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Match Reports

Report: Grimsby Town 0-1 Iron

21 December 2019

Scunthorpe United emerged as 1-0 victors in their Sky Bet League Two local derby with Grimsby Town on Saturday afternoon - the first league fixture between the two Lincolnshire teams since 2005.

It was a gripping affair from the off, with both teams grappling both for control of the match and for local bragging rights. But after a goalless first period, Kevin van Veen sealed the three points for the Iron with a tidy second-half finish. 

Entering the game, Scunthorpe made two changes from the side that picked up a point against Colchester a week beforehand. Jordan Clarke and Abo Eisa - both ruled out through injury - were replaced by Levi Sutton and Junior Brown.

That meant United started with Jake Eastwood between the sticks, and a back four of Ntlhe, McArdle, McGahey and Perch.

Slightly further upfield, the midfield consisted of Brown, Songo'o, Sutton and Gilliead.

Meanwhile, the attack was led by Lee Novak and Kevin van Veen. Support from the bench was offered in the form of: Watson, Butler, Ward, Miller, Bedeau, Proctor and McAtee.

Notably for the home team, striker James Hanson was out through injury. On the other hand, one-time Iron defender Luke Waterfall started for the Mariners at the heart of defence.

Following a vociferous and passionate reading of the teams to crank up the atmosphere, Kevin van Veen got the 1pm game up and running.

Four minutes in, and Scunthorpe had the first attacking opportunity of the day, winning a corner on the right after persistence from Novak on the flank. Twice van Veen crossed into the box, but twice Grimsby managed to clear before winning a defensive free-kick. 

In the following moments the home side pushed forward, but Jake Hessenthaler's high header was the closest they came to troubling Eastwood's goal. 

Ten minutes in, Charles Vernam progressed up the Iron wing to send in a dangerous low cross which Jake Eastwood was equal to in the Iron goal. 

But after ten minutes, things calmed down for a while. In fact, by the 20th minute the most notable moment of the last ten had to have been Grimsby fans trying to unveil a club banner - which took them a while to hang the right way up - much to the away end's amusement. 

Back in terms of the actual match, Town nearly took the lead in the twentieth minute when Matt Green was cutely played through on goal. With time and space he tried to roll low past Eastwood, who stayed big to make a smart stop (with his feet) even when the odds were against him. 

Three minutes later, there was almost a decisive moment when Songo'o went down on the edge of the Grimsby area, with the Iron wanting a free-kick. Instead play continued with Grimsby's Max Wright eventually breaching the Scunthorpe box, only to fire wide.

As a direct consequence of that incident, United were forced into a thirtieth minute change. Songo'o had failed to run the tackle off, and had to be replaced by Jamie Ward - triggering a slight reshuffle in the Iron pack. 

With Grimsby arguably seeing more of the ball by this point, the home side won a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the box following a foul by McGahey in the 32nd minute. The defender was booked for his challenge (despite protesting his innocence), with Hessenthaler then sending his attempt into the wall. 

Ten minutes prior to the break, van Veen then drew a foul around thirty yards out which also saw Harry Clifton enter the referee's notebook. van Veen crossed deep into the box, but it was cleared by the wall of black and white shirts stationed level with the penalty spot. 

As half time approached, it was looking increasingly likely that the scores would be level on the whistle. That was despite Novak attempting to thread through van Veen with a matter of minutes left on the clock, only for James McKeown to beat him to it. 

Before the whistle there was just enough time for a Town corner, which came to nothing due to a handball. There was also time for three added minutes, which were pretty nonedescript. At half-time, it was 0-0.

Play resumed for the second period with Grimsby getting us underway, and the Iron attacking towards their own fans in the Osmond Stand. 

And Grimsby came racing out of the blocks, getting a couple of crosses into the area before winning a corner. That fell gloriously to Luke Waterfall at the back-stick, but he rifled over from an acute angle. 

In their next attack, the Mariners worked the ball up the wing and cut it back to Max Wright from the byline. He connected, but not with enough conviction to get it past Jake Eastwood - whose low save sent the ball spiralling clear. 

United responded with Ntlhe trying his luck from range on the half-volley in the fiftieth minute. It forced McKeown into a save, but unfortunately nothing more. 

55 minutes were on the clock when Grimsby pushed forward again. With the ball loose in the box Ethan Robson seized on to it, got the ball out of his feet and had a go - excitedly prodding over. 

Luke Hendrie was the next player to try his luck for Town, driving into the box and rounding a couple of Iron players before prodding low at goal - only to be thwarted by Jake Eastwood's legs. 

After an hour was gone, United made another change. This time, Junior Brown was switched with John McAtee. 

Immediately, United raced upfield and took the lead. It started when Jamie Ward got the ball in the centre circle and moved into the Grimsby half, waiting until just the right moment to release van Veen on the overlap. He entered the box from the left and coolly found the top-right corner of the net to edge United ahead, sending the Iron fans wild! 

In the minutes following the goal, United had confidence and continued to press. Indeed, Gilliead whacked one towards goal from range after a bit of a scramble in the box, but there were too many bodies for the ball to get through. 

For the final twenty, Town made a switch as Ahkeem Rose replaced Harry Clifton. In their next attack they played the ball deep into the box and asked for a penalty when Green went tumbling, but the referee wasn't interested. 

Three minutes later, the Mariners then made another change, as Green made way for Moses Ogbu. Both teams then had further penalty shouts, with Ntlhe ending up in the book for simulation before Town had Ogbu's appeals turned away when he stumbled as entering the Scunthorpe box. The latter decision incensed Anthony Limbrick so much on the Town bench that he was booked. 

Inside the last ten, Grimsby won an offensive free-kick which Scunthorpe quickly cleared upfield to Ward. For a moment it looked like he might break free, but he was eventually forced to sidestep and the ball ended up with Gilliead who couldn't get the power needed behind his strike. 

Town then won a free-kick followed by a corner, but United managed to hold firm and clear the latter. Scunthorpe then made their final change, with Ward replaced by Proctor. 

Grimsby came again, throwing bodies forward with United now defending for their lives and two minutes left on the clock. Another Town corner came, with Proctor heading clear. 

At the end of the initial ninety, five minutes were added on by the fourth official's board. Two minutes into added time, United surged forward on the counter, with van Veen putting in Proctor, but the striker was stopped by the legs of McKeown. van Veen, feeding off the scraps, then sent the follow up just wide.

Town came again, but couldn't create a chance of significance. The points were Scunthorpe's. 

GRIMSBY: McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Waterfall, Gibson, Hessenthaler, Robson, Clifton (Rose, 71), Vernam, Wright, Green (Ogbu, 73).

GRIMSBY SUBS NOT USED: Russell, Pollock, Starbuck, Ohman, Cardwell.

IRON: Eastwood, Ntlhe, Songo’o (Ward, 29, Proctor, 85), van Veen, Perch, Novak, Gilliead, Sutton, McArdle, McGahey, Brown (McAtee, 60).

IRON SUBS NOT USED: Watson, Butler, Miller, Bedeau.

ATTENDANCE: 7,385 (1,737 away) 


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