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We wore red
We wore red

Battle of the Armies

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 12/08/2023

GRIMSBY ended the wrong side of a five-goal thriller at Meadow Lane. Town led 1-0 and were 2-1 up at the break. However, a strong second-half performance by the home side saw the Magpies run out 3-2 winners.

Paul Hurst returned to a similar side to that which drew 0-0 with AFC Wimbledon in the opening game. The one difference was Waterfall started in place of the injured Maher.

With the two sets of fans both claiming to be the definitive black and white armies, the Mariners playing in red, won a corner within seconds of the game starting. It became apparent early on that County were targeting Glennon at left back and County were a threat from wide positions all game.

Town though were playing a pressing game and County were finding it difficult to settle at the back. A defensive mistake by County led to the opening goal when Rose latched onto a short backpass and cooly slotted home to score Grimsby's first strike of the season.

Notts continued to look dangerous on their right and side and their quick corners gave Grimsby little chance to organise themselves and also kept the game moving quickly.

Despite leading, Paul Hurst made an unusual change when he took Glennon off, not long after he had been booked for a foul on Nemane. Hurst replaced Glennon with the right-sided Efete but County still were a danger from the wings.

Notts equalised when Eastwood made a good save from a well-struck Langstaff shot. The ball came back to the Magpies and they worked it back to Bostik who couldn't miss with Eastwood still out of position from the save.

Eastwood kept Town in the game with another save from Jones. Town were looking to hang on to halftime, with 6 minutes of injury time but exceeded expectations with a late goal of their own. A brilliant pass by Mullarkey picked out the run of Clifton who sweetly struck the ball into the net to Grimsby a shock 2-1 lead at the break, although there was still time for a frantic spell to negotiate in Town's penalty area.

Grimsby started the second half like the first, winning an early corner, but Jones soon gave County the lead with a freak goal with a deflected shot that bounced off the underside of the bar.

The game was stretched and both sides had chances, with Hunt and Clinton both going close. But Grimsby could not keep up their pressing and Country started to dominate the midfield battle. The winner inevitably came from a wide position when Jones found Crowley who headed an unstoppable ball into the net.

Pike came on and Town pushed 3 up front but the late goal characteristic of Town in this stadium never came and County went on to win 3-2.

There were positives. Town scored, something they hadn't managed to do yet. Conteh was outstanding in Town's midfield. Waterfall and Rodgers played well together and the Mariners were a more significant threat at corners. The deflected goal to make it 2-2 was unfortunate. Grimsby ran out of steam in the second half and could not keep up the intensity they had sustained in the first half. But Notts County away is one of the toughest fixtures in the calendar against one of the strongest squads in the division, and Grimsby did at least give them something to think about and on another day we might have claimed a point.

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