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Match report: Bromley 3-1 Grimsby Town

Mariners beaten for first time this season as Bromley come from behind to win

28 September 2021

Ten-man Grimsby Town fell to their first defeat of the season as Bromley came from behind to win at Hayes Lane.

On a wet and windy night in south London, the Mariners produced a fine first-half performance on the artificial 4G pitch and led at the break through a John McAtee free kick.

But as the conditions worsened after half-time, Bromley took charge as their leading scorer Michael Cheek equalised, before James Alabi put them ahead.

Town's task was made more difficult when Michee Efete was shown a straight red card and the hosts made sure of the points when Corey Whitely made it 3-1 with eight minutes to go.

Two changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI after Saturday's draw at Maidenhead United, with Ben Fox and Will Bapaga coming in for Alex Hunt and Ryan Taylor.

James McKeown started in goal, with Efete, Luke Waterfall, Ryley Towler and Adam Crookes again forming the defence. Fox joined Giles Coke and Harry Clifton in midfield, while Erico Sousa, McAtee and Will Bapaga led the attack.

Hunt and Taylor were both named on the bench, alongside Shaun Pearson, Seb Revan and Lenell John-Lewis.

Bromley began the evening 10th in the league but knew a win would see them climb into the play-off positions, while the Mariners were hoping to go top of the table with a victory, depending on results elsewhere.

Home striker Cheek was looking to add to his six goals so far this season, while former Town loanees Alabi and Liam Trotter were both among the Bromley substitutes.

The hosts won the first corner within two minutes but it caused no problems, then an early spell of Town pressure saw Sousa and Efete link up down the right, although the eventual cross went out for a goal kick.

McKeown was called into action on four minutes to stop a shot by striker George Alexander from a narrow angle after a pass from Billy Bingham, then Bapaga headed wide at the other end after a cross from Sousa.

A cross from Efete was taken by home keeper Mark Cousins on 12 minutes, before Coke fired over the bar and a corner soon afterwards led to Waterfall heading at Cousins as Town continued what had been a high-tempo start to the game.

A dangerous cross from Bromley's Jude Arthurs on 18 minutes was not dealt with by McKeown but Waterfall was in the right place to get the ball away for a corner.

Towler then had to make a great block to stop Marcus Sablier from giving the hosts the lead, before Town counter-attacked through McAtee, whose shot was deflected for a corner at the near post.

Fox was shown the first yellow card of the evening on 27 minutes after catching Sablier with an arm, then a home corner was headed wide.

Arthurs fired wide after a quick break by Bromley on 34 minutes, then Fox had to concede a corner as the home side enjoyed a spell of pressure. The ball from the flag caused no problems though, as it bounced away for a goal kick.

Another home corner came when a shot by Alexander took a deflection and looped away but again, they were unable to turn the set piece into a chance in front of goal as the referee blew for a foul and a Town free kick.

A foul by Towler gave Bromley a free kick on 42 minutes but Luke Coulson's delivery was cleared and Town broke, with Clifton eventually heading wide.

The Mariners did not have to wait much longer to take the lead though, as a foul on Bapaga earned Coulson a yellow card and from the resulting free kick, McATEE caught Cousins out as he found the net.

The breakthrough came just before the game moved into two added minutes and Town could have doubled their advantage when Bapaga went through on goal, only for his shot to be blocked by the keeper for a corner.

That meant Town had to settle for a 1-0 lead to show for their efforts following a high-energy display over the opening 45 minutes.

No changes were made before the restart but the Mariners were forced into the first substitution eight minutes in after Sousa was unable to shake off a knock. He was replaced by Taylor in a move which also saw McAtee move to the right.

Alexander was replaced by Alabi and Trotter came on for Sablier as Bromley made a double-substitution on 55 minutes in a bid to get back into the contest.

And within two minutes, the hosts were level again when CHEEK got the ball on the right and cut inside before letting fly with a shot from 25 yards which took a deflection on its way past McKeown.

A Town free kick was cleared as they set out with the aim of regaining their lead, with Bapaga then winning a corner on the hour. McAtee's ball found its way to Crookes but his effort was blocked and Bromley cleared their lines.

As the rain got heavier and the wind stronger, the game was now firmly in the balance and Town won another corner on 63 minutes. It eventually led to Coke missing the target with a shot after good play by Fox.

An effort from distance by defender Chris Bush cleared McKeown's bar, before a corner from Arthurs hit the side-netting.

But soon afterwards, the hosts complted the turnarouond as ALABI got in behind the Town defence and made no mistake, beating McKeown from a narrow angle to make it 2-1 to Bromley.

Things then went from bad to worse on 69 minutes when the Mariners were reduced to 10 men. Efete was fouled but reacted poorly to the challenge and was shown a straight red card.

John-Lewis was sent on in place of Bapaga as Town looked for a way back into the game and there was an opportunity for McAtee on 73 minutes but he could only send the ball through to keeper Cousins.

Good play by McAtee saw him get into the box but when he pulled the ball back for Fox, the midfielder fired wide.

Revan came on in place of Crookes in Town's final change, before a low effort from Clifton skimmed wide from the edge of the box as the game moved into its last 10 minutes.

Soon afterwards, the hosts made sure of the points when they grabbed a third goal. This time, it was WHITELY who cut in from the left and let fly from distance with a shot that gave McKeown no chance.

Louis Dennis replaced Coulson in the latest Bromley substitution, with the home side now firmly in charge.

Town were still pushing to get back into the game though, with Clifton, Fox and Coke driving forward in an attempt to create opportunities.

But it was not to be, as Bromley saw out the remainder of the game, including five added minutes, to seal all three points and leave the Mariners empty-handed for the first time this campaign.

Next up is a home clash with bottom-of-the-table Dover Athletic at Blundell Park on Saturday.

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