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Match Reports

Match report: Stockport County 0-0 Grimsby Town

Mariners earn a point on the road

31 August 2021

Lee Blease

Grimsby Town earned a valuable point as they battled out a goalless draw with Stockport County at Edgeley Park.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, the home side had the better opportunities during a tight first half but the Mariners defended well throughout and grew into the game as an attacking force after the break.

John McAtee had the ball in the net in front of the 1,200 travelling Town fans but the celebrations were short-lived as the goal was ruled out for a foul in the build-up.

Both sides pushed for a breakthrough but ultimately, it was not to come and they were forced to settle for one point each as Town were rewarded for a solid performance with a second consecutive clean sheet at the start of the National League season.

Paul Hurst made three changes to his Grimsby starting XI following Saturday's home victory over Weymouth. New captain Giles Coke returned from illness in place of Ben Fox in midfield while Luke Waterfall and Sebastian Revan came in for Shaun Pearson and Erico Sousa.

James McKeown started in goal, with David Longe-King, Waterfall and Adam Crookes forming a centre-back trio as Michee Efete and Seb Revan operated as wing-backs. Coke, Harry Clifton and Alex Hunt were the midfielders, with McAtee and Ryan Taylor in attack.

Pearson, Fox and Sousa were all named on the bench, along with Will Bapaga and Lenell John-Lewis.

Stockport were also looking to make it two wins on the bounce following a success at Southend United at the weekend, although they were playing their third game of the campaign after opening with a home defeat.

They made two changes from the XI that started at the weekend, with striker and summer signing Scott Quigley among those to miss out through injury.

Instead, the hosts would look to the likes of Paddy Madden and Saturday's goalscorer John Rooney to provide the firepower.

An early break by Alex Reid for Stockport was stopped by Waterfall, before a promising spell for the Mariners ended when Hunt's ball with the outside of his foot was intercepted.

A cross from Ben Whitfield beat everybody, before a foul by McAtee gave the hosts a free kick in a dangerous position on 14 minutes. Again, they were unable to make it count.

Neither goalkeeper had been called into action as the 20-minute mark passed, with the first chance of the game still yet to be created.

An opening for the home side looked to have come soon afterwards though as Jordan Keane sent a cross towards Reid, although the ball was slid away for a corner by Longe-King at the near post.

Clifton set off on a run through the middle on 25 minutes but he was stopped and the ball was played back to Stockport keeper Ben Hinchliffe.

A good break by Town came just after the half-hour, with Efete doing well to chase the ball down and get a cross in from the right, although it was cleared by Ash Palmer.

The first real chance arrived on 36 minutes when a low cross from Stockport's Arjan Raikhy fell for Reid but he was unable to turn the ball towards goal from six yards. Madden looked to get onto the loose ball but Efete did well to get there first and ensure the only damage was a corner.

Another opportunity came two minutes before the break when Madden broke clear through the middle. He found Reid but again, the striker was unable to get the ball under control and the chance was gone.

Waterfall was forced to concede a corner soon afterwards and it soon turned into another one when the ball from the flag was put behind by Efete. This time, it produced the first shot of the game but Madden's effort went wide of McKeown's target.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and Town finished it on the attack, although they were unable to turn their possession into a chance in front of goal.

That meant it remained goalless at the interval, with Stockport asking most of the questions in attack but Town holding firm in defence.

No changes were made before the restart and the Mariners won an early corner through McAtee in front of their travelling fans. Hunt's ball from the flag was headed clear by Ryan Croasdale.

Soon afterwards, Town had the ball in the net but McAtee's effort did not count as the referee had already blown for a foul by the attacker on Keane in the build-up.

Rooney fired off-target from distance on 57 minutes, then Stockport won a corner after the ball looped up off Waterfall. McKeown failed to collect the ball from the flag but Clifton did well to get to it ahead of Keane and clear the danger.

Pearson replaced Longe-King as Town made the first substitution of the game and a spell of away pressure followed, with a penalty appeal waved away after Taylor went down under a challenge at the far post.

A home free kick from Rooney was cleared at one end and a shot by Efete was blocked at the other as both sides looked for a breakthrough.

Tom Walker replaced Reid as Stockport made their first substitution on 69 minutes, before a cross from Hunt was headed clear by Madden.

Clifton did well to track back and stop a home attack at the expense of a corner soon afterwards, before blocking a shot for another flag-kick. This time, the delivery was headed clear at the near post by Waterfall and Walker failed to connect with an attempted overhead kick when the ball was played back into the box.

John-Lewis replaced Taylor on 72 minutes and a Mariners corner came soon afterwards but the danger was dealt with by the home defence.

Town had grown into the game and looked increasingly threatening since half-time, with another corner coming on 77 minutes when an attempt by John-Lewis was deflected away. The ball from the flag was headed clear.

Fox came on for Revan for the last 12 minutes in the visitors' final change, before a home attack led to Madden glancing a header wide, although the offside flag had already gone up against the striker.

Elliot Newby was sent on in place of Raikhy for Stockport, before Will Collar replaced Ben Whitfield in their final substitution with eight minutes to go.

A Town corner on 84 minutes was cleared and at the other end, the Mariners continued to defend well to keep their hosts out.

Four added minutes were signalled as Stockport pushed forward in an attempt to break the deadlock, with Madden looping a header wide after meeting a cross from Collar.

A late shot by Fox was blocked and the ball broke away from goal, before the Mariners closed out the remainder of the game to ensure they would take a point back to North East Lincolnshire.

Town return to action on Saturday, when they host Barnet at Blundell Park.

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