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Match report: Maidenhead United 1-1 Grimsby Town

Mariners held to draw but extend unbeaten start to seven games

25 September 2021

Grimsby Town extended their unbeaten start to the season to seven games, although they were held to a 1-1 draw by Maidenhead United at York Road.

In what was the first-ever league meeting between the two sides, the Mariners took the lead through Erico Sousa on 73 minutes.

But they were unable to hold onto their advantage in Berkshire as Kane Ferdinand equalised 10 minutes later to earn the hosts a point.

Giles Coke and John McAtee both came back into the starting line-up after being left out of the XI for last week's home victory over Eastleigh. They replaced Ben Fox and Will Bapaga, who both dropped back to the bench.

James McKeown started in goal, with Michee Efete, Luke Waterfall, Ryley Towler and Adam Crookes again selected in defence. Sousa, Coke, Alex Hunt and Harry Clifton were the midfielders, with McAtee supporting Ryan Taylor in attack.

Fox and Bapaga were joined among the substitutes by Seb Revan, Shaun Pearson and Lenell John-Lewis.

Maidenhead were looking to stop a run of four straight National League defeats, the latest of which was a 1-0 loss at Notts County last Saturday. Alan Devonshire's men did, however, win their first two games of the campaign against Halifax and Dover.

Backed by another magnificent away following of 828, Town started well and won a corner within the first minute but Hunt's delivery was headed clear by Sam Barratt. The visitors retained possession though and an effort from the edge of the box by McAtee was claimed at the second attempt by keeper Rhys Lovett.

A free kick from Hunt on five minutes was cleared, then the home side's first opening saw McKeown called into action to punch the ball away from Ryan Upward after it had been flashed across the penalty area by striker Emile Acquah.

A foul by Towler on Ferdinand gave Maidenhead a free kick in a dangerous position on 10 minutes but they were unable to make it count as Charlee Adams' strike hit the Town wall and bounced away for a corner, which was headed away by Waterfall.

McKeown got down to make a stop from Adams' low shot five minutes later, before Acquah missed the target with a free header after meeting a cross from Barratt.

Another home corner came on 22 minutes when a cross was blocked by Efete. The ball from it was headed behind by Waterfall and this time, the resulting flag-kick was cleared.

Shaun Donnellan fired over the bar from the edge of the box at the midway point of the half, as the hosts continued to do most of the attacking.

Taylor was fouled soon afterwards to give Town a free kick inside the Maidenhead half, although they were unable to create any real danger from it.

A long-range effort from McAtee was well off-target, then Adams fired wide at the other end as both teams looked for openings after what had been a scrappy opening half-hour.

A run from Efete led to a Grimsby corner on 33 minutes and the right-back got his head to Hunt's delivery from the flag but could only direct the ball over the bar.

Town were now starting to get on top and another opportunity came soon afterwards, with Taylor turning a cross from Sousa wide of the near post.

Towler was the next to have a shooting chance after a Hunt free kick dropped for him inside the box, although his effort was comfortably stopped by Lovett.

Donnellan was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon on 39 minutes for pushing the ball out of Clifton's hands as he prepared to take a throw-in.

Town continued to attack and a shot by Sousa was blocked, before a ball towards Taylor was turned away for a corner. Towler's header from Hunt's delivery was tipped over the bar by the keeper for another corner but this time, the ball was cleared.

A cross from Clifton was cleared by Alan Massey, then McAtee looked for Taylor with another ball into the box but he could only find keeper Lovett.

McAtee was fouled deep inside the Maidenhead half on 43 minutes but Towler was unable to get on the end of Hunt's free kick after peeling away at the far post.

Two added minutes were played at the end of the half and midfielder Josh Kelly fired over the bar at the end of a break by the hosts after Sousa lost possession.

No further chances came before the referee's half-time whistle, meaning the scores remained level at the break.

No changes were made before the restart and an early cross from Crookes went away for a goal kick after Taylor could not reach it.

The home side won the first corner of the half but it was dealt with by Clifton. It proved to be the start of a spell of Maidenhead pressure which also saw a let-off for Town when McKeown picked up what appeared to be a back-pass from Efete.

A high ball into the box from Barratt was well-claimed by McKeown, before a cross from Sam Beckwith was cleared as the hosts continued to ask questions.

At the other end, Coke let fly with a shot from the edge of the penalty area which was saved by Lovett.

A free kick from Donnellan was dealt with by Waterfall but the hosts kept possession until a cross went out for a goal kick.

A cross from McAtee was blocked for a corner on 59 minutes and from it, the ball eventually broke back to Hunt and his drive produced a good save from Lovett.

Another corner soon afterwards led to Waterfall sending an overhead kick over the bar, before an attempt by Clifton was held by the keeper.

Maidenhead made the first substitution on 65 minutes as Kelly was replaced by Reece Smith, before Acquah hit a weak shot which was comfortably stopped by McKeown.

Fox came on for Hunt in the Town midfield soon afterwards, then Waterfall was booked for a push on Acquah which also gave the home side a free kick in a dangerous position on the left. Adams' shot from it caused no problems as the ball hit the roof of the stand behind the goal.

Maidenhead were building pressure as the Mariners were forced into a spell of defending around the 70-minute mark.

But when the opening goal finally arrived on 73 minutes, it was the visitors who made the breakthrough. Clifton got down the right and after an exchange of passes with Efete, he sent a ball to the far post for SOUSA to slot past Lovett and into the net.

Adams was replaced by Nathan Blissett as the home side looked to respond to falling behind, then Pearson came on in place of Sousa in the blue of the Mariners as they aimed to hold their lead.

Dylan Asonganyi was the third and final Maidenhead substitute to come off the bench as he replaced Acquah in attack for the last 11 minutes.

And the hosts were back level four minutes later, when a ball into the box was met by FERDINAND and his header flashed past McKeown to make it 1-1.

A cross from Asonganyi was claimed by McKeown, before Waterfall volleyed over the bar at the other end after meeting a cross from Efete.

John-Lewis was sent on in place of Coke as the game moved into four added minutes, with both sides looking for a winning goal.

But that crucial third goal of the game was not to come as the Mariners' run of four wins in a row came to an end, although they remain undefeated in seven games so far this season and now boast their best start to a league campaign since 1982.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they make the trip to Bromley.

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