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Match Report: Grimsby Town 0-0 Stevenage

Mariners forced to settle for goalless draw

30 March 2018

Lee Blease
Gary Sheffrey in action v Stevenage

Grimsby Town's Easter programme began with a goalless draw against Stevenage at Blundell Park.

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30 March 2018

The Mariners created plenty of chances but were unable to take any of them as they were forced to settle for just one point.

And the result meant Town's run of games without a win moved on to 19 as they battle to avoid relegation.  

Four changes were made to the Grimsby side that lost at Coventry City last week, with Nathan Clarke, Luke Summerfield, Mitch Rose and JJ Hooper all coming back into the starting XI.

James McKeown started in goal, with Zak Mills, Clarke, Danny Collins and Andrew Fox forming the defence.

Siriki Dembele, Summerfield, Rose and Gary McSheffrey were the midfielers, with Hooper starting alongside Mallik Wilks in attack.

The Grimsby substitutes were Ben Killip, Harry Clifton, Reece Hall-Johnson, Martyn Woolford, James Berrett, Sean McAllister and Scott Vernon.

Stevenage arrived in Cleethorpes sitting in 16th position in League Two, with new manager Dino Maamria looking for his team to put to bed any lingering fears of being dragged into danger further down the table.

The visitors had the first opportunity of the game when Summerfield gave the ball away to Luke Amos in midfield.  He advanced before squaring the ball across the penalty area but Mills was in the right place to make a good block.

Wilks had Town's first shot on three minutes but his effort from the edge of the box went over the bar.

Mills had to get to the ball first again to stop Alex Revell from having a shooting chance inside the box on 10 minutes as the away side appeareed to have settled the quicker of the two teams.

A foul on Dembele gave the Mariners a free kick inside the Stevenage half on 11 minutes but McSheffrey's ball hit Amos and bounced away to safety.

Danny Newton hit a shot from 18 yards for Stevenagee three minute later but it did not cause any problems for McKeown, who got down to make a comfortable stop.

Town had their first good chance of the game soon afterwards after the visitors lost possession in midfield and the Mariners broke through Hooper.  He found Wilks and the Leeds loanee turned near the penalty spot but his shot was blocked an ricocheted back off the striker for a goal kick.

The hosts went close again on 19 minutes when a cross-field pass from McSheffrey found Dembele on the left.  He cut inside before unleashing a powerful shot that looked destined for the top corner of the net until visiting keeper Tom King got fingertips to the ball to divert it over the bar for a corner.

Another chance then came from the flag-kick as Mills sent the ball into the path of Rose but he also could not make it count, sending a volley high and wide.

At the other end, a shot from Chris Whelpdale was saved by McKeown, before a foul by Collins gave away a free kick which led to Joe Martin sending the ball harmlessly through to McKeown.

A foul on Wilks on the Town left brought a free kick in a dangerous position but McSheffrey's floated delivery to the far post was cleared by Ben Kennedy.

A foul by McSheffrey gave Stevenage a free kick on their left just before the half-hour but Martin's delivery was poor, then Amos cleared the Pontoon Stand with a shot from 20 yards.

Town's next attack of note saw McSheffrey swing a first-time cross into the box from the right but Wilks was penalised for a foul on the keeper as he looked to meet the ball.

Fox set off on a run down the left on 38 minutes and after it took him into the penalty area, he looked up and pulled the ball back but neither Wilks nor McSheffrey could convert the chance from close range.

A volley from Dembele was blocked on 42 minutes after Mills had crossed from the right, before a cross at the other end was claimed by McKeown.

More pressure from the Mariners came as the game moved into one added minute but they were unable to profit from it and the half ended goalless.

Town had created plenty of chances but had not taken any of them, while Stevenage had enjoyed opportunities of their own but failed to seriously threaten McKeown's goal.

Fraser Franks replaced Ronnie Henry for the away side before the restart and the first chance of the second half went to the Mariners after Wilks found Hooper inside the penalty area.  The striker's shot lacked power though and King was able to dive on the ball.

A cross from Fox was headed out for a corner and from it, Clarke's header was tipped over the bar for another one, this time on the opposite right flank.  Wilkinson was in the right place to head clear at the near post.

Amos saw a shot blocked by Summerfield at the other end, before an attempt by Whelpdale flew well over the bar.

A free kick from Martin on the Stevenage right was headed away by Collins, before a long throw by Whelpdale was flicked on into the arms of McKeown.

The away side looked to have created a chance when the ball was played through for Kennedy but as McKeown came out to block the striker, the offside flag put an end to the danger.

Dean Bowditch replaced Kennedy for Stevenage on 66 minutes, before Clifton came on for Wilks after he went down with an injury.

Stevenage were inches away from taking the lead on 71 minutes when a header from Whelpdale hit the post and dropped without crossing the goal-line, before being scrambled wide.

Town then had a chance of their own but Dembele could only fire off-target from the edge of the box.

Fox did well to deny Newton at the other end after a good ball from midfielder Ben Sheaf had set up an attack for the visitors.

A push on Dembele gave Town a free kick on the right on 79 minutes and from it, McSheffrey looked for the near post but could only hit the side-netting.

That proved to be McSheffrey's last involvement in the game as he was replaced by Vernon, before Alex Samuel came on in place of Newton for Stevenage with nine minutes left to play.

Town won a corner on the right two minutes later but Vernon's header from it was blocked.

Hall-Johnson replaced Dembele on 86 minutes as the Mariners continued to attack in search of a breakthrough goal.

Stevenage were also still looking to win the game and they won a corner on the right on 89 minutes, which was headed away before the follow-up ball was punched clear by McKeown.

A low shot from Hooper proved comfortable for King, before the fourth offical signalled four added minutes to be played at the end of the game.

Town kept pushing for a winner that could prove vital in their battle against the drop but ultimately it was not to come, although results elsewhere meant they moved a point further clear of the bottom two.

The Mariners are next in action on Easter Monday, when they travel to promotion-chasing Wycombe Wanderers.


Town

1 James McKeown 
12 Zak Mills 
23 Andrew Fox 
5 Nathan Clarke (C) 
6 Danny Collins 
8 Mitch Rose 
27 Siriki Dembele 
19 Luke Summerfield 
10 Gary McSheffrey 
18 Mallik Wilks 
9 JJ Hooper

Subs

30 Ben Killip 
31 Reece Hall-Johnson 
7 James Berrett 
15 Harry Clifton 
4 Sean McAllister 
25 Martyn Woolford 
21 Scott Vernon

Stevenage

13 Tom King 
25 Ronnie Henry (C) 
3 Joe Martin 
6 Luke Wilkinson 
4 Jack King 
14 Luke Amos 
10 Ben Kennedy 
8 Ben Sheaf 
7 Chris Whelpdale 
19 Danny Newton 
9 Alex Revell

Subs

1 Joe Fryer 
5 Fraser Franks 
11 John Goddard 
17 Dale Gorman 
2 Jonathan Smith 
22 Dean Bowditch 
15 Alex Samuel


Referee: Martin Coy


Attendance: 5,368 (110)


Next Up: Wycombe Wanderers


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