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Town Win Opener
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY won their opening National League game to get their belated start to the new season off to the perfect start. The Mariners had a difficult build-up to the game with players unable to train due to Covid, but Town shrugged off the challenges and picked up three points thanks to a good finish from John Mcatee.
Striker Ryan Taylor started the game after recovering from the injury picked up at the start of the season, and led the line for the Mariners who lined up: McKeown - Efete, Longe-King, Pearson, Crookes - Fox, Hunt - Clifton, Mcatee, Sousa - Taylor.
Town started strongly, passing the ball around well, and had most of the possession from the off. The first save came from a set-piece after a foul on Clifton, but Mcatee's attempt on goal went straight at Fitzsimons.
Town almost scored two minutes later when a corner led to a McAtee shot which was parried by the 'keeper, with Pearson's subsequent rebound attempt charged down.
Grimsby continued to dominate without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances until 15 minutes before halftime when Sousa was played through on goal. He took his time and stuck his shot on target, but it was too close to the keeper and saved.
After the break, John-Lewis came on for a straight swap with Taylor and Town almost scored straight away when a ball played into the box fell to Sousa who, after a scramble, shot wide from close range.
Town continued to press and Fitzsimons was forced into another save after a turn and shot by John-Lewis.
After the hour mark, Weymouth started to come into the game for the first time and they had a ten-minute spell when they put Town under a lot of pressure and won several corners.
Town weathered the storm though and brought on Wright for Hunt to try and inject some extra pace into the game with a 4-3-3 formation. The change, directly or indirectly, led to the opening goal though for within a few minutes John-Lewis picked out Mcatee who shot early and beat Fitzsimons with a stunning strike.
It sent to crowd wild but there was still a long time to go, partly due to several Weymouth injuries and a lot of time-wasting.
Sousa almost added a second, but his shot was deflected, and Town managed to negotiate the remainder of the game and keep a clean sheet.
It was a well-deserved win. Grimsby had the bulk of chances and possession and created enough to win the game. Weymouth came for a point so Town were not really tested defensively, which they undoubtedly will be in the next game at pre-season favourites Stockport on Tuesday.
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