GTFC narrow win over Cheltenham Town

Grimsby Town kept their winning run going with a narrow victory over Cheltenham Town at Blundell Park.

In a game low on genuine quality, a Wes Thomas penalty four minutes before half-time proved enough for the Mariners to earn all three points.

Town boss Michael Jolley started with the same XI that began last week’s victory at Yeovil, which had taken the winning sequence to three games in a row.

James McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie, Reece Hall-Johnson, Ludvig Ohman, Danny Collins and Sebastian Ring forming a five-man defence.

Elliot Embleton, Jake Hessenthaler and Martyn Woolford were the midfield trio, with Thomas and Jordan Cook in attack.

The Grimsby substitutes were Kristian Dennis, Joe Grayson, Harry Clifton, Charles Vernam, Harry Davis, Alex Whitmore and Sam Russell.

Cheltenham began the day 18th in the League Two table, four places and eight points behind the Mariners but looking to complete a league double over their hosts having won the reverse fixture in Gloucestershire in December.

Town kicked off, attacking the Pontoon Stand end of the ground and Cook was given a warning by the referee after two similar fouls near the Cheltenham corner flag on the right with six minutes on the clock.

The Mariners won the first corner of the game but the ball ended up with visiting keeper Scott Flinders after Ring’s delivery had been flicked on.

The game’s first chance came on 10 minutes when Ring burst into the box from the left and pulled the ball back but Thomas could not direct it towards goal.

Town were starting to get into their stride after a quiet start and Woolford had a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box two minutes later, although his low effort was comfortably stopped by Flinders.

The away side had an opportunity to create some danger of their own with a free kick from the left but Chris Hussey’s excellent delivery into the penalty areea was headed off-target by Luke Varney.

A Cheltenham corner came on the right soon afterwards but it caused no problems for the Town defence as the ball was intercepted by Hessenthaler after it had been played short.

Embleton was fouled near the edge of the box to give the Mariners a free kick in a promising position on 20 minutes but his shot from it went over the bar.

Varney had the ball in the net for Cheltenham three minutes later but there were no celbrations as the offside flag had gone up against him as he ran onto a through-ball.

After a promising spell for the away side failed to produce a chance in front of goal, Thomas won a corrner at the other end but Collins’ header from it was cleared.

A dangerous-looking cross from Varney had to be headed away for a corner by Collins with six minutes to go before the break but the ball from the flag was flicked wide by the expeienced striker.

Soon afterwards, the Mariners were given a chance to take the lead when Thomas was brought down inside  the box and the refere pointed to the penalty spot.  THOMAS stepped up himself to beat the dive of Fliners and find the bottom-left corner of the net.

Cheltenham’s Charlie Raglan was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Cook and after one additional minute at the end of the half passed without any further chances, it remained 1-0 at the interval.

No changes were made before the restart and the visitors won the first corner of the second half seven minutes in, although Hussey’s ball was headed clear by Thomas at the near post.

Billy Waters replaced Rakish Bingham in the Cheltenham attack as the visitors made the first substitution of the game on 57 minutes.

Thomas did well to win a corner on the left after linking up with Woolford but Town were unable to create any sinificant problems from the flag-kick.

Woolford was replaced by Clifon just before another corner, this time on the right, saw Hessenthaler’s ball go just too high for Ohman.

Manny Duku came on in place of Varney for the away side and the substitute almost had an opportunity to equalise when he got the better of Ohman on the edge of the box but McKeown spotted the danger and came off his line to get to the ball first.

Cheltenam’s last change saw Will Boyle replace Cameron Pring, before Dennis was sent on in place of Thomas for the Mariners.

A free kick from Hussey on the right on 75 minutes caused no problems as the ball went through to McKeown, with the visitors posing little real threat to the Town dfence.

Midfielder Jordan Tillson was booked for a foul on Cook on the halfway line and from the resulting free kick, Collins headed the ball on for Dennis but he could not get a strong enough contact on it to take it past Flinders.

Soon afterwards, Ohman was adjudged to have fouled Jacob Maddox on the edge of the penalty area but Hussey’s free kick curled just wide of McKeown’s target.

Davis came on for Embleton in the final substitution of the afternoon with six minutes to go, before a Duku shot thre minutes later was deflected through to McKeown.

The fourth official signalled four added minutes to be played at the end of the game and the Mariners were able to see the additional time out comfortably to secure the three points and a clean sheet.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Swindon Town.

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