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Vale Spark

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 27/12/2018

GRIMSBY held out heroically at Vale Park and managed to keep their goal intact for 90 minutes. The clean sheet was compounded by Wes Thomas scoring a wonder goal on one of Town's rare attacks. Town withstood some immense pressure despite losing Harry Davis to concussion in the second half.

Reece Hall-Johnson was the only change, coming in for the injured Luke Hendrie at right back. The inexperienced bench reiterated Town's injury crisis with three players who have little or no experience in the first team.

The first half was a stalemate with both sides struggling to make inroads. In the latter stages of the first half Vale started to threaten and McKeown was forced into a good save, Hall-Johnson cleared the ball off the line. It was a taste of how the second half was to develop.

Vale had a great chance to go in front when a defensive mistake by Town allowed substitute Whitfield to go clean through on goal but McKeown was on hand to deny him. Whitfield then struck the post shortly afterwards.

Vale were having one of the strongest spells of the game when Town scored completely against the run of play from a counterattack. Thomas received the ball outside the box, cut inside, and then unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top corner.

Port Vale continued to attack with renewed ferocity and Town had to make several blocks on the line. Pringle was replaced by Woolford, and Thomas by A Rose, but the real blow came when Harry Davis was forced to leave the pitch after being knocked unconscious. Mitch Rose came on as an emergency right back with Hall-Johnson switching into the centre. The match ended with the Port Vale keeper going up for a corner and the ball once again being cleared off the line.

Town rode their luck but it was a heroic performance when injuries once again did not help their cause. The side is now decimated of defenders and Michael Jolley will either have to play players out of position or use rookie defender Mattie Pollock in the long trip to Exeter.

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