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Match Reports

Report: Grimsby Town 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Mariners get their first pre-season win

24 July 2018

Anne Boyers
Jake in action v Doncaster Rovers

Grimsby Town got their first victory of pre-season as they beat League One Doncaster Rovers at Blundell Park.

A great strike from Reece Hall-Johnson on 22 minutes proved enough for the Mariners to cap a good perfomance with a win against a strong Doncaster side.

Charles Vernam came straight into the starting XI after being unveiled as Town's latest summer signing earlier in the day.

James McKeown started in goal, with Harry Davis, Alex Whitmore and Danny Collins forming a back three.

Harry Clifton began at right wing-back, with Reece Hall-Johnson operating on the left and Mitch Rose, John Welsh and Jake Hessenthaler in the middle, as Vernam started alongside JJ Hooper in attack.

Doncaster boss Grant McCann named a strong line-up which included ex-Town defender Danny Andrew and Mallik Wilks, who spent time on loan at Blundell Park from Leeds last season.

Town had the first shot of the evening when Welsh fired over the bar from 20 yards after good work by Hessenthaler down the left.

Hessenthaler was involved again on 11 minutes, getting on the end of a cross from the right but seeing his header saved by visiting keeper Ian Lawlor.

A mistake by McKeown went unpunished on 18 minutes after his attempted clearance went short.  The ball was played to Tommy Rowe but he fired wide with the keeper away from his goal.

A Doncaster corner two minutes later was dealt with, before the Mariners took the lead on 22 minutes when HALL-JOHNSON cut in from the right and curled a low shot beyond the dive of Lawlor into the far corner of the net from 25 yards.

McKeown got down to push an effort from Ben Whiteman away for a corner on the half-hour but the away side were not able to cause any real danger from the flag.

Clifton won a corner at the other end after getting to the by-line and pulling the ball back.  Hessenthaler's delivery was headed down by Collins but the referee spotted a foul and blew for a Doncaster free kick.

Soon afterwards, good hold-up play by Vernam led to Hall-Johnson trying his luck from distance again although this time, Lawlor made a comfortable catch.

The visitors then went close to levelling the scores when Rowe let fly from the edge of the box but Whitmore got back to clear off the line.

Ali Crawford fired wide from a Doncaster free kick, before a cross from Wilks on the right led to a volley going wide of the mark.

One aditional minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances created, the Mariners kept their one-goal advantage at the interval.

No substitutions were made before the restart and Doncaster won an early corner, which was caught by McKeown.

Town got into trouble while trying to play their way out of defence on 53 minutes but after losing possession, they went unpunished when a shot from Rowe was blocked by Welsh.

A foul on Clifton gave Town a free kick in a promising position but Hooper's shot deflected off the Doncater wall and went out for a throw-in.

Three Grimsby changes were made on the hour, with Davis, Rose and Hall-Johnson replaced by Paul Dixon, Martyn Woolford and Akin Famewo.

Doncaster's John Marquis saw a shot blocked for a corner four minutes later, with Louis Jones replacing Lawlor in goal for the visitors before it was taken.

Rowe was then replaced by a trialist, before a ball through the middle sent Crawford clear, only for McKeown to come off his line and make a good stop.

Another corner came for the away side when Whitmore denied Marquis but again, it was dealt with and Town broke through Vernam, who ran down the right and cut inside but could not find Hooper with his pull-back.

Louis Robles came on in place of Vernam with 15 minutes to go, before a low shot by Marquis was well-saved by McKeown and the follow-up from Niall Mason went over the bar. 

A foul on Hooper gave the Mariners a free kick on the right, midway between the penalty area and the touchline.  Andrew Fox came on for Clifton before it was taken and Fox assumed responsibility for the set piece, although his delivery was missed by everybody.

A home corner came when a shot by Hessnthaler was put behind but after the ball fom the flag fell for Famewo, his shot on the turn was just too high.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the game and Hessenthaler went close to doubling the hosts' advantage with a header that dropped just over the bar.

Town then closed out the remainder of the game to seal an excellent win against strong opposition.

The Mariners will complete their pre-season fixture programme with an away game at Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday, before the League Two opener at home to Forest Green Rovers on August 4.

Attendance: 1,397 (157)

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