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Match report: Boston Utd 0-1 Grimsby Town

Mariners earn victory in Lincolnshire derby

7 August 2021

John McAtee's second goal in consecutive pre-season friendlies gave Grimsby Town a hard-fought victory over Boston United.

Backed by a large travelling support on their first visit to the new Jakemans Community Stadium, the Mariners were frequently put under pressure by a strong Boston side in what was a fiercely-contested Lincolnshire derby.

But just as he had done against Alfreton in midweek, McAtee scored what proved to be the only goal of the game.

Town had chances to add to their lead and were also forced to do plenty of defending as the hosts pressed for an equaliser.

And in the end, Paul Hurst's side held on to register their second 1-0 victory of the week on the road.

Goalkeeper Max Crocombe made his start for the Mariners as Michee Efete, Shaun Pearson, David Longe-King and Adam Crookes formed the defence.

Harry Clifton, Giles Coke and Ben Fox made up the midfield, while after impressing at left-back on Tuesday, Seb Revan moved into a more advanced position alongside McAtee and Luis Adlard in attack.

The Grimsby substitutes were James McKeown, Luke Waterfall, Ryan Sears, Erico Sousa, Luke Spokes and Jaz Goundry.

Boston were playing their final friendly before the start of their National League North season, with manager Craig Elliott looking for a positive performance and result against the Mariners to take into a home clash with Spennymoor next Saturday.

An early shot by Danny Elliott for the hosts was blocked, then a corner from the right caused problems at the far post until the ball was nodded back to Crocombe.

Town's first chance came on seven minutes when McAtee threaded a perfect ball through the middle for Revan to run onto. The Aston Villa loanee could not beat keeper Peter Crook though, as he stood tall to block the shot.

Crocombe launched an attack six minutes later with a great pass to Efete on the right but after making progress, he was stopped by left-back Scott Duxbury.

A quickly-taken free kick was dealt with by the Town defence after a foul by McAtee, before a promising move between Efete and Revan ended when the right-back was caught offside.

Clifton won a corner on 24 minutes but McAtee's cross was cleared after the ball had been played short to him.

But Boston had looked the more dangerous of the two sides at the midway point in the first half and they had another opening after a good cross-field ball found Elliott on the right. He picked out Connor Dimaio but the midfielder could only fire over the bar.

McAtee worked an opening for a shot just after the half-hour after good play by Coke around the edge of the penalty area, although the forward's 18-yard drive went wide of the far post.

The hosts won a free kick when Longe-King stopped Elliott from making progress down the left but Pearson was in the right place to head the ball clear from it.

The Mariners then took the lead with their next attack, as Coke looked up and found Revan with a ball over the top. He advanced to the edge of the box before calmly squaring for McATEE, who tapped into the empty net.

Boston looked to respond and Elliott had a shooting chance when the ball broke for him inside the penalty area. He could not make it count though, as Crocombe got down to make a comfortable stop.

Duxbury was shown the yellow card after a poor challenge on Efete but the Mariners were unable to create a goalscoring opportunity from the resulting free kick. They kept possession though and built up another attack which led to McAtee shooting wide from the edge of the box.

A free kick at the other end was headed behind for a goal kick, then another one came when Pearson was penalised for a foul midway inside the Town half. Joe Leesley's ball was headed clear by Efete.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and Jordan Preston looked to have been presented with a chance to equalise when a cross from the left was missed by Crocombe. He could not get the ball under control though and Adlard got back to clear the danger.

That meant the Mariners held onto their narrow advantage at the interval, with McAtee's goal the difference between the two sides.

McKeown, Waterfall and Sousa replaced Crocombe, Crookes and Adlard before the restart as Town changed their formation, with Waterfall slotting into a centre-back trio alongside Pearson and Longe-King as Efete and Revan now operated as wing-backs and Sousa joined McAtee in attack.

Sousa was immediately into the action as he linked up with McAtee , then got on the end of a follow-up cross from Revan but could only hit the outside of the post.

The home side had an opportunity at the other end on 52 minutes when a cross came in from the left but Jordan Burrow was stretching as he met it and could only nod wide of the far post.

Town were given a free kick for a foul on Sousa when McAtee appeared to be breaking into the box but Revan's delivery from the set-piece went out of play before Waterfall could reach it.

Former Mariners defender Scott Garner replaced Jake Wright and Jay Rollins came on for Preston as Boston made a double-substitution two minutes after the hour.

A free kick from the home right was headed clear by Pearson, then a coming-together between Clifton and Rollins brought another opportunity for Boston to put pressure on the Town goal. This time, the ball from it was headed over the bar for a goal kick.

Elliott became the second Boston player to be booked as a home corner led to a scuffle after the referee had blown for a Grimsby free kick.

Sears and Spokes replaced Efete and Fox in Town's latest substitutions with 20 minutes left on the clock as the hosts pressed for an equaliser.

Boston's Rollins had to come off after going down with an injury within 13 minutes of coming off the bench. Terry Hawkridge was sent on in his place.

McAtee became the first Town player to be shown the yellow card when he brought Duxbury down on the home left on 75 minutes. A lengthy stoppage followed as the defender received treatment, before being carried off the pitch on a stretcher. Keenan Ferguson was sent on in his place.

When the game resumed, Town had a good chance to double their advantage as McAtee raced clear through the middle before passing to Sousa. He gave it back but the pass was just behind McAtee and although he got through two challenges, he was unable to beat substitute goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy. The ball broke back for Sousa but he eventually shot over the bar.

Sousa was in on goal again soon afterwards but again, he could not convert the chance as the keeper came off his line to deal with the danger.

Another opportunity fell for McAtee after a pass from Sousa but he was also denied by Sykes-Kenworthy, who pushed the shot away for a corner.

Goundry replaced McAtee for the last four minutes and another corner came as Town were finishing the game strongly. The ball from it was not fully cleared and the visitors launched another attack through Clifton, whose cross was headed over the bar by Waterfall at the far post.

Five added minutes were played at the end of the game and Boston went close to levelling the scores when a corner from Hawkridge was met by Garner but the defender planted his header just wide of the far post and the Mariners held on to secure the win.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Chesterfield for their final friendly ahead of the National League kick-off at Bromley on August 21.

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