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Match Reports

📝Match Report: Grimsby Town 1-1 Crawley Town

Town held to draw in last game of 2019

29 December 2019

Lee Blease/ PRIME Media
Luke Waterfall

Grimsby Town finished 2019 with an entertaining home draw against Crawley Town.

The Mariners made the perfect start to the game when Jake Hessenthaler opened the scoring in the second minute and they went on to dominate the early stages.

But the away side came back into the contest and grabbed a deserved equaliser through Ashley Nadesan.

After the break, Town created the better chances and looked the more likely to force a winner but it was not to come and they were again forced to settle for just one point.

One change was made to the Grimsby starting XI after the draw at Macclesfield on Boxing Day, with Matt Green returning in place of Moses Ogbu.

James McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie, Harry Davis, Luke Waterfall and Liam Gibson forming the defence.

Harry Clifton, Hessenthaler and Ethan Robson were the midfielders, with Green lining up alongside Max Wright and Charles Vernam in attack.

Ogbu was named on the bench, along with Elliott Whitehouse, Jordan Cook, Elliott Hewitt, Ahkeem Rose, Sam Russell and Mattie Pollock.

Crawley began the day four points and four places ahead of the Mariners in the League Two table, having recorded an excellent 4-0 victory over Northampton last time out.

New head coach John Yems would be hoping to follow that up with another positive showing in the final game of the year.

But it was the Mariners who made a dream start when they opened the scoring within two minutes. Green started a move which led to Vernam taking the ball down the left and pulling it back to the far post, where HESSENTHALER was in the right place to shoot into the roof of the net.

Vernam tried his luck from 30 yards soon afterwards but this time, Crawley keeper Glenn Morris got down to make a comfortable stop.

Town won the first corner of the game on six minutes and it led to another, which was headed wide by Davis.

Wright found the space to get a cross in from the right on 10 minutes as the home side continued to dominate the early stages but the ball was eventually hammered clear.

A foul on Wright by midfielder Dannie Bulman gave Town a free kick inside the Crawley half and Hessenthaler's ball from it was met by Waterfall but the visitors eventually cleared the danger.

At the other end, a cross from Bez Lubala was headed wide by former Mariners loanee Ollie Palmer as Hendrie did well to challenge the striker.

A chance for the hosts came on 22 minutes when a good pass from Hendrie found Green inside the box but his shot from a narrow angle was pushed clear by Morris.

Gibson was shown the first yellow card of the game for bringing Bulman down as he looked to break towards the Town penalty area. Lubala's shot from the free kick was comfortably stopped by McKeown.

Crawley were starting to show signs of promise as the half-hour approached, with Josh Doherty sending a dangerous-looking cross over from the left before Lubala beat Hendrie on the same flank and a low shot which was blocked.

Clifton was adjudged to have fouled Doherty on the Crawley left but Lubala's free kick was cleared by Wright.

The away side had built pressure after Town's good start and they were deservedly level on 37 minutes when a neat build-up led to Nathan Ferguson playing a low ball into the box, where NADESAN got in behind the home defence to run onto it and send a first-time finish past McKeown.

A challenge from behind on Green gave Grimsby a free kick on the left as they looked to reclaim the advantage but Hessenthaler's driven delivery was deflected out for a corner, which was cleared.

Lubala was booked for a push on Wright on the Town right on 43 minutes but Robson's ball from the free kick was caught by Morris.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half, with Hessenthaler firing over the bar after good build-up play down the Town left.

That proved to be the last opportunity of the first half, with the scores remaining level at the break after both teams had enjoyed spells of pressure.

Rose replaced Green in the Town attack before the restart and after the substitute almost had an opening at one end, Palmer won a corner for Crawley at the other. Doherty's kick was headed clear by Rose.

An ambitious effort by Hessenthaler on the right flew just wide of the far post on 50 minutes, before Wright won a corner after a run down the right five minutes later. Hessenthaler's ball from the flag was met by Waterfall but he could only head wide.

David Sesay replaced Camara for Crawley on 57 minutes, before Hendrie became the next to be shown the yellow card after a foul.

Clifton followed him into the referee's notebook after a foul inside the Crawley half, then Wright was replaced by Ogbu on 68 minutes in Town's second change.

A good build-up by the Mariners led to Hendrie crossing from the right and Rose got up to meet it but could not get his header on-target.

Soon afterwards, a break by Hessenthaler through the middle led to Vernam cutting inside from the right and letting fly but Morris dived to make a good save.

The Town pressure continued as Ogbu did well to keep the ball in play and pull it back across the six-yard box but nobody in black and white was in the right place to tap into the empty net.

Rose fired over the bar from 20 yards on 74 minutes, before Vernam won a corner on the right but Waterfall could not get his head to the ball from the flag.

Ashley Nathaniel-George replaced Lubala for Crawley with 14 minutes to go but it was the Mariners who were pushing forward, with Rose unable to hit the target with a header after good work by Ogbu to hold the ball up and send a chipped cross to the far post.

Cook came on in place of Clifton for the last nine minutes as Town made their final substitution and Morris made a great save soon afterwards to deny Hessenthler, although the referee had already given a free kick for a foul on defender Joe McNerney.

George Francomb became the final substitute to come on when he replaced Bulman in the Crawley midfield with five minutes to go.

A cross from Vernam was put behind for a corner and the kick was met by Vernam but his header was saved, as was the rebound before the visitors scrambled the ball clear.

A long-range effort by Robson was deflected away for another corner as Town continued to pile the pressure on but this time, Crawley broke through Nathaniel-George, although Ferguson could not capitalise when the ball was played to him on the edge of the box.

Three additional minute were played at the end of the game as both sides looked for a winning goal.

But neither was able to get that breakthrough and the game finished level for what, on reflection, was a fair result.

Town are next in action on New Year's Day, when they host Salford City at Blundell Park.

Town: McKeown (c), Hendrie, Davis, Waterfall, Gibson, Hessenthaler, Robson, Clifton, Vernam, Wright, Green.

Subs: Russell, Pollock, Hewitt, Whitehouse, Cook, Rose, Ogbu.

Crawley: Morris,  Young, Doherty, Tunnicliffe, McNerney, Bulman (C), Camara, Ferguson, Lubala, Nadesan,  Palmer.

Subs: Luyambula, Dallison, Sesay, Francomb, Nathaniel-George, Bloomfield, Galach.

Referee: Ollie Yates 

Attendance: 3612 (38)

Possession: Town 56%-44% Crawley Town

Corners: Town 7-1 Crawley Town 

Next Up: Salford City (H)

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