Paul Hurst was impressed by the effort shown by his Grimsby Town team on both ends of the pitch to frustrate their opponents Gillingham and claim a 2-0 victory at Blundell Park.
It was as close to a complete performance as the Mariners have got to this season against a side who have recruited well in the last two windows and as a result have been fancied by some to be promotion challengers this term.
Niall Maher and Gavan Holohan’s first-half goals gave Town comfort early on in the game, but the stability the team showed in their shape with a coordinated pressing effort off the ball throughout meant that Gillingham struggled to create and find a way back into the contest.
Hurst recalled one specific moment of defensive work from an unlikely source that took his eye and illustrated to him the efforts of the entire team to see out a great victory.
He said: “I thought we played well, there was a lot to like about the performance. After the game, I mentioned to the players Arthur [Gnahoua]’s header at the back post defensively which was an important moment.
“Sometimes the creative players in the team have to do the horrible side and out of possession the team worked extremely hard and looked like they had more energy to go forward as well.
“It was a great performance against a team that are certainly expected to be up there with the front two that they’ve got and Macauley Bonne coming off the bench and Scott Malone with both having played in the Championship recently.”
The win preserved Town’s unbeaten league start at home and the run stretches back to the end of last season with it being eight games at Blundell Park since their last defeat to Hartlepool United in early April.
A third clean sheet in six league outings was another positive for Hurst, with his team now holding the joint-second-best defensive record in the fourth tier to start the season. Once again, the Grimsby boss highlighted the importance of the entire team’s efforts off the ball to build that basis for success in clean sheets.
He added: “It is something that perhaps isn’t exciting for fans to watch or talk about but [clean sheets] are the basis of most successful teams so, against that [Gillingham] strikeforce as an example, it was great to see.
“There are some great players in that team that what get into most teams in this division and could perhaps play higher, so I thought we defended very well against them. It was a team effort in the end, it’s not just about the back four.
“There were very few things for [Jake Eastwood] to do but when they did get their chances Jake managed to do his job.”
Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/