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Team Sheet

Grimsby Town
1
James McKeown (c)
2
Luke Hendrie
3
Liam Gibson
4
Harry Davis
6
Luke Waterfall
8
Jake Hessenthaler
11
Jordan Cook

Ogbu 33'

12
Ethan Robson
15
Harry Clifton

Rose 70'

18
Charles Vernam
19
Max Wright

Cardwell 87'

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
3
Ibou Touray
4
Oscar Threlkeld
5
Liam Hogan (c)
9
Adam Rooney

Dieseruvwe 73'

15
Cameron Burgess
17
Richie Towell
Yellow card for Richie Towell
18
Danny Whitehead

Armstrong 88'

28
Brandon Thomas-Asante
32
Jake Jervis
44
Craig Conway
Substitutes
23
Sam Russell
10
Elliott Whitehouse
14
Ahkeem Rose
1 goals for Ahkeem Rose
17
Harry Cardwell
20
Moses Ogbu
22
Elliott Hewitt
25
Mattie Pollock
Substitutes
12
Kyle Letheren
2
Scott Wiseman
6
Carl Piergianni
7
Luke Armstrong
13
Sam Hughes
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
Managers
Interim Manager - Anthony Limbrick
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee - Anthony Moore
Assistant Referee - Wade Smith
Fourth Official - James Bell

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Match
Report

A very merry Ammie Christmas turned into a disappointing New Year’s Day as Grimsby Town struck late to secure victory at Blundell Park. The fine margins at this level of football were exemplified again as Brandon Asante missed a glorious chance to put Salford ahead just a couple of minutes before Akheem Rose struck for the Mariners. This was a tight affair that never looked likely to produce the goals that had marked what had been a very successful yuletide season for Graham Alexander’s side.

There was an enforced change from the side that won so impressively at Oldham on Sunday, with Danny Whitehead replacing injured Joey Jones.

The game would be tight, although both sides would create a few chances. The first moment of threat came from the Mariners when Max Wright made space to deliver a cross from the right. It was a decent one, but in the middle neither Charles Vernam nor Jordan Cook could get a decisive touch.

Salford nearly worked an opportunity of their own soon after that as Craig Conway’s cross almost dropped for the waiting Jake Jervis, only for a home defender to get in a vital touch. In the 9th minute Asante – in such form fine recently – curled in an effort from 20 yards, with James McKeown making a comfortable enough save.

Both of these sides were looking to push forward, and Town’s Ethan Robson’s run took him into the area only for his shot to be blocked by Salford skipper Liam Hogan.

At the other end the lively Asante did well, making ground on the right before playing a ball inside for Adam Rooney. Salford’s top scorer was well positioned but from about 12 yards out could only direct a low shot just wide of McKeown’s left-hand upright. The former Aberdeen striker had another go in the 19th minute, meeting Jake Jervis’ cross with a downward header that was pushed wide by the keeper.

Not a bad first quarter, but goalmouth action became less common as the half progressed. A Vernam effort from wide had to be touched away by Neal and Salford almost capitalised on a mistake by home defender Luke Waterfall. Asante nipped in but when he rolled a pass inside it was behind Rooney and the chance was gone.

Grimsby made a change 12 minutes before half-time as the injured Cook was replaced by Moses Ogbu, who headed a Wright cross wide soon after being introduced.

In the 42nd minute Towell passed inside for Whitehead, but the midfielder couldn’t keep his 20-yarder down.

HALF-TIME: GRIMSBY TOWN 0 SALFORD CITY 0

An even first half overall, with the Mariners seeing more of the ball and Salford creating the better of the chances.

Grimsby looked bright after the restart and crisp passing move almost unlocked the visiting defence in the 49th minute. Jake Hessenthaler & Robson were involved in the build-up before Vernam had a go from the left-hand angle of the box, with Neal collecting the low effort at his near post.

rom the next attack Luke Hendrie went for the line on the right and his dangerous low ball inside was deflected behind. Neal was able to claim the corner and the Ammies managed to apply a little pressure on Grimsby’s defence.

Asante was nudged over wide on Salford’s left, with Ibou Touray aiming his delivery of the free-kick at the near post. Rooney was there to meet it but was unable to get much direction on a 10-yard header that flew high and wide of the target.

Towell picked up what would be the afternoon’s only yellow card on the hour following a clash with Vernam. From the free-kick Wright did well on the right but after cutting into the box close to the line, Hogan knocked his cross behind for a corner.

The Mariners were getting on top, but their neat possession wasn’t carving out too many clear-cut chances as Salford’s defence held firm. The Ammies looked to counter when they could and on 63 minutes Asante was played into space inside the area and right of centre. It was a decent opening but by the time the trigger was pulled Harry Davis got across to make a great blocking challenge.

There was a moment of concern for Salford when Ogbu cut into the box on the right, only to go down as he tried to get past Cameron Burgess. There were a few half-hearted appeals for a penalty but the referee was unmoved, awarding a goal kick to the Ammies.
Town’s interim manager Anthony Limbrick made what would be a significant change with 20 minutes left, replacing Harry Clifton would Rose.

Play had become a bit scrappy at times and as the full-time whistle appeared on the horizon, it looked more and more likely that a single goal would decide the destination of the points. Could either side get that all-important goal?

In the 74th minute Asante tried to break the deadlock with a low shot that McKeown turned away with his foot. Soon after that Towell’s deep free kick from a central position dropped into the penalty area, but despute Burgess stretching to meet it the ball bounced safely through to the keeper. At the other end Vernam’s low ball to the near post was met by Rose, whose attempt to poke home from a couple of yards out was blocked.

In the 81st minute the clearest opportunity of the game so far went the way of Salford City. Substitute Mani Dieseruvwe’s square ball to the right found Conway and his delicate pass into the right-hand side of the box picked out Towell. Grimsby were stretched at the back, but even so Robson should have dealt with the pass inside, aimed at Asante. He didn’t, but from 8 yards out and with only the keeper to beat the young forward’s shot clipped low off the outside of McKeown’s left-hand upright and out for a goal kick.

A huge chance and within 3 minutes the Ammies – who should have been one up – fell behind. Ogbu’s pass to the left found Vernam who played a low, square ball into the penalty area. Burgess gave ROSE a little bit too much space to take a touch, turn and hit a low left-footer from 10 yards out and left-of-centre. It wasn’t the cleanest of strikes but did a job as the ball bounced a couple of times, beating Neal’s desperate dive on its way just inside the keeper’s left-hand post.

Salford looked to find a quick response, with Touray crossing high from the left and Conway getting up well, 10 yards out more or less level with the far post. It was a decent attempt, on target to dip under the bar, but McKeown was able to save comfortably.
Luke Armstrong came on for Whitehead as the Ammies played 3 up front for the final minutes of the game. They weren’t able to pierce Town’s defence though and the home side had their first win in any competition since 28th September.

FULL TIME: GRIMSBY TOWN 1 SALFORD CITY 0

After two thumping wins this wasn’t the result we wanted – or perhaps anticipated – on the first day of the new year. With Ian Holloway installed as Grimsby Town this week, his new charges may have been keen to impress the new gaffer and were able to produce a long overdue win.

It was a tight game for the most part, with the Mariners having lots of the ball but – a bit like Oldham on Sunday – struggling to test Neal in the Salford goal. The Ammies will look back on a number of presentable opportunities and will especially rue Asante’s late miss – if that had gone in, the points might well have been on their way back to Moor Lane. Unlucky for a player who enjoyed another very decent outing after forcing his way into the starting XI.

A setback, but with back-to-back home games coming up next week (as well as an EFL Trophy tie) the chance is there to get some more points on the board and restore the upward momentum.

Attendance: 4,555 (including 138 Salford City)

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