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Match Reports

Match report: Grimsby Town 3-1 Wrexham

Superb Mariners team performance earns all three points

14 September 2021

An outstanding team performance earned Grimsby Town a fantastic victory over Wrexham at a packed Blundell Park.

Roared on by more than 6,000 home fans on a special night in Cleethorpes, the Mariners came from a goal down to register a third home win on the spin, keep their unbeaten start to the season going and send a message out to the rest of the National League.

Jake Hyde put the visitors ahead on 22 minutes but their lead lasted just five minutes until Ryan Taylor equalised, then a Luke Waterfall header completed the turnaround before half-time.

Wrexham pushed forward in search of an equaliser after the break but a superb Town defensive display limited them to few chances and substitute Max Wright made the points safe with a late third goal.

Grimsby manager Paul Hurst stuck with the starting XI that began the victory at Torquay United on Saturday, meaning Shaun Pearson had to settle for a place on the bench against his previous club.

James McKeown started in goal, with Michee Efete, Waterfall, Ryley Towler and Adam Crookes forming the defence. Erico Sousa, Giles Coke, Alex Hunt and Harry Clifton were the midfielders, with John McAtee behind Taylor in attack.

Pearson's return following the birth of his child at the weekend meant he could be named among the substitutes, along with Will Bapaga, Wright, Ben Fox and Seb Revan.

Wrexham made the journey from north Wales looking to continue their own unbeaten start to a season where bookmakers have them among the leading contenders for promotion from the National League.

Among the main threats for Phil Parkinson's side would be striker Paul Mullin, who was the top scorer in League Two last season with Cambridge United, while defender Ben Tozer also won promotion from that division with Cheltenham Town last term.

Town kicked off amid an electric atmosphere and they looked to have the first chance of the game when Sousa took advantage of a loose pass to win the ball and shoot from 35 yards, although his effort missed the target and the referee blew for a Wrexham free kick in any case.

An early long throw from Tozer at the other end was headed clear by Waterfall, before a cross from Crookes was blocked as Town attacked.

A foul on Sousa brought a free kick on the right on nine minutes but Hunt's delivery was glanced just wide of the far post by Waterfall.

A deep cross from Wrexham's Aaron Hayden was headed clear, before Mullin tried his luck with a speculative effort from distance that caused no problems for McKeown as it sailed over the bar.

Visiting goalkeeper Rob Lainton needed treatment after falling awkwardly when he came off his line to punch the ball clear from a Town free kick but he was eventually passed fit to play on and the game continued.

Taylor was stopped by the offside flag after a good move involving McAtee and Sousa, then a low cross at the other end went straight through to McKeown as both sides looked for openings after what had been an even first 20 minutes.

The deadlock was broken on 22 minutes and it was the visitors who took the lead. Taylor looked to have been fouled on the halfway line but play continued as Wrexham built up an attack through the middle and when the ball was eventually played to HYDE, he slotted it past McKeown.

The referee waved away the Mariners' protests andhe made himself more unpopular with the home fans soon afterwards when he gave a foul against McAtee near the halfway line, but then went on to show the first yellow card of the evening to Wrexham's Devonte Redmond for a foul on Sousa.

Mullin fired at McKeown from the edge of the penalty area on 26 minutes as Wrexham looked to double their advantage.

But Town were not to be behind for long, as they levelled the scores two minutes later. Sousa got down the right and played a low ball across the six-yard line, where TAYLOR stretched to meet it and send it into the far corner of the net.

McAtee charged down a clearance by Lainton but the keeper's blushes were spared as the ball spun up an onto the Osmond Stand roof.

Town were on top now though and more good work by McAtee saw him win a corner on he right. And from it, the Mariners completed the turnaround as Hunt's inch-perfect delivery from the flag found WATERFALL, who powered a header into the top corner of the net from 12 yards.

A volley from 30 yards by Wrexham captain Luke Young missed the target as the Welsh side looked to get themselves back on level terms, then they thought they had got their equaliser when a quick move from a free kick led to Hyde flicking the ball into the net, only for the offside flag to come to the Mariners' rescue and keep them ahead.

Four added minutes were played at the end of what had been a richly entertaining first half, with McKeown diving to stop a low effort from 20 yards as Wrexham kept looking for a second goal.

Another long throw from Tozer was dealt with by Taylor and with no further chances coming before the referee's half-time whistle, the Mariners held a deserved advantage at the interval.

No changes were made before the restart and Town had the first shooting chance of the second half, with Coke firing a low effort just wide from the edge of the box.

A foul on Clifton on the left earned Tyler French a yellow card and gave the hosts a free kick but Hunt's ball from it wouldn't fall for a man in black and white and Wrexham scrambled it clear.

Hunt was off-target with a shot from distance on 55 minutes but the Mariners were in control, which led the visitors into making the first substitution of the game as Liam McAlinden replaced Redmond.

Sousa was booked after a late challenge near the dug-outs on the hour, before another Tozer long throw caused no problems as Hunt cleared.

A mistake by McKeown looked to have let the visitors in soon afterwards but Crookes was in the right place twice to make brilliant blocks and keep Town's lead intact.

A push by Clifton on French saw the midfielder become the latest to see a yellow card on 66 minutes as Wrexham continued to ask questions of the Mariners' defence.

The away side won a free kick when Efete was adjudged to have fouled Mullin on tthe right but the right-back was the one to head clear when the ball came into the box from the set piece. Towler then headed clear after Wrexham worked it back into the danger zone.

Dior Angus replaced Hyde in the away attack, before Wright came on for Sousa in Town's first change on 77 minutes.

Wright forced keeper Lainton to dive and make a stop when he let fly from 20 yards after being found by Hunt on 84 minutes.

Wrexham then made their third and final substitution as Cameron Green replaced Max Cleworth as they looked for a goal which would keep their unbeaten record going.

Appeals for a Mariners penalty soon afterwards were waved away by the referee after Wright went down inside the box.

At the other end, a shot by Angus was blocked by McKeown but the referee had already spotted an infringement and blown for a home free kick.

Angus was involved again on 88 minutes as he raced clear and played a low ball across the penalty area but Waterfall was in the right place to clear it for a corner.

Wrexham had been pushing for an equaliser but the Mariners made the result safe once and for all when the corner was cleared towards the halfway line, where WRIGHT won it, raced though the middle and under pressure, kept his composure to round the keeper and stroke it into the net.

Fox and Pearson replaced McAtee and Hunt, who both left the pitch to standing ovations from the home supporters.

Five added minutes were played at the end of the game before another roar from the Town fans acclaimed a fourth win from five league games so far and another big test emphatically passed.

The Mariners are back in action on Saturday, when Eastleigh are the visitors to Blundell Park.

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