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Match Report: Grimsby Town 0-1 Exeter City

Town slip closer to relegation zone after defeat by promotion-chasers

24 February 2018

Lee Blease

Grimsby Town slipped closer to the League Two relegation zone as they were beaten by promotion-chasing Exeter City at Blundell Park.

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23 February 2018

A much-changed Mariners side put in a performance full of effort but were ultimately undone by a single goal scored by Exeter's top scorer Jayden Stockley from the penalty spot.

Town had a penalty of their own just a minute later but unlike their visitors, they were unable to make it count as JJ Hooper fired wide.

Town kept pushing to the end for an equaliser but despite Exeter going down to 10 men in the latter stages of the game when Kane Wilson was dismissed for two bookable offences, that elusive goal was not to come and the Mariners' run of games without a win moved on to 14.

No fewer than six changes were made to the Town starting XI by caretaker boss Paul Wilkinson after last week's defeat at Cambridge.

In came Danny Collins, Mitch Rose, Harry Clifton, Diallang Jaiyesimi, Harry Cardwell and Hooper as Reece Hall-Johnson, Karleigh Osborne, Luke Summerfield, Charles Vernam, Jamille Matt and Simeon Jackson made way.

James McKeown continued in goal after returning from injury last week, while Zak Mills, Nathan Clarke, Collins and Paul Dixon formed the defence.

James Berrett, Rose, Clifton and Jaiyesimi were the midfielders, with Cardwell and Hooper forming the strike partnership.

Vernam, Matt and Osborne were all named among the substitutes, as were Ben Killip, Sam Kelly, Siriki Dembele and Easah Suliman.

Exeter began the day in the final play-off position and were looking for their second away victory of the week, having come from behind to beat Crewe on Tuesday.

Manager Paul Tisdale would look to the likes of striker Stockley to add to his 15 goals so far this season if they were to take another positive result back to Devon.

A low-key opening to the game saw neither side create an opportunity in the first few minutes, with a Town free kick from near the halfway line coming to nothing after Hooper was penalised for a foul.

Clifton won Town's first corner when his cross was put behind on 12 minutes but Berrett's delivery from the right was cleared.  The Mariners brought the ball back though, with Jaiyesimi taking it forward before firing wide of the near post for a goal kick.

After a slow start, the hosts were now playing at a good tempo when in posession, with their visitors yet to mount an attack of note as the quarter-hour mark passed.

A low cross from Jaiyesimi on 18 minutes was touched back by Cardwell to Hooper but the striker lifted his shot well over the bar from 15 yards.

A foul by Dixon on Lee Holmes gave Exeter a free kick in a dangerous position, midway inside the Town half, on 23 minutes.  Hiram Boateng took it but could only hit Jaiyesimi in the Grimsby wall.

The hosts had a free kick of their own when Jaiyesimi was fouled just to the left of the Exeter penalty area and Berrett's delivery was headed away for a corner on the right, which was headed clear by Troy Brown.

Hooper took advantage off a ricochet off Kane Wilson to take the ball forward before winning another corner but again, Berrett's ball from the flag was cleared.

Clifton had an opportunity to shoot soon afterwards but Exeter keeper Christy Pym was able to watch it go wide of his near post.

Another corner came when a ball from Cardwell into the box fell for Clifton and his attempt was blocked.  The ball from the flag fell for Jaiyesimi but his low cross was cleared from danger.

Another good chance came soon afterwards for Clifton but he hesitat long enough for an Exeter defender to get back and clear the danger.

The away side had their first attack of note on 35 minutes and from it, they were given the chance to open the scorring when Jake Taylor was fouled inside the penalty area.  The referee pointed to the spot and STOCKLEY calmly slotted the ball past McKeown and into the net from 12 yards.

In previous games during their long winless run, the Mariners had struggled after falling behind but they were given an almost instant chance to get back on level terms when Cardwell was brought down inside the box and another penalty was given.  This time though, Hooper was not able to take advantage as he sent the ball wide.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half but although they finished it on the attack, the Mariners were not able to force an equaliser before the break.

No changes were made before the restart and the visitors were inches away from extendin their advantage six minutes in when a cross came in from the left that was headed just wide of the far post by Brown.

A scramble in the penalty area at the other end came when a long throw from Mills was not dealt with by Pym but the visitors were eventually able to clear their lines.

Stockley was spoken to by the referee after an aerial challenge on Clarke which angered the Town captain.

A shot from Berrett soon afterwards did not dip enough to worry Pym as it sailed over the bar, before a snap-shot by Hooper went wide of the far post.

A foul by Collins gave the away side a free kick midway inside the Grimsby half on 58 minutes, which led to a corner on the right.  Holmes' ball to the near post came back to him but Town broke through Jaiyesimi, although they could not turn it into an opportunity in front of goal.

The first substitution of the game saw Matt replace Hooper up front for the hosts on 63 minutes ahead of a free kick which was played into the box by Dixon but headed away.

A push by Rose on Boateng two minutes later gave Exeter a free kick on the left and after Holmes' deflected ball was half-cleared, the visitors won a corner on the right, which was headed away by Collins.

A foul on Jaiyesimi brrought a booking for Wilson but Town could not make the resulting free kick count.

Another Town corner was cleared as far as Jaiyesimi and his shot was blocked, before Rose hit an effort across goal and wide soon afterwards.

Dixon was booked for a foul on Holmes on 73 minutes but the free kick came to nothing, before a long throw from Mills fell for Jaiyesimi but the ball was eventually cleared.

Dembele replaced Clifton just before another Town free kick, which led to a header from Matt being caught by Pym.

Exeter then had an opening but could not make it count, as the ball was deflected into the side-netting for a corner, which was cleared.

Jordan Moore-Taylor was shown the yellow card for time-wasting before a free kick bfore eventually floating the ball straight into McKeown's arms.

Exeter were reduced to 10 men with nine minutes to play when Wilson was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Jaiyesimi, before Lloyd James replaced Boateng in the visitors' midfield.

Vernam came on in place of Dixon as the Mariners looked for that elusive equaliser, with results elsewhere going against them.

Dembele fired over the bar from 20 yards before Exeter won a corner at the other end, which was played short but eventually cleared.

Jordan Storey replaced Holmes for the away side with a minute to go, before an additional five minutes was signalled by the fourth official.

Exeter were looking to close out a victory and they won a corner on the left in the second of the added minutes, which was cleareed after it was played short.

But with the Mariners unable to force a breakthrough at the other end, the visitors were left to celebrate their second win on the road of the week, as Town were plunged into further danger at the wrong end of the table.

They will now look to pick themselves up ahead of Saturday's away trip to Carlisle United.


Town

1 James McKeown 
12 Zak Mills 
3 Paul Dixon 
5 Nathan Clarke (C) 
6 Danny Collins 
7 James Berrett 
15 Harry Clifton 
8 Mitch Rose 
17 Harry Cardwell 
20 Diallang Jaiyesimi 
9 JJ Hooper 

Subs

30 Ben Killip 
14 Karleigh Osborne 
16 Easah Suliman 
27 Siriki Dembele 
11 Sam Kelly 
29 Jamille Matt 
34 Charles Vernam

Exeter City

1 Christy Pym 
22 Kane Wilson 
21 Dean Moxey 
15 Jordan Moore-Taylor (C) 
39 Troy Brown 
44 Hiram Boateng 
7 Ryan Harley 
6 Jordan Tillson 
10 Lee Holmes 
11 Jayden Stockley 
25 Jake Taylor

Subs

12 Paul Jones 
38 Jordan Storey 
3 Craig Woodman 
28 Kyle Edwards 
4 Lloyd James 
20 Matt Jay 
8 Robbie Simpson


Attendance: 4,151 (148)


Referee: Andy Haines


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