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Match Reports

Match report - Odoh & Gibson fire Town to back-to-back wins

23 December 2023

Match Reports

Match report - Odoh & Gibson fire Town to back-to-back wins

23 December 2023

Town travelled to Blundell Park full of confidence and hoping to make it two wins from two following their 3-1 home win against Play-off candidates Notts County last time out.

A win over Grimsby would cement Town's position in mid-table in a season full of steady performances and impressive away results.

This is the Mariners second season back in the EFL, which prior to this game had them sitting two places behind Weaver’s side.

A side which included the returning Belshaw between the sticks for his second outing back in yellow and black following the extension of his emergency loan. Another change to the starting eleven from last week’s win saw Warren Burrell captain the side and take Ant O’Connor’s place.

A welcome return on the bench for James Daly also as he was deemed fit enough to make the squad following a lengthy spell out through injury. 

Town came charging out of the blocks, forcing errors with quick and effective pressing, particularly from Ramsay who pushed far up field to cut out passing lanes, Grimsby were expected to come out all guns blazing but Town remained relentless in their tracking to silence the home crowd.

Thomson continued the pressing effort to cut out a wayward pass to Glennon but his shot was ultimately blocked and set up Odoh to use his quick feet to skip past the oncoming defender, but the regrouping Grimsby defence managed to subdue him.

Town’s confidence was evident early on as their heads stayed up and had no reservations in seeking forward balls and quick exchanges to unfold the Mariners deep in their half as well as measured build up play.

Liam Gibson proved it was not just the attacking play taking centre stage as the left-back turned centre-back slid to cut out a dangerous low cross 10 minutes in to deny an early blow for Town.

Town came so close to opening the scoring before the 30 minute mark, Odoh was denied twice by Cartwright as the winger weaved his way past two on-rushing defenders to shift the ball onto his right and see his shot saved low as well as the rebound to the keepers near post.

Another two chances came shortly after the half hour mark as a deep free kick from Foulds saw Thomson unmarked on the far side, but his volley whistled wide of the post.

An even better opening came soon as a fantastic ball from the left side from Odoh fell perfectly for the incoming Muldoon, but his sliding boot was mere centimetres too short and it flew past him.

Four minutes of normal time left saw the opener finally for Town from a corner as Liam Gibson weaved his way through a congested six-yard area as the ball was whipped in.

The makeshift centre back showed immense desire to put his head in between two battling defenders and give him his first ever Harrogate goal and give Town the goal they deserved as well as Simon Weaver a boost for his half-time team talk to take more charge of the game they had dominated already.

Town stood their ground proudly going into the break, with the one goal advantage flattering the home side, as Town racked up four shots on target to Grimsby’s zero as well as dominating them in terms of clear-cut chances, successful crosses and successful dribbles.

It only took a minute from the restart for Grimsby to start showing their worth as a header from 4 yards out from Clifton was lofted over the bar.

With an hour gone it was time for Town to display their defensive acumen as they solidified themselves enough to cut out any chances Grimsby attempted to commit,

Captain Warren Burrell was resolute in his defending as his loose touch had the potential to create danger, but his desire and recovery pace allowed him to rise to the challenge and make a decisive sliding tackle.

68 minutes in saw one of Towns better chances as Muldoon picked the pocket of the midfielder deep in the Mariner’s half and his low through ball found Thomson on the right side of the box but the panicked Niall Maher just managed to block the shot.

That was a sign of things to come as it wasn’t long until Abraham Odoh doubled the advantage, thanks to brilliant work by Matty Daly. Town's number 10 unleashed a superb effort from the edge of the area after shifting the ball off his right and onto his left, tricking two Grimsby defenders and opening the space for a curling effort into the low left corner of the net.

On it's way, Town's number nine was able to get an important touch to send Town two-to-the-good.

As the time crept past the 80-minute mark Town began to slow the tempo down and still use their impressive passing to carve out chances with Dooley after an exchange with Daly crossing a looping ball in but it missed Thomson and Cornelius.

It was almost a third for Town as Odoh bolted forward from the defensive position he had been so effective in during the second half, laying the ball off to Muldoon after the referee allowed advantage to be played.

Muldoon’s pass found Ramsay who struck the bar from just inside the box.

A determined defensive display was summed up by Foulds on the 89th minute as he leaped into a vital block to stop a certain goal heading into an open net, which was quickly followed by Thomson doing the exact same from the proceeding corner.

Odoh’s race was run ticking into added time and Sivi was put on to see the game out, But a spanner was thrown into the works one minute into added time as Green struck a low left footed shot past the stretch of Belshaw to half the advantage.

But it was to no avail as Town's 6th away win was confirmed after a final 5 minutes of additional time to give the supporters a welcome Christmas present.


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