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Match Reports

📝Match Report: Tranmere Rovers 4-1 Grimsby Town

Four first-half goals send Mariners to defeat

12 March 2019

Lee Blease
Wes Thomas

Four first-half goals sent Grimsby Town to a heavy defeat at promotion-chasing Tranmere Rovers.

The Mariners fell behind when Connor Jennings opened the scoring but they recovered well and equalised when Martyn Woolford was the first to react after a Wes Thomas penalty was saved.

But they were then hit by three goals inside 10 minutes before the break as Emmanuel Monthe, James Norwood and a second for Jennings made the points safe for the hosts.

The Mariners worked hard and created opportunities to reduce the deficit but they were unable to get back into the game and the damage had been done.

Four changes were made by Grimsby boss Michael Jolley after the defeat at Crawley on Saturday, with Alex Whitmore, Reece Hall-Johnson, Harry Clifton and Jordan Cook coming into the side as Danny Collins, Sebastian Ring, Elliot Embleton and Kristian Dennis made way.

Town started with James McKeown in goal and a back three of Harry Davis, Ludvig Ohman and Whitmore.

Hall-Johnson and Luke Hendrie operated as wing-backs, with Clifton, Jake Hessenthaler and Woolford in midfield as Thomas began alongside Cook in attack.

Collins, Ring, Embleton and Dennis were all named on the bench, along with Sam Russell, Charles Vernam and Ahkeem Rose.

Tranmere sat inside the play-off places at kick-off and were looking to continue their promotion push with a win.

Their team included plenty of attacking threat from the likes of Norwood, former Mariners loanee Jennings and Ben Pringle, who spent the first half of the season at Blundell Park.

Town began well and a shot from Clifton was blocked on eight minutes, leading to a corner which was headed clear.

Another chance came two minutes later when Thomas met a ball into the box from Hendrie but his half-volley went wide.

At the other end, a strike from David Perkins was stopped by McKeown, before a Town corner from Hessenthaler was dealt with by the home defence.

But when the deadlock was broken on 18 minutes, it was the home side who took the lead.  A free kick given for a foul by Ohman was well worked to JENNINGS and he fired across McKeown and into the far bottom corner of the net.

Town's reponse saw a cross from Hall-Johnson find Hendrie inside the penalty area but his header was saved by home keeper Scott Davies.

The visitors continued to play some good football and they almost had another chance when Hall-Johnson squared the ball into the box but it was cleared.

The Mariners were winning plenty of corners but were unable to create significant danger from them, with Whitmore heading the latest one wide on 29 minutes.

But they were given a chance to equalise just after the half-hour when Hall-Johnson made his way into the box and was hauled down.  The referee pointed to the penalty spot and Thomas' powerful kick was saved by Davies but WOOLFORD was first to the rebound to make it 1-1.

Town had got themselves back on level terms but that was to last less than two minutes as Tranmere restored their advantage.  A free kick was whipped into the box by Oliver Banks and McKeown could only push the ball as far as MONTHE, who put it into the net from close range.

And it was to get worse for the Mariners on 39 minutes as the hosts grabbed a third goal.  This time, it was NORWOOD who got himself on the scoresheet, chipping a cross-shot over McKeown's head after cutting inside from the right.

Hendrie got back well to deny Norwood after the striker beat Ohman, before a handball decision went against Davis just outside the Town box to give Tranmere a free kick in a dangerous position.  The shot from Banks deflected off the Town wall and JENNINGS was the first to react to smash the loose ball into the net from six yards for 4-1.

After playing well for much of the half, the Mariners had suddenly found themselves with a mountain to climb and staring at a heavy defeat.

Two added minutes were played before the referee's half-time whistle, as the hosts went into the dressing rooms with a commanding advantage at the interval.

No changes were made before the restart and an early Town free kick was hooked clear after it had been played in to Ohman.

An effort by Cook at the far post was scrambled away for a corner and from the flag-kick, the ball came to Ohman but his header was saved and a defender was first to the rebound to make the clearance.

Town continued to attack in a bid to haul themselves back into the contest and they almost had a second goal when a free kick from Hessenthaler found Davis at the far post but his header was saved.

Thomas saw a shot blocked on 64 minutes, after a dangerous cross from Jake Caprice had been pushed away by McKeown at the other end, with Hessenthaler completing the clearance.

Ring and Embleton were sent on in place of Hall-Johnson and Woolford as Town made a double substitution on 70 minutes, with Harvey Gilmour replacing Pringle for Tranmere at the same time.

Cook was replaced by Dennis with 12 minutes to go and an Embleton shot was deflected out for a corner on 81 minutes, which was headed clear.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the game, with Embleton shooting off-target in the first of them.

The hosts then played out the remainder of the game before their victory was confirmed, as Town were left to reflect on a third consecutive defeat.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when Northampton Town are the visitors to Blundell Park.

Tranmere Rovers

1 Scott Davies (C) 
14 Jake Caprice 
3 Liam Ridehalgh 
16 Mark Ellis 
6 Emmanuel Monthe 
28 Oliver Banks 
11 Connor Jennings 
12 Luke McCullough 
17 David Perkins 
27 Ben Pringle 
10 James Norwood


25 Luke Pilling 
4 Sid Nelson 
22 Harvey Gilmour 
8 Jay Harris 
18 Johnny Smith 
29 Chris Dagnall 
9 Paul Mullin

Grimsby Town

1 James McKeown (C) 
2 Reece Hall-Johnson 
5 Ludvig Öhman 
24 Harry Davis 
27 Luke Hendrie F
25 Alex Whitmore 
15 Harry Clifton 
16 Martyn Woolford 
7 Jake Hessenthaler 
39 Wes Thomas 
11 Jordan Cook


23 Sam Russell 
6 Danny Collins 
3 Sebastian Ring 
22 Elliot Embleton 
8 Kristian Dennis 
21 Ahkeem Rose 
18 Charles Vernam

Attendance: 5,269 (251 away)

Referee: Graham Salisbury

Next Up: Northampton Town (H)

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