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Port Fail

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 10/01/2021

GRIMSBY slumped to a humiliating defeat to relegation rivals Port Vale. Two defensive mistakes gifted Port Vale a 2-0 lead at half time. Any hope of coming back in the second half was dealt a terminal blow when Luke Waterfall turned the ball into his own net.

The Mariners looked as toothless at the other end of the park, although they did threaten more at set-pieces.

Paul Hurst now has a massive challenge to bring players in, as his contribution with the existing group has failed to get the necessary improvement from what in truth is a poor squad. Town are hoping to make some signings next week.

James McKeown and Harry Clifton returned to the side as Paul Hurst hoped to strengthen his side from the team that lost to Cambridge. New signing, defender Sam Habergham, started on the bench.

Town started very well and for five minutes looked like they were going to be competitive. Pollock hit the post from a free kick, although it was offside so wouldn't have counted.

Port Vale, however, scored on their second attack. A Worrall cross picked out Pope whose header down was fumbled by McKeown and Brisley scored from a tap-in.

Town were soon 2-0 down when the defence had several attempts to clear but it was once again played out to Worrall who picked out Rodney. McKeown got both hands to Rodney's header but it went right through him to give Vale a 2-0 lead with just 15 minutes on the clock.

Town looked threatening at set pieces and Morais came close with a volley but his effort went straight to the 'keeper.

Just before the break Pollock gave the ball away in his own box and effectively gave Rodney a free strike but fortunately, he struck it wide. McKeown then made up for his two errors with a fingertip save to deny Montano.

Town went into the break 2-0 down although it could have been worse. Paul Hurst brought on Williams and Habergham for Clifton and Preston at half time.

The game followed the pattern of many this season with the opposition happy to defend a lead after the break and The Mariners had plenty of possession without creating much. Vale though went further ahead on the hour mark when another Worrall cross caused the damaged, this time steered into his own net by Waterfall for an own goal.

Gibson came on for Green but Town were chasing a lost cause. Bennett came close with a deflected shot and Gibson volleyed wide in a late chance but the game fizzled out with Vale managing to get a clean sheet in addition to the three points that had long been theirs.

Paul Hurst now has a week to prepare for the ultimate challenge on Saturday when 91st take on 92nd in the basement battle: Grimsby v Southend which also marks the halfway point of the season. Grimsby will hopefully have some new faces in their starting line-up for that match.

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