Grimsby Town were held to a replay in their FA Cup first-round tie with Slough Town, having to come back from behind away from home to draw 1-1 in a scrappy affair on Sunday afternoon.
Danny Rose scored the equaliser for the Mariners in the second half after Slough’s player-manager Scott Davies had scored a brilliant opening goal from a free-kick, with Grimsby not quite having enough on the day to settle the first-round tie there and then.
Interim head coaches Shaun Pearson and Ben Davies made just one change, an enforced one at that, to Paul Hurst’s last selection last week at Doncaster Rovers, with Jamie Andrews coming into the midfield for an injured Gavan Holohan.
It was the first-ever meeting between the two clubs, with 48 places between them in the football pyramid, but Slough would have come into the game confident of an upset given the Mariners’ current situation in terms of their form and the week of change it has brought about.
It was a quiet opening 15 minutes to the game, with Town controlling possession but not creating much outside of a couple of pot-shots from a distance, but Slough’s first forays forward produced some nervous moments for Grimsby.
First, Danny Rose was well-placed in his own box to block a well-struck volley from Slough centre-back Dan Bayliss, which was destined for the net at great speed before the intervention.
Soon after, the hosts showed their aerial presence, testing Cartwright for the first time in the game as he tipped George Alexander’s header over the bar from a corner. Slough tested Town defensively, playing the ball forward as soon as they could with direct play, which exposed the fragility the team have shown in recent weeks.
The National League South side looked the more likely to take the lead as the half progressed, with Town looking rattled as soon as any pressure was placed on them – the picture of a side lacking confidence and self-belief.
Player-manager Davies stepped up for a free-kick just off to the left and about 25 yards out from goal, and he could not have placed his effort much better as he curled the ball over a stagnant wall and past Cartwright into the net to give his team the lead.
The home side deserved their lead and could have doubled it when Alexander went close with his head once again, this time seeing his effort bounce off the upright and away from the goal.
The Mariners could not muster a single attempt on target in the first half, coming closest to scoring when Jamie Andrews’ hopeful cross floated over the Slough goalkeeper and was headed away close to the goal line by Davies, the man of the moment for his team at both ends.
Town made two changes at half-time in the hope that it would inject some life into the performance, and they had some early sights at goal after the break with Harry Clifton and Donovan Wilson firing just wide on separate occasions.
Aside from that, it was not happening for Town from open play, but they did almost equalise from a dead ball as Andrews curled an effort just off target, with his strike hitting where the post and crossbar meet, and out.
As the game wore on, it was the Mariners’ superior fitness that gave them the advantage in the general play and they did eventually manage to level things up with quite a simple goal.
Andrews worked the ball wide to Michee Efete, who with two touches, got the ball out of his feet and then managed to find Rose in the box, with the Town striker sliding in to divert the ball into the net from close range.
Town could not find a winning goal in the 20 minutes that followed the equaliser, with the game ending in a draw and the tie to be settled on Tuesday, November 14 at Blundell Park.
Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/