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Match Reports

Match Report: Grimsby Town 2-1 Morecambe

Town secure victory in tough conditions

15 February 2020

Lee Blease
James Hanson puts Town ahead against Morecambe,

Grimsby Town made it two wins on the bounce with an impressive victory over Morecambe in difficult conditions at Blundell Park.

As Storm Dennis brought high winds and heavy rain to Cleethorpes, the Mariners played plenty of good football and got their reward with two second-half goals.

James Hanson put the hosts ahead on 69 minutes, before a late Josh Benson free-kick put the result beyond doubt.

Adam Phillips pulled a goal back deep into added time after Town keeper James McKeown handled a back-pass but it proved to be just a consolation as the home side closed out the win.

Five changes were made to the Town starting XI after the superb midweek victory at Colchester, which had seen manager Ian Holloway freshen his team up with several alterations.

Elliot Grandin came in for his first start, while Luke Hendrie, Mattie Pollock, Billy Clarke and Hanson were all restored to the line-up.

McKeown started in goal, with Hendrie, Pollock, Luke Waterfall and Anthony Glennon forming the defence.

Grandin, Benson and Elliott Whitehouse were the midfielders, with Clarke and Hanson alongside Tuesday's hat-trick hero Charles Vernam in attack.

The substitutes were Ludvig Ohman, Matt Green, Harry Clifton, Max Wright, James Tilley, Bradley Garmston and Sam Russell.

Morecambe made the journey from the west coast looking to continue a good run of form which had seen them move away from the relegation place at the bottom of the table.

They would look to the likes of Cole Stockton and Aaron Wildig to cause problems for the Town defence.

The first shot of the game came from the visitors, with John O'Sullivan narrowly missing the target from 20 yards.

McKeown had to push the ball over his bar to keep another shot out soon afterwards, although the resulting corner caused no problems.

At the other end, a cross-field ball from Vernam proved just too far ahead of Hanson for the striker to capitalise.

Wildig side-footed wide from the edge of the box after a good build-up by Morecambe on eight minutes, before Vernam won a corner for Town which led to Whitehouse heading over the bar.

Vernam won another corner on 13 minutes after a run into the penalty area but Benson's delivery from the left was cleared for a throw-in.

A low effort by Vernam from 20 yards was blocked by Morecambe keeper Christoffer Mofoumbi, before a shot by Jordan Cranston at the other end was held by McKeown.

Vernam was involved again on 25 minutes, sending a first-time effort into the Osmond Stand from 20 yards after a shot from Benson was blocked.

Town were given an opportunity to put pressure on the Morecambe goal with a free kick on the left and Clarke's ball was headed back across goal by Hanson before being put out for a corner by Tom Brewitt. The ball from the flag was kept in by Benson at the far post but was eventually sent out for a goal kick.

The hosts had controlled possession and territory but Morecambe were showing promising signs when they did manage to attack, with O'Sullivan firing over the bar after good play by Ryan Cooney down the right just after the half-hour.

Hendrie forced Mofoumbi into action after cutting in from the right and letting fly but the keeper was equal to it, diving to make the stop.

A cross from Hendrie on 37 minutes was headed out for a corner before it could reach Vernam, although Benson's ball from the flag was caught by the keeper.

No additional time was played at the end of a first-half which had seen plenty of good football played despite the difficult conditions, with both teams creating chances.

No changes were made before the restart and Town went close to taking the lead two minutes in after a cross was met by Vernam but he could not force it over the line as the ball came back off the inside of the post.

Clarke hit a 25-yard drive which was deflected just past the post for a corner soon afterwards but the Mariners could not make the flag-kick count.

Wildig shot wide of the near post at the other end, before the away side went close when Adam Phillips went on a run into the penalty area but after he pulled the ball back across goal, nobody was there to turn it into the net.

A corner at the other end turned into another one as Hanson's near-post header was deflected behind. This time, the ball was cleared.

Whitehouse fired over the bar from 20 yards and a shot by Benson was held by Mofoumbi as Town continued to look for a breakthrough.

A foul on Grandin gave the hosts a free-kick midway inside the Morecambe half and Benson's shot from it was deflected away for a corner, which led to Hanson guiding a header just past the far post.

Green replaced Whitehouse as Town made the first change on 67 minutes and soon afterwards, the deadlock was finally broken. A great ball into the box from Clarke was met by HANSON, who got to it ahead of Mofoumbi and found the bottom corner of the net with a left-footed shot.

The Mariners immediately went in search of a second goal and a shot by Vernam was deflected away for a corner after another cross-field ball from Clarke.

Another corner came on 72 minutes but it was headed away by Sam Lavelle. Town kept possession though and they built up another attack which led to a powerful drive from Hendrie being pushed away by Mofoumbi.

Clarke was involved again two minutes later, sending a good cross over from the right, but Hanson was unable to meet it in the air.

Morecambe made a triple substitution with 15 minutes to go, as Jordan Slew, AJay Leitch-Smith and Carlos Mendes Gomes were all sent on.

Vernam cut in from the left and fired just past the far post soon afterwards, before Stockton blasted the ball over McKeown's bar at the other end.

Clifton replaced Grandin on 80 minutes and the midfielder won a corner on the right three minutes later. Clarke's ball from it was cleared.

A foul on Vernam gave Town a free kick on the left edge of the Morecambe penalty area and from it, the points were secured as BENSON'S shot got a heavy deflection and looped into the net.

Clarke was replaced by Tilley for the last three minutes of the game, with an additional three minutes signalled to be played after the regulation 90.

Morecambe were given a chance to pull a goal back when McKeown handled a back-pass. And they took the opportunity, as Leitch-Smith touched the ball to PHILLIPS and he found the net from 12 yards.

But the visitors did not have time to snatch a draw as Town closed out the remainder of the game to collect all three points.

The Mariners are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to promotion-chasing Swindon Town.

Counting all the games since he was appointed (i.e. including the first game where he let Anthony Limbrick take charge) Ian Holloway now has the most points per game in the era since 3 points became the rule for a win.

Town: McKeown (c), Hendrie, Waterfall, Pollock, Glennon, Whitehouse, Benson, Grandin, Vernam, Hanson, Clarke.

Subs: Russell, Öhman, Garmston, Clifton, Tilley, Wright, Green.

Morecambe: Mafoumbi, Cooney, Cranston, Old, Lavelle (C), Brewitt, Phillips,  Diagouraga, Stockton, O'Sullivan, Wildig.

Subs: Halstead, Mbulu, Kenyon, Leitch-Smith, Mendes Gomes, Slew.

Attendance: 4,704 (63)

Referee: Mr T Kettle

Possession: Town 67% - 33% Morecambe

Next Up: Swindon Town (A)

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