Match report: Town play out a draw at home to Walsall

Grimsby Walsall match report

Match report: Town play out a draw at home to Walsall

Grimsby Town were held to a draw in a closely fought game at home to Walsall in League Two this afternoon.

A superb effort from Bryn Morris was cancelled out just after the break by a Donervon Daniels’ leveller just inside the second half to ensure the points were shared at Blundell Park.

Paul Hurst made three changes from the side that put in a good performance in the midweek goalless draw with Mansfield Town, with Michee Efete, Kieran Green and Danny Amos all coming into the starting lineup.

Town had the first chance of the game with two minutes gone when Amos’ free-kick caused chaos inside the box, before the ball fell to George Lloyd and his shot on the turn was blocked behind for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Niall Maher headed narrowly wide.

They continued their bright start to the game – just like against Mansfield – and had a couple of opportunities when Ryan Taylor couldn’t quite get on the end of a teasing ball across the box and John McAtee fired over following a neat move.

But it was Walsall that arguably had the best chance of the opening exchanges, as Conor Wilkinson found space on the left of the box and dragged his effort wide of the far post.

The Mariners took the lead with their next attack through Morris on 18 minutes. A corner into the box was cleared to the edge of the area, with the midfielder controlling the ball and sending a lovely curling shot into the top corner and beyond the diving Owen Evans.

McAtee made a chance out of nothing on 27 minutes, as the ball broke to him about 30 yards out from a throw-in and his powerful strike went straight down the keeper’s throat, but he did well to keep hold of it.

Although the visitors crafted a couple of decent openings throughout the opening half an hour – mostly through balls into the box – they struggled to get any efforts in on goal to really test Max Crocombe.

There were very few chances for either team towards the end of the half, with the game becoming a little bit scrappy and largely fought in the middle of the park.

There was a comical moment on the verge of half-time when Max Crocombe and Green both went down with cramp to ensure Efete could get some treatment. A clever move, which you don’t see very often.

After a decent first-half performance, Town couldn’t have started the second half any worse. Maher was perhaps fortunate to come away with just a yellow card after flying into a tackle on the halfway line, before Walsall found an equaliser just a minute later.

A corner into the box caused panic inside the Mariners’ box and, after bouncing around in the area, the ball fell to the captain Daniels, who instinctively swung a foot at the ball and it went in off the crossbar just five minutes into the half.

The hosts responded well to that setback and almost retook the lead on 56 minutes when Taylor laid the ball off to McAtee and his sweetly struck half-volley just drifted over the bar.

There was then a huge coming together inside the Saddlers’ box. Andy Smith was adjudged to have fouled Evans, who took offence to the challenge and shoved the Town defender in the back, resulting in a lot of pushing and shoving. The keeper ended up with a yellow card.

That seemed to spark both teams – and the whole stadium – into life. Walsall went close to taking the lead just past the hour-mark, with Daniels sneaking at the back post and putting the ball just the wrong side of the post this time.

At the opposite end, McAtee did well to divert a ball into the box towards goal, but his header went narrowly over the bar.

After a period of end-to-end action, the game quickly became scrappy again, with neither side showing the quality to break through the lines and create chances.

The Mariners had a decent opportunity to put themselves back in front with seven minutes left to play when Efete picked up the flight of Amos’ cross well, but his free header back towards the far corner sailed over the bar for a goal kick.

The Saddlers had a chance to seal all three points at the end, but Emmanuel Monthe lacked composure as he sent his shot just wide of the post.

Town had to settle for a point in the end after the game turned scrappy in the second half.

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