New boy the last action hero as Grimsby Town and Notts County share 10 goals in see-saw thriller

A debut strike for Harry Wood deep into stoppage time rescued a point for Grimsby Town in an end-to-end, 10-goal thriller against Notts County at Blundell Park.

Three players netted braces and Town led three times, only to find themselves 5-4 down in the closing moments. Then, substitute Wood, the young loanee from Hull City, fired in a brilliant equaliser to ensure the points were shared.

Town announced the arrival of three new signings the night before kick-off and two made the bench, with Harry Wood and Justin Obikwu in line for their Mariners debut. Meanwhile, Charles Vernam – who made his long-awaited return on New Year’s Day – was granted his first league start since August 26 after recovering from a hamstring tear.

READ MORE: Grimsby Town players and fans pay poignant tribute to Cameron and David Walsh at Blundell Park

The Mariners had a chance to go ahead early when Abo Eisa weaved his way into the area after receiving a long diagonal ball from Kamil Conteh. When he was brought down in the 18-yard box, the referee pointed to the spot and Danny Rose converted calmly to give Town an early advantage inside seven minutes.

It was an energetic start from the Mariners and they could have extended their lead from the restart, after winning the ball back in the attacking third. The high press produced a golden chance for Vernam to score, but his effort was drab and saved easily by Aidan Stone. A good start for Town quickly became a great one, with Notts unable to clear the ball from a corner as it rolled out to Eisa near the edge of the box and the winger placed his first-time shot in the right corner of the net for his seventh goal of the campaign.

Grimsby Town were 4-3 up after Abo Eisa's second goal of the match against Notts County at Blundell Park.
Grimsby Town were 4-3 up after Abo Eisa’s second goal of the match against Notts County at Blundell Park.

Grimsby should have been three to the good before half an hour, as Conteh won the ball in the Notts’ half and played it forward to Eisa, who went first time across goal to a wide-open Rose. With only the goalkeeper to beat, the Town skipper should have scored, but instead found the crossbar.

County struggled to impose themselves as they succumbed to the forward pressure of the Mariners in the opening 35 minutes, but with one of their first genuine openings of the game, they halved the deficit. Jodi Jones got in down the left channel and played a good low ball across goal to David McGoldrick, who slid in at the back post to knock the ball home and give the visitors a lifeline against the run of play.

The first half against Notts felt eerily similar to the first half against Walsall, as Jones got in behind Toby Mullarkey and crossed to produce a second goal for the away side. This time, Macaulay Langstaff was there to prod the ball in from close range.

Rollercoaster ride

The confidence was starting to flow among the Notts players as they came out and controlled possession in the first few minutes of the second half. However, despite taking a few blows at the end of the first period, Grimsby came back with a counter punch of their own, this one swung by Harry Clifton, who broke forward from midfield and arrowed a shot into the bottom right corner with great precision and power.

Notts soon came back with a big chance for McGoldrick, who once again received a cross at the back post, this time with his head, but was denied brilliantly by a sprawling Harvey Cartwright. The keeper’s heroics did not protect the lead for long though, as another Jones cross found Aaron Nemane, who levelled the scores once again.

Two minutes later, Grimsby were back in front for a third time, with Eisa grabbing his second of the afternoon in a similar manner to many of the goals in this see-saw game, converting a low cross along the box.

There was a moment in the second half which encapsulated the game perfectly, with Jones striking the bar at one end – as his swerving effort slipped through the palms of Cartwright – before Town quickly broke down the other end and almost crafted a chance of their own.

The Mariners managed to have a moment of reprieve after their fourth goal and, for a period of time it looked like they could see out the victory, but Jones popped up once again as the provider for a fourth time. Town were not able to stop his cross, which made its way to Nemane again, and with Cartwright in two minds about whether to come and collect or stay on his line, it left an empty net for the wing-back to shoot at.

McGoldrick thought he had won his side the game at last as he netted his second and Notts’ fifth in stoppage time, but the game that kept giving had another twist, thanks to Wood’s brilliant debut goal.

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

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