Grimsby strike late to cancel out Hoskins' opener as Cobblers are held on the road

Grimsby Town 1 Northampton Town 1

By James Heneghan
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 5:04 pm
Louis Appere holds up the ball during Saturday's League Two fixture with Grimsby. Picture: Pete Norton.
Louis Appere holds up the ball during Saturday's League Two fixture with Grimsby. Picture: Pete Norton.

A late goal prevented Cobblers from making it two wins from two to start the new League Two season as they were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by Grimsby Town at Blundell Park on Saturday.

Sam Hoskins’ third goal of the season had Town on course for a hard-fought away win but the Mariners created the better chances throughout and deserved their 88th-minute equaliser when it came, Jordan Maguire-Drew scoring just two minutes after coming on.

There was an excellent atmosphere in Lincolnshire as Grimsby returned home for the first time since winning promotion back to the EFL but the first-half was a poor spectacle and gave both them and the away supporters little to cheer about.

The contest only livened up after Hoskins’ fizzed finish 16 minutes from full-time as Grimsby responded by peppering Northampton's goal, which eventually buckled, and it could have been worse with the hosts almost snatching a winner. In the end, it was probably a good point for the Cobblers given how poor they were for much of the game.

Jon Brady named an unchanged line-up at Blundell Park but he did have more options to call upon from the bench with both Kieron Bowie and Ben Fox, who was returning to his old club, back from injury and in the squad.

A buoyant atmosphere greeted the two teams for kick-off and Grimsby fed off that by making a strong start, although a couple of harmless long-range efforts by Gavan Holohan was all they had to show for their efforts in a first-half that was seriously lacking in excitement and goalmouth action.

Town barely got going as an attacking force and only fed off scraps, one of which came on the counter-attack 12 minutes before the break but Danny Hylton was pushed wide before Tyler Magloire saw his shot deflect off a defender and into the arms of goalkeeper Max Crocombe.

Things did, thankfully, begin to liven up in the final five minutes of the first-half with a chance at either end. A quick free-kick by Sam Hoskins created an opportunity for Mitch Pinnock but his shot from an acute angle was saved by Crocombe before Grimsby broke and Brendan Kiernan toe-poked over.

Brady seemingly had not been impressed by his side’s performance in the first 45 minutes and he made changes both tactically and in personnel with Bowie replacing Appere at the break, leading to a change of shape to 4-2-3-1.

Pinnock moved through the middle and Bowie played on the wing but the first chance of the second-half fell to Grimsby as Kiernan’s volley drew a flying save from Lee Burge.

The pattern of the game remained largely the same and both sides were unable to carve out any clear-cut openings. A rare shooting opportunity did fall Hoskins’ way on the hour-mark but a good block denied him.

The breakthrough came with 16 minutes to play and it was a fine goal when it finally arrived. Bowie, who had been lively since his introduction, released Hoskins with a fine pass and the forward made no mistake, firing low and hard across the goalkeeper for his third goal in two games.

Grimsby responded brilliantly and an important block by Guthrie denied them an equaliser before Burge reacted smartly to thwart Stephen Wearne. It was all a bit last-ditch for Town and they were lucky when Harry Clifton hit the post.

Their luck ran out with two minutes to go though when Maguire-Drew scored with his veryfirst touch after Burge had kept out the initial effort.

Bowie’s shot was thwarted by Crocombe at his near post as Cobblers threatened an immediate reply but it was Grimsby who looked much the likelier to win it and they almost did so in the seventh minute of stoppage-time as Marc Leonard dramatically headed off the line.

Grimsby: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall (c), Smith, Glennon, Kiernan, Clifton (Maguire-Drew 15), Green (Wearne 75), Holohan, Morris, Taylor.

Subs not used: Battersby, Amos, Pearson, Cropper, Wearne, Khouri.

Cobblers: Burge, Magloire, Sherring, Guthrie, Koiki, McWilliams, Sowerby, Hoskins, Pinnock (Leonard 84), Appere (Bowie 45), Hylton (Haynes 67)

Subs not used: Maxted, Lintott, Dyche, Fox

Referee: Thomas Parsons

Attendance: 7,154

Cobblers fans: 495