vale came into the game level on points with the Mariners and looking to improve on Saturday's goalless draw with bottom side Macclesfield Town.

The hosts won the game's first corner after a good challenge by Fox but it caused no problems as the low ball from the flag led to a shot by Manny Oyeleke going high over the bar.

A Town free kick on 10 minutes was delivered by Pringle but as the ball was cleared, the referee's whistle blew for a foul by Whitmore.

Luke Hannant beat Hall-Johnson before firing a shot which flashed wide on 16 minutes.

At the other end, a Hall-Johnson cross was cleared by defender Leon Legge, before a free kick from Pringle was headed out for a corner as the Mariners looked to create some momentum.

A home free kick from Tom Conlon was headed wide by Tom Pope, then the first booking of the afternoon was given to Antony Kay for a foul on Clifton on the halfway line.

Cardwell looped a header over the bar after meeting a cross from Pringle on 26 minutes, before Pope again headed wide at the other end.

Pope was involved again on the half-hour as he touched the ball on for Scott Quigley after a low cross and the shot produced a good save from McKeown, who pushed the ball away for a corner.

More pressure came from the flag-kick as McKeown didn't get to the ball but Clifton was in the right place to clear off the line when a shot came in from Oyeleke.

A high foot by Fox gave Port Vale a free kick on 39 minutes but they did not make the most of it as the whistle blew for a foul in Town's favour when the ball was played into the box by Hannant.

One added minute was played at the end of the first half and with no further chances created by either side, the game remained goalless at the break.

Ben Whitfield replaced midfielder Tom Conlon for Port Vale before the restart and the first opportunity of the second half fell for the Mariners two minutes in, with Embleton shooting at home keeper Scott Brown.

Thomas was then denied by Brown as he looked to slip the ball past the goalkeeper from a narrow angle soon afterwards.

Another opportunity came when a cross by Hall-Johnson was flicked by Cardwell but the ball was caught by Brown.

Hall-Johnson went down injured after getting caught as he put the cross in and looked like he was going to be forced off but was eventually passed fit to continue.

A spell of home pressure followed, with McKeown called into action to stop a powerful drive by Kay, then Whitfield was denied as the keeper saved with his feet, before hitting the post from the rebound.

A corner was headed wide by Pope just before the hour, then another chance for the hosts was not taken as a cross from Whitfield found its way through to Hannant but he sent the ball over the bar.

And the home side were made to pay as when the deadlock was finally broken on 62 minutes, it was the Mariners who took the lead against the run of play.  THOMAS got the ball and cut inside from the left before unleashing a powerful shot which flew beyond Brown and into the top corner of the net.

A penalty appeal from the home fans came when Quigley went down under a challenge by Whitmore inside the Town box on 70 minutes but the referee ruled the defender had got the ball and allowed play to go on.

Louis Dodds replaced Quigley three minutes later, with Woolford coming on in place of Pringle for Grimsby at the same time.

Fox did well to stop Dodds after he looked to have a chance inside the Town penalty area, before a long throw fell for Pope but his shot on the turn went over the bar.

The visitors' second change saw Ahkeem Rose sent on in place of Thomas, before an injury to Davis forced the Mariners into making their third and final substitution soon afterwards, with Mitch Rose taking the defender's place.

Town were having to defend as the clock ticked down, with Port Vale attacking in search of an equaliser.

And they were given an additional five minutes to find a way back into the game, winning a corner in the third of them which caused no problems for the Town defence.

A free kick was headed away for a corner by Fox as the home pressure continued, with a header from Legge cleared off the line before a follow-up ball was punched clear by McKown and the ball was eventually put out for a goal kick.

That proved to be the last chance for Port Vale to salvage anything from the game and the Mariners were left to celebrate another three points.

T are next in action on Saturday, when they make the long trip to face Exeter City.


Port Vale

1 Scott Brown 
23 Mitchell Clark 
21 Theo Vassell 
5 Leon Legge 
15 Nathan Smith 
6 Antony Kay 
11 Luke Hannant 
8 Manny Oyeleke 
22 Tom Conlon 
14 Scott Quigley 
9 Tom Pope (C)

Subs

12 Sam Hornby 
2 James Gibbons 
25 Lewis Hardcastle 
4 Luke Joyce 
24 Ben Whitfield 
7 David Worrall 
19 Louis Dodds

Town

1 James McKeown (C) 
2 Reece Hall-Johnson 
19 Andrew Fox 
24 Harry Davis 
25 Alex Whitmore 
15 Harry Clifton 
17 Harry Cardwell 
7 Jake Hessenthaler 
30 Ben Pringle 
39 Wes Thomas 
22 Elliot Embleton

Subs

23 Sam Russell 
31 Matthew Pollock 
26 Brandon Buckley 
8 Mitch Rose 
4 John Welsh 
16 Martyn Woolford 
21 Ahkeem Rose


Referee: Ben Toner


Attendance: 5,129 (425)


Next Up: Exeter City (A)


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