Victory for David Artell in first home game as Mariners beat Crewe 2-1

David Artell tasted victory in his first home game as Grimsby Town head coach, as the Mariners beat his former employers Crewe Alexandra 2-1 at Blundell Park.

First-half goals from Abo Eisa and Danny Rose were enough to see Town past Crewe, who made things nervy towards the end, pulling a goal back through substitute Joe White with just over ten minutes of normal time to go.

The game survived three separate pitch inspections with Blundell Park affected by the heavy rain experienced coming into the weekend. Still, the Grimsby ground staff did well to make conditions playable, removing the standing water.

There was not much goalmouth action in the first ten minutes, with the first shot on target coming from the visitors, and Elliott Nevitt testing Harvey Cartwright with a looping header from the centre of the penalty area.

As the half progressed, Town grew more comfortable in possession and were working the ball well into dangerous positions, winning a handful of corners in the process. It was from a corner that the first goal came as well – Grimsby had been taking them short and then crossing them in, but on this occasion, they moved it further infield to Eisa who swung a curling effort over Harvey Davies in the Crewe goal and in from outside the area.

Blundell Park ground staff battle to clear water from the pitch before GTFC meet Crewe

The state of the playing surface was not conducive to pretty football, and producing genuine goalscoring opportunities was difficult for both teams, with legs quickly getting heavy from not playing on super solid ground.

Town were almost undone by the pitch as a cross came in from the left, with the ball sticking to the turf as it landed in the centre of the box, eventually falling to Lewis Billington, who fired just wide of the right post from around 12 yards.

The Mariners stuck to their task of getting a second goal, knowing too often this season that they had let marginal leads slip, with it coming at a perfect time in the game, just before half-time, to make Artell’s team talk just a bit easier.

Anthony Glennon whipped in the perfect cross from the left side to find Rose clear at the back post, with the Town striker heading the ball into the pitch and up into the top right corner to give his side breathing room.

With their two-goal cushion, Town were on top to start the second half, playing with the wind on their backs and they could have had a third goal fewer than ten minutes after the break. The Crewe goalkeeper failed to claim a cross from the left, with the ball looping onto the head of Rose who could not quite keep the ball below the crossbar.

Heavy rain meant there were three pitch inspections before the Grimsby Town game against Crewe got the go ahead on Saturday. Ground staff help clear tens of thousands of litres of standing water

The best chances for Grimsby in the second half were going to come in transition, with the visitors needing to commit more men forward in search of a way back into the game. Toby Mullarkey almost reaped the rewards of one of those situations, breaking down the right and finding space and time just inside the box to shoot just over with a powerful effort.

Rose was at the centre of a lot of the chances Town created in the game, either being on the receiving end or creating for others, and he did the latter for Harry Clifton, laying it off for the midfielder to shoot across goal and marginally wide from the right side of the box.

It was almost too comfortable for Grimsby at one stage, but that feeling soon changed as the visitors pulled a goal back, with White getting the wrong side of his marker in the box and smashing the ball first time past Cartwright from close range.

There were 12 minutes of normal time to play when Crewe scored, but Grimsby managed to hold out and pick up a crucial three points which lifted them to 19th place in League Two, eight points away from the relegation zone.

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

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