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Emotional up and down
Emotional up and down

Ten Goals Shared

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 13/01/2024

GRIMSBY and Notts County drew 5-5 in a match that both sides looked to have won at various points. The Mariners were winning 2-0 when Clifton hit the bar from a sitter. They went on to go 3-2, 4-3 and then 5-4 down before new signing Harry Wood came off the bench to score with his first touch in the 95th minute.

It was a match that Grimsby should have had sewn up after a first half hour they totally dominated. But free-scoring Notts County would always fancy their chances against Grimsby's notoriously porous defence and the Magpies fought their way back to 2-2 at halftime. Grimsby came out positively after the break and went back in front twice, only to be clawed back each time. Defensive frailties were evident throughout and County came back and looked to have won it with an injury-time McGoldrick goal before Wood struck in the final few minutes of injury time.

It was a rollercoaster end to an emotional week that saw the match preceded by a moving tribute to Cameron and Dave Walsh who had tragically died last weekend.

None of the three new signings started the game, but two were on the bench. The only changes from the defeat to Walsall were Vernam and Rodgers replacing Green and Waterfall respectively.

Town, who seem to often start games well, began very positively and won an early penalty when a surging Eisa run saw him hurdle one challenge before being brought down by a second for a clear-cut penalty which Rose duly converted. The Mariners' pressing game was forcing County into mistakes in their own half and Eisa and Vernon both had chances to extend the lead. The second goal came from a corner which County failed to clear and Mullarkey guided the ball to to Eisa on the edge of the box who blasted it into the net.

Grimsby were flying although County did look dangerous when they won possession near the Grimsby goal but their two early chances both missed the target. On another Grimsby attack, Dangerman Eisa supplied Clifton, unmarked in front of goal who struck the ball against the bar when he looked certain to score and put the Mariners 3-0 up.

That point in the game was probably Town's high tide mark, and County began to assert themselves in the game more. County tended to threaten with crosses from the left that Grimsby could not deal with. The first County goal came from this route when a misplaced ball in midfield fell to Jones whose cross from the left was bundled in from close range by McGoldrick. Just before half-time, a similar cross from the left by Jones found Langstaff in the centre of the goal who levelled the match. 2-2 at halftime was rough justice on Grimsby who had been the better side and had the most chances.

Harry Clifton made up for his missed chance before the break with a well-taken goal early in the second half from an Eisa pass that nudged Grimsby ahead, although few thought it would be the winning goal.

It didn't take long for the sixth goal to arrive. Despite the damage he had already done Jones was given all the time in the world to pick out Nemane from a cross. Two minutes later Grimsby were back in front when Mullarkey’s cross found Eisa to make it 4-3.

Grimsby then had a scare when another Jones cross which Cartwright tipped onto the bar and the ball was cleared off the line. But Notts levelled the game via Jones again, whose ball from the left looped past the Grimsby defence into the path of Nemane.

Seven minutes of injury time seemed a lot for there not to be a goal with the score poised at 4-4. In fact, there were two. Notts thought they had won it when McGoldrick fired past Cartwright, but Town had the last laugh. Wood and Holohan came on for Clifton and Conteh. Soon after a Glennon free kick broke to Wood the edge of the box who curled the ball into the net with his first touch as a Grimsby player. Soon after the match finished 5-5, and an emotional day was over.

Both managers will be unhappy with their defending but a point was probably the least Town deserved, and after the thrashing by Walsall it was at least an improvement. Grimsby managed to score five goals and could have had more, but their constant quest for more goals left their fragile defence exposed. In the final analysis, they threw away a 2-goal lead and almost lost but managed to rescue a point thanks to a last-gasp goal. 10 out of 10 for entertainment, but a long way to go in terms of getting the right balance between attack and defence.

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