Grimsby Town own goal sees Mariners lose fourth game in six

Grimsby Town fell to their fourth defeat in six games as Tranmere Rovers battled to a 2-1 victory at Blundell Park.

A Toby Mullarkey own goal gave the visitors the three points after Connor Jennings and Doug Tharme on debut had netted in the first period. All three of Town’s matches to start 2024 have been at home, from which they have taken just one point to add to the frustrations for David Artell early in his tenure.

After netting the stoppage time equaliser against Notts County, Harry Wood was handed his first Mariners start, as well as Tharme, who replaced Niall Maher at centre-back alongside his old Accrington teammate Harvey Rodgers.


It was not a chance-filled opening 15 minutes to the game, with both sides taking some time to get settled on the ball. Still, the visitors had the first clear opening of the game when Kieran Green was dispossessed in his half, allowing Tranmere to break quickly down the left with Anthony Glennon out of position – Connor Jennings grazing the crossbar with his close-range effort.

There were appeals for handball from the Town players in the 20th minute after a mini scramble in the centre of the Tranmere box for the ball, but it was hard to see what unfolded, and the referee waved away any penalty claims.

Grimsby were unable to create a meaningful chance in the first 35 minutes – aside from a hopeful volley from range by Wood – and it was with ten minutes left in the half that the visitors went ahead.

Glennon lost the physical battle to win possession of the looping ball, muscled off it by Apter, who had all the space and time to break into the box and slot a low shot past Harvey Cartwright.

Having gone most of the half without creating a single chance, Town were able to get level just minutes after going behind with a cross from Glennon from the left falling at the feet of debutant Tharme to poke the ball home.

It was a first half of few chances, with neither side truly grabbing control of the game which was reflected in the scoreline at the break.

Artell would have hoped for a livelier start to the second half than he saw in the first, but instead, he saw his side go behind once more – Mullarkey turning into his own net trying to intercept a low cross along the six-yard box.

The same issues with chance creation persisted for Town, who looked free-flowing in attack two weeks ago against Notts, but could not pull together anything of note from open play for large periods of this game.

Town managed to work the ball down the right channel well through Mullarkey, who looked to redeem himself for the own goal by setting up the equaliser, flashing a ball across the goal from the byline, but there were no takers in Town colours.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, Town recognised the urgency of the situation and started to show greater intensity and penetration in their forward play. Danny Rose, who had not seen much action all game up top, had a great effort saved well by Luke McGee, pushing over his own bar after the Grimsby striker volleyed goalwards.

Rose went close again in the 88th minute, heading into the side netting at the back post, and getting on the end of Charles Vernam’s looping cross from the left, but Town could not muster the quality to get back into the contest.

Starting line-up: Cartwright; Mullarkey, Rodgers, Tharme (Maher 61’), Glennon; Green (Holohan 87’), Clifton, Wood (Vernam 66’); Eisa (Obikwu 87’), Rose

Unused subs: Eastwood, Wilson, Braithwaite

Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/

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