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Town Exit Cup on Pens
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY lost their opening game of the season on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Morecambe at Blundell Park in front of zero fans. With Town restricted to just a single pre-season game with Cleethorpes, the Mariners were lacking fitness and flagged as the second half progressed.
Town captain James McKeown took the fifth penalty with the scores tied at 3-3. The keeper's spot kick was a relatively easy save and O'Sullivan put the visitors into Round 2 with Morecambe's 5th strike.
New signings Danny Rose, George Williams and Sean Scannell are started the game, with several more of the new contingent on the bench.
Town fell behind thanks to a defensive mix-up between McKeown and Waterfall and Philips judged his lob well to see Morecambe draw first blood. It could have been worse for Town but McKeown made amends making a solid save to deny Cole Stockton.
Town began to find their feet and had two great chances to level. First Waterfall thundered a powerful header against the corner of the frame, and then a defensive mistake saw Green suddenly presented with the ball at his feet in the six-yard box, but the striker failed to strike the ball cleanly.
Green though linked up with Preston to guide the latter's cross into the top of the net. It was no more than Town had deserved as they had been the better side after the early part of the game.
After the break, the Mariners struggled to find their rhythm and the match increasingly resembled a pre-season game as Town the new players on the bench made their debuts. Khouri replaced Rose after 60 mins, and Edwards cane on 10 mins later, and a familiar face former Town loanee Ben Pringle came on for the Shrimpers.
Morecambe looked the more dangerous and Pringle almost set up a winner in the closing stages. Town were glad to hear the final whistle as it gave them an immediate penalty shoot out in a near training ground setting.
Morecambe got off to the worst start when Kenyon missed the first kick after Town's Pollock had put Grimsby in front. Tiller then had his shot saved and all the penalties after that were converted to bring the score to 3-3. McKeown then surprisingly turned around to take the fifth kick and put the pressure on the final Morecambe player. Unfortunately, his strike was comfortably saved and O'Sullivan delivered the final blow to muted celebrations in front of the empty stands.
The Mariners have an EFL Trophy match on Tuesday night against Harrogate which will effectively be a pre-season game in all but name before the league season starts with a visit to Walsall on Saturday.
Town were well short of fitness and realistically it is going to take a few weeks to see
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