Grimsby Town continued their unbeaten start at home in the league with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Gillingham with first-half goals from Niall Maher and Gavan Holohan.
The Mariners were two goals ahead within the first 30 minutes of the game and maintained control throughout the game with the visitors struggling to create genuine goalscoring opportunities against Town’s organised backline.
After a frustrating deadline day where Town were unable to capture a couple of late targets, Paul Hurst and his side could at least quickly switch their focus back to the football. It was one enforced change from the last league game, with Charles Vernam suffering a serious thigh injury which will keep him out until the new year and Arthur Gnahoua stepped in on the right side on this occasion.
Grimsby started the stronger and got in front in the 12th minute with a corner kick from Danny Amos to the near post found Maher who dove head first for the ball, glancing it into the opposite corner of the net, using the pace on the delivery and just guiding it past the goalkeeper.
Gillingham looked a bit off the pace to start the game which is ultimately why they found themselves behind early in the game, but they did have a great chance to equalise fewer than ten minutes after the first goal.
Maher slid to try and intercept a cross into the box but missed and the ball came across to Ashley Nadesan in the middle of the box but he misjudged his first-time effort which bounced just wide of the left post.
Just as the visitors were beginning to come into the game, Town increased their advantage, winning the ball high up the pitch and working it inside quickly to Abo Eisa, who was patient on the edge of the box in waiting for Holohan to run beyond.
The midfielder received the ball just outside the six-yard box and slotted his effort under the onrushing goalkeeper to double his side’s lead inside 30 minutes.
It was as solid as the first halves go for Town who were clinical with their opportunities and solid defensively against a team who have proved to be stubborn opponents for other teams in the league so far this term.
The visitors could not muster a single shot on target in the first half, which was evidence of Town’s strong defensive work who themselves scored with their only two on-target efforts.
Grimsby looked to start the second half as they did the first, with Arthur Gnahoua creating a great chance for Harry Clifton as he weaved his way inside from the right and found the latter in the inside channel.
Clifton knocked the ball past his marker and into the box, letting fly with a right-footed effort across goal which Jake Turner saved well down to his left side.
For a large period of the second half. Town were in control without having to overexert themselves as they had the two-goal cushion and Gillingham were struggling to form sustained attacks on Jake Eastwood’s goal.
Eisa was after a goal to continue his scoring run in the league, and he tested Turner at his near post with a strong left-footed effort from close in with some quick movement in the box creating enough space to get a shot away.
Eastwood did not have much to do overall, but he did make a good stop in the final five minutes of normal time from a Scott Malone header, after substitute Macauley Bonne found him at the back post with a floated cross.
That save was enough to preserve the clean sheet, Eastwood and Town’s third in the league after just six games which was the cherry on the cake of a great afternoon in the sun for Hurst and his team.
Starting line-up: Eastwood; Mullarkey, Rodgers, Maher, Amos; Conteh; Gnahoua (Pyke 89’), Clifton, Holohan (Andrews 89’), Eisa; Rose
Unused subs: Cartwright, Efete, Waterfall, Hunt, Khouri
Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/