Grimsby 1-1 Tranmere: Report

A tenacious Tranmere extended their unbeaten run to five games after a 1-1 draw with Grimsby.

But even a point flattered Rovers, who struggled to retain possession throughout and were second to many of the loose balls.

The Mariners were by far the better team on the night, finding plenty of joy on the flanks, but they lacked the ruthlessness that the visitors themselves have so often missed this season.

And so Rovers will gladly take this fourth draw in five games, that came courtesy of a second half equaliser from super-sub Nathan Blissett.

Gary Brabin made one change from the line up that drew 2-2 at Southport on Tuesday night.

Andy Mangan was dropped to the bench, perhaps to rest his legs as the busy fixture schedule continues.

Marlon Jackson replaced him to start his first game for the club, but before he had a chance to get involved, Rovers were behind.

The visitors had already had one warning sign when the dangerous Omar Bogle saw a left footed shot deflected wide by Liam Hogan.

But they fell asleep from the two resulting set-pieces, as firstly Steven Jennings sliced out for another corner before Grimsby took the lead.

It was a tame goal for Rovers to concede and again a lapse in concentration that will disappoint the coaching staff.

Nathan Arnold floated the ball into the box to Josh Gowling whose header cannoned back of the bar.

However, the Tranmere defence were motionless as it rebounded into the danger zone, and Jon-Paul Pittman snuck in to stab home.

Another poor start was exactly what the visitors did not want, but they immediately looked to hit back.

Jackson and Jay Harris had tame shots dealt with by ‘keeper before the former forced James McKeown into a stunning save.

Adam Dawson swung in a pin-point cross from the right, with Jackson rising high to meet it in the centre of the six yard box.

However, he could not beat McKeown from point-plank range, as the ‘keeper produced a superb reflex stop to divert the ball over the bar.

That was as good as it got for a while for Rovers though.

They were hit by a few big tackles, whilst the home crowd also started getting louder and louder.

In turn, the Tranmere players seemed to revert into their shells as easy passes were misplaced and tackles ducked out of.

On 33-minutes, they were forced into an early change as Liam Hogan, complaining of dizziness after an earlier head injury, was replaced by Marcus Holness.

And as the half drew to a close Grimsby should have doubled their lead, but Bogle could only slice off target as he was played in by Craig Disley.

Much like it was at Haig Avenue on Tuesday then, it was a case of how quickly Tranmere could respond after the break.

And respond they did, as after Harris had seen one shot bounce wide, Brabin made the inspired change of bringing Nathan Blissett on for Adam Mekki.

The substitution worked wonders, as with his first touch of the game, the on loan striker equalized.

His goal came courtesy of a lung busting run forward by Steven Jennings, who then slid a perfectly timed pass into the path of Blissett.

And the gangly number 9 won a foot race with the ‘keeper to the ball before prodding it past him from 12-yards out.

That should have given Rovers a boost, but they struggled to build on the goal.

Any long balls forward were coming straight back at them as Grimsby continued to dominate in the middle of the park.

Town were also enjoying themselves out wide as they managed to get several crosses into the box.

Most were dealt with by a nervous looking defence as Scott Davies often stayed pinned to his line.

Some though resulted in shooting opportunities, with Bogle firing high and wide after one move worked it’s way into the box, whilst Matt Hill positioned himself brilliantly on the line to smash clear a Pittman effort that was heading for the bottom corner.

Down at the other end, Tranmere showed they were not happy with just a point as Dawson danced his way into the penalty box before seeing his curling shot deflected and then saved.

But the pressure continued at the other end as Davies was forced into a fine save with ten minutes left, tipping over Andrew Tomlinson’s 25-yard pile-driver.

Both teams had to settle for a point then, as the Rovers defence stuck to it’s task to the end.

Marcus Holness made some important clearances and blocks late on as the visitors hung on for a draw that they would probably have taken at half-time.


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