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Match Reports

📝Match Report: Grimsby Town 5-2 Tranmere Rovers

Five-star Mariners record superb victory

27 November 2018

Paul Burgess

Grimsby Town hit five goals in a fantastic win over high-flying Tranmere Rovers at Blundell Park.

In wet, windy conditions, the visitors started confidently and took an early lead through League Two's top scorer James Norwood.

Town grew into the game and levelled the scores when Harry Clifton headed home his first goal for the club, before Wes Thomas bundled the ball in at the far post to complete the turnaround before half-time.

The Mariners extended their lead when Harry Davis made it 3-1 soon after the break, before Paul Mullin pulled a goal back for the visitors.

But a penalty scored by substitute Mitch Rose made sure of the points for the hosts and Elliot Embleton added a fifth in added time to cap a fine team performance.

Alex Whitmore replaced the suspended Danny Collins in what was the only change to the Town starting XI from Saturday's draw at Northampton.

James McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie, Davis, Whitmore and Andrew Fox forming the back four.

Embleton, Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Ben Pringle were the midfielders, with Charles Vernam and Thomas lining up in attack.

The subtitutes were John Welsh, Mitch Rose, Jordan Cook, Martyn Woolford, Harry Cardwell, Ahkeem Rose and Sam Russell.

Tranmere began the evening in the last play-off place but just one point outside the automatic promotion spots in their first season back in League Two.

They also had the division's leading marksman in their side, with Norwood out to add to his 13 goals so far this campaign.

The first shot of the game came through Tranmere's Mullin, who tried his luck with a low effort on two minutes which McKeown dived full-length to stop.

A foul on Dylan Mottley-Henry by Fox gave the visitors a free kick on the right two minutes later but the ball to the far post beat everybody an went out for a goal kick.

Town's first attack saw a nice build-up down the right but they were unable to turn it into a chance in front of goal as Clifton's low cross wen through to visiting keeper Scott Davies.

But the visitors had made the better start to the game and when the first goal came on 11 minutes, it was Tranmere who took the lead.  Midfielder Luke McCullough played a superb defence-splitting ball for NORWOOD and he flicked it over the advancing McKeown and into the net.

Connor Jennings picked up the first yellow card of the night soon afterwards for a foul on the Town right but the Mariners were unable to make the resulting free kick count.

Tranmere, with the wind at their backs, were looking comfortable as the hosts had struggled to make an impression in the opening 20 minutes.

That changed on 23 minutes when a shot by Vernam was deflected wide for a corner and from it, the ball was played low to the edge of the box for Embleton to shoot.  His effort was blocked and after Tranmere failed to clear, the ball was eventually put into the net but the flag had already gone up for offside.

At the other end, Norwood went close to a second goal after good work by Mottley-Henry down the right but the striker's first-time shot was well saved by McKeown, who pushed the ball out for a corner.

Mullin tried to catch McKeown out with a speculative shot from 30 yards on 31 minutes but the keeper was alert to the danger and got back to push the ball clear.

And soon afterwards, the Mariners were level when a cross from Vernam on the right fell perfectly for CLIFTON to glance a great header past Davies and into the far corner of the net to register his first senior goal for the club.

Tranmere went back onto the attack and created a chance through Mottley-Henry on the right but when he pulled the ball back for Mullin, the striker lifted it over the Pontoon Stand.

Another opportunity came for Clifton after a ball into the box from Embleton on the left but this time, the midfielder could not beat Davies.

Town were now loking much stronger in attack and they were given a free kick in a dangerous position on the right when Hendrie was brought down by Zoumana Bakayogo but Embleton's shot was blocked after the ball had been played low and short to him.

Soon afterwards though, the turnaround was complete as the Mariners took the lead for the first time in the game.  Vernam made good progress down the left before playing a low ball across which was bundled in at the far post by THOMAS. 

The Tranmere players protested strongly, appealing for handball against the striker, but the goal stood and keeper Davies was shown a yellow card after putting his hands on referee Darren Drysdale.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half, with the Mariners seeing them out to ensure they would hold the advantage at the interval after an excellent fightback, having fallen behind.

Ritchie Sutton replaced captain Steve McNulty for Tranmere before the restart an an early corner came for the Mariners, which led to a great save by Davies from Whitmore's header at the far post.

Another corner was the result and after the visitors failed to clear, it was pinball in the penalty area as shots were blocked beore DAVIS found a way through, slotting the ball into the net to make it 3-1 with 48 minutes on the clock.

After the goal, Town were well on top and were pressing to extend their advantage further  as the hour mark approached, with Embleton denied as his strike was deflected over the bar for a corner.

Clifton was booked for a late challenge inside the centre circle, before Larnell Cole came on for Mottley-Henry as the visitors made their second change.

Out of nothing, Tranmere brought themselves back into the game on 65 minutes when they halved the deficit.  Town lost possession and the ball was played to MULLIN, who cut in from the left and unleashed a powerful drive which beat McKeown and found the top corner.

Norwood was booked for a foul on Whitmore, before a foul by Manny Monthe gave Town a free kick on the right, which caused problems in the Tranmere box until Hessenthaler's shot was deflected away for a corner. 

The away side's final change saw Liam Ridehalgh replace Bakayogo with 18 minutes to go and his first action of note was to deliver a free kick into the Grimsby box that eventually led to a shot being deflected out for a goal kick.

Cardwell replaced Thomas in Town's first substitution, with Mitch Rose following him onto the pitch soon afterwards as Vernam made way.

A dangerous cross from Pringle to the far post was scrambled away for a corner by Davies and after the ball from the flag was not dealt with, a foul inside the box was spotted and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.  ROSE stepped up and blasted the ball into the top corner to finally put the result beyond doubt with seven minutes to go.

Welsh replaced Pringle as Town boss Michael Jolley made his third and final substitution.

Four added minutees would be playeed at the end of the game and there was time for a fifth Grimsby goal, as a great ball from Welsh sent EMBLETON through and he produced a composed finish to beat Davies and find the bottom corner of the net.

That added extra gloss to what would already have been a fine victory, as the Mariners reegistered their biggest win of the season so far.

They are next in action on Sunday, when they travel to Chesterfield in round two of the FA Cup.


1 James McKeown (C) 
27 Luke Hendrie 
19 Andrew Fox 
25 Alex Whitmore 
24 Harry Davis 
7 Jake Hessenthaler 
22 Elliot Embleton 
15 Harry Clifton 
30 Ben Pringle 
39 Wes Thomas 
18 Charles Vernam


23 Sam Russell 
11 Jordan Cook 
8 Mitch Rose 
4 John Welsh 
16 Martyn Woolford 
17 Harry Cardwell 
21 Ahkeem Rose

Tranmere Rovers

1 Scott Davies 
14 Jake Caprice 
24 Zoumana Bakayogo 
5 Steve McNulty (C) 
6 Emmanuel Monthe 
22 Harvey Gilmour 
12 Luke McCullough 
17 Dylan Mottley-Henry 
10 James Norwood 
11 Connor Jennings 
9 Paul Mullin


23 Shamal George 
3 Liam Ridehalgh 
4 Ritchie Sutton 
29 Larnell Cole 
8 Jay Harris 
18 Johnny Smith 
20 Cole Stockton

Attendance: 3,293 (203)

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Next Up: Chesterfield (A) 

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