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Match Reports

Report: Grimsby Town 1-0 Iron

19 December 2020

Scunthorpe United fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Grimsby Town on Saturday afternoon.

The match was decided by Matt Pollock, who stabbed home a first-half goal for the Mariners following a corner.

It was a Humber derby like no other, played behind closed doors almost exactly a year to the day since United’s 1-0 triumph over the Mariners in a polar opposite atmosphere.

But this year, it was to be the Mariners who emerged victorious from another tightly-fought contest.

For the fixture, Neil Cox kept faith with the same starting eleven which had overcome Barrow on Tuesday evening.

That meant Mark Howard in goal, protected by a defence of Myles Hippolyte, Emmanuel Onariase, Jacob Bedeau and Jordan Clarke.

Alex Gilliead, Lewis Spence, Alfie Beestin and Abo Eisa packed the midfield, with John McAtee and Ryan Loft up top.

After the teams had taken the knee, the match started - with both sides trying to play at a high tempo. Quick passing and sharp tackles were the order of the opening five minutes.

In the sixth minute, the first chance fell Scunthorpe’s way, but McAtee’s header was well-handled by James McKeown following Gilliead’s searching cross.

Three minutes later, Jordan Clarke played an over-the-top ball which sliced through the Town defence, but it had a little (emphasis on ‘little’) too much on it for John McAtee to reach.

All things considered, it was a reasonable start by United away from home. This was underscored further when they resolutely defended a corner on the quarter hour mark.

Yet it would be fair to say that Town were growing steadily into the game, and were starting to see more of the ball in the middle of the park.

In one instance, this increased possession led to Filipe Morias flying down the flank and then rasping a cross into the box which Howard had to turn behind for a corner.

In turn, when United were unable to sufficiently clear that, Matty Pollock was able to stab home the loose ball. The Mariners, with twenty minutes on the clock, were ahead.

In response, United composed themselves and regathered their passing rhythm. 25 minutes were on the clock when they won a left-wing free-kick which Eisa whipped in and Onariase’s head was unlucky not to steer home at the back-stick.

Seconds later, the claret and blue side were in the attacking third again. Unfortunately, Loft could only fire over from 20 yards under a lot of pressure from the home defence.

Up the other end, the Grimsby bench was then audibly frustrated when Jackson surged into the box and was tackled by Bedeau, with the Mariner ending up on the deck. ‘Penalty’ Ian Holloway boomed, but to no avail.

35 minutes had been played when Scunthorpe had their next half-chance. Gilliead accelerated past his man and stood up the ball at the back-post, but Eisa couldn’t quite get over the ball for his header to hit the target.

Two minutes later, Gilliead found space again, and this time tried to pick out the far top-corner. The idea was there, but the execution wasn’t quite as it curled away from the angle of the posts and into the stands.

Still, Gilliead was finding space and looking dangerous - which had to be a positive. Furthermore, despite trailing, United were managing make chances - they just needed to make one count.

With the break firmly on the horizon, there was just time for Clarke to play through McAtee on the wing. However, the striker seemed surprised to have sprung the offside trap, and ended up curtailing his run before cutting the ball back behind Ryan Loft; rather than gunning for goal.

And that was pretty much that for the half, so at the break United trailed 1-0. Yet on the whole it had been an fairly even half, with the Iron having their fair share of chances.

Ahead of the re-start, McAtee was replaced by Aaron Jarvis for United before Grimsby got the match back underway.

At the start of the second period, it was Town who came out trying to force the issue. For the first ten minutes the Iron had a lot of pressure to absorb, and did so without affording their hosts a clear chance - despite Ira Jackson’s huffing and puffing.

After that spell, Town settled back down a little and became content to break up play in the middle of the park with little fouls designed to disrupt the Iron’s rhythm. It was frustrating but effective - neither side was managing to make any chances of any description as a result.

On the hour mark, Green and Edwards were introduced in place on Gibson and Bennett for Grimsby. It was a move that foreshadowed a further ten minutes of midfield battling.

In the very next passage, Ira Jackson pickpocketed the Scunthorpe defence, but after slaloming into the box fired wide.

With the clock now aligned against United, Myles Hippolyte planted a free-kick deep into the box 15 minutes from time. Both teams advanced towards it, but it was ultimately turned wide by an Iron, well, outer thigh.

After a further United attack, Jake Taylor was then introduced to the action, with Beestin withdrawn. Seconds later, Tilley was also brought on, but for Grimsby.

Inside the last ten minutes, Morais was taken off with Joe Starbuck brought on. Immediately Town pumped a free-kick high into Iron territory, where it was dealt with.

Five minutes from time, United had a potential opportunity when they won a free-kick on the right. Eisa placed the ball down, but struck it with a bit too much power and cleared the box.

It was an apt metaphor for United’s luck in the second-half. 1-0 to Town it ended, after five minutes of additional time.

GRIMSBY: McKeown, Hendrie, Hewitt, Pollock, Preston, Spokes, Clifton, Morais (Starbuck, 82), Bennett (Edwards, 62), Jackson Jr (Tilley, 79), Gibson (Green, 62).

GRIMSBY SUBS NOT USED: Russell, Khouri, Sisay.

IRON: Howard, Clarke, Bedeau, Onariase, Gilliead, Loft, Eisa, Hippolyte, Spence, Beestin (Taylor, 78), McAtee (Jarvis, 45).

IRON SUBS NOT USED: Watson, Green, Hallam, Cordner, O'Malley.


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