Match report: Town suffer home defeat to Doncaster Rovers
Grimsby Town were beaten at home by Doncaster Rovers in League Two this afternoon.
A George Miller double and a Harrison Biggins stunner put the visitors three goals ahead, before the returning John McAtee grabbed a consolation for his side.
Paul Hurst reverted back to the same team that hit five past Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup last weekend after making a number of changes for the Papa Johns Trophy fixture against Manchester City U-21s in midweek.
Following back-to-back victories in the cup competitions, the Mariners came into the game looking for their first league win in three matches to push them back into the playoff picture.
Doncaster started the better of the two sides, pinning Town back in their own half. They had the first major chance on four minutes when Max Crocombe pulled off an excellent save to parry away Miller’s header from point-blank range.
But he wasn’t to be denied for much longer, as the forward tapped the ball into an empty net at the back post to give his side the lead following a neat move.
Town responded fairly well, but despite pushing forward in pursuit of an equaliser, they failed to create any real chances to test Jonathan Mitchell in the Rovers goal with 20 minutes gone.
Just past the midway point of the first half, a mazy run from Kyle Knoyle saw the Doncaster right-back beat three or four men with ease, before unleashing an effort that was well blocked to deny the visitors a second.
From the resulting corner, Town broke away quickly on the counter and Otis Khan played a superb ball in behind to send Harry Clifton through one-on-one with the keeper, but Mitchell stood up tall to block the midfielder’s effort away.
They continued to dominate the ball over the next 15 minutes – racking up as much as 62% of the possession – but lacked a focal point and any real quality in the final third of the field.
The dangerous Miller went close to grabbing his and Doncaster’s second of the afternoon just before half-time, as his curling effort from outside of the box just drifted over the bar.
The Mariners went in at the break a goal behind and will have been disappointed with their first half performance, particularly going forwards.
Just like they did in the first half, Rovers grabbed an early goal at the beginning of the second half to put them firmly in control of the game.
Following a couple of blocked efforts, the ball fell to Biggins on the half-volley and he unleashed a stunning strike that flew past Crocombe and into the net. The keeper had no chance.
Hurst decided to roll the dice on the hour-mark by making a triple change, with forwards McAtee, Keyendrah Simmonds and Lewis Richardson all coming on to try and change the game.
But it was quickly taken away from them just a minute later when Miller latched onto a ball in behind, plucked it well out of the air and slotted it through Crocombe’s legs for his second of the afternoon.
The striker had an opportunity to complete his hat-trick with 20 minutes to play, but he miscued his effort after being found free inside the six-yard box.
Andy Smith blocked a goal-bound strike from Lee Molyneux just a minute later, with the Town defence allowing Rovers to stroll into the box too easily.
With just over 10 minutes left on the clock, the Mariners were provided with a path back into the game when Clifton picked up a loose ball, played it into McAtee and the forward rolled an effort past the keeper into the net.
That goal brought the crowd back into the game and Clifton almost grabbed another for the hosts just a couple of minutes later, but he was unable to get on the end of Michee Efete’s teasing ball into the box.
Doncaster saw out the remainder of the game well to take all three points, condemning Town to their third straight defeat in League Two.