The Trust welcomes guest blogger Joseph Carson, who was among those present as pre-season began on Wednesday evening.
Cleethorpes Town 0-4 Grimsby Town:
It’s only the eighth of July, less than 2 months since Wembley, but Grimsby Town’s season has started with a friendly victory over Cleethorpes Town at the Bradley Community Stadium. Playing in front of just under a thousand fans, new boys Danny East, Richard Tait, Padraig Amond, Marcus Marshall and Omar Bogle all played, with the first three starting. They were joined by James McKeown, Josh Gowling, Scott Brown, Jon-Paul Pittman, Josh Sunter and captain Craig Disley. Youth players Max Wright and Harry Clifton completed the starting XI, playing on the wings.
The Owls started, pushing forward and pressuring the Mariners. Most if not all of the attacks were stopped by the solid back four. But it wasn’t long before the scoring was opened. Summer signing Amond blasted home from twenty-five yards after only thirteen minutes. The Irishman accurately shooting into the top right to the dismay of Cleethorpes (and former Grimsby Youth) keeper Liam Higton. Within moments of the restart, Jon-Paul Pittman slotted home from five yards after his first effort rebounded off Higton. Town were comfortably 2-0 up after sixteen minutes.
Town allowed the home team to pressurise once more, cutting out the majority of their attacking efforts; James McKeown was rarely needed as the experienced Josh Gowling, who made his loan move permanent after 3 games and a goal last season, took control. Hull-born Danny East showed glimpses of what he could do, taking the ball forward and starting attacks. One such attack resulted in an Amond attempt being deflected behind for a corner, only for Gowling’s dipping header to be tipped over.
Neat play between Pittman and Clifton on the right side of the Cleethorpes box lead to a thunderous shot from the former being turned past the post. Grimsby turned the tables, placing pressure on the Owls, however several corners and attacking advances came to nothing.
After breaking free, Amond comfortably rounded a downed keeper after his first effort came back to his feet. As the half was coming to an end, Cleethorpes still pushed forward, with former Town players Caine Winfarrah and Peter Winn aiming to pull a goal back. Ex-Cambridge United player Richard Tait expertly cut a probing through-ball and putting it out for a throw. More attacks came Grimsby’s way, including numerous corners, but Marcus Newell’s men couldn’t find a consolation and the Mariners rolled into the second half with a three goal lead.
Like previous years, an almost-fresh Grimsby team, bar goalkeeper James McKeown, graced the pitch. Aristote Nsiala and Shaun Pearson took the centre-back positions they held last season accompanied by youth players Ben Sibbick and Joe Crowther in the full-back slots. The midfield was made up of Marshall, last season’s young player of the year Craig Clay, Josh Venney, and Jack Mackreth, whilst Nathan Arnold and the much-anticipated Omar Bogle made up the strike-force. Cleethorpes replaced the majority of their team, keeping three or four from the first half, and switching to their red and black away strips.
Grimsby kicked off the half, but allowed the game to continue with some Cleethorpes pressure, very similar to what appeared in the first 45 minutes. Neat play from former loanees Arnold and Marshall down the flank ended with the Mariners being awarded a corner, only for the former to head wide. Marshall, who spent part of last season away at rivals Lincoln culminating in a goal against Town during the Blundell Park derby, started pushing the play forward, whilst the ball was being passed across the back four and two centre midfielders.
And Omar Bogle, Conference North’s top goalscorer last season, showed why he was picked up by Paul Hurst, muscling through the opposition defence and slotting home accurately past the ‘keeper. A calm finish. As the rain started picking up, so did Cleethorpes’ pressure, collecting a free-kick only for it to hit the wall. At the other end, a hard Craig Clay drive was saved by Higton. Both teams’ efforts though led to nothing as Paul Hurst’s team held on for them victory and the clean sheet.
The Mariners next face a strong Derby of the Championship, managed by former Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement, on Saturday. The Rams could start former England internationals Scott Carson and Darren Bent as well as new £4.75m signing Tom Ince. Will you be there?
Man of the Match- Padraig Amond
Took his goals well and played good attacking football with his new teammates in the first half. The former Morecambe and Shamrock Rovers man looks a great addition to Paul Hurst’s team with bags of pace and goals in him.
Most Valuable Player- Josh Gowling
Took charge of the defence for the first half and was very vocal with his fellow players, encouraging them as well as instructing them to defend well. Let nothing through his defence and only allowed ‘keeper McKeown to handle the ball once in the first half.