Date: 21st October 2017 at 5:11pm
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Grimsby Town travelled from the eastern coast of England to the western one today to face the teeth of the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia`s bastard offspring Storm Brian as it lashed the Lancashire resort with wild winds from the Irish Sea. Conditions such as these tend to always mitigate against skilful football but that might help the hosts at least after recent performances. Unusually, Manager Jim Bentley has publicly berated his players for lack of effort and commitment in their last two matches, putting it on record that only goalkeeper Barry Roche has actually `earned his wages` in recent times. The Shrimps were woeful during midweek when, after a bright start, they just laid down and died against fellow-strugglers Port Vale and never got to grips with Vale`s outstanding centre forward Tom Pope, who Jim has tried and failed to sign-up for Morecambe in the past. They faced a Mariners side today which arrived in eleventh position in League Two, ten places and eight points better off than today`s hosts. So far this month, Russell Slade`s team have won two and drawn one in the league but their overall form seems to be patchy: capable of winning at Accrington Stanley one week but then losing at home to Wycombe another.

With rain and a very strong wind lashing the players, both sides won corners during the opening three minutes. The home team fashioned the first decent earlyish chance when Adam McGurk took a shot from a free-kick conceded by Scott Vernon which took a slight deflection off the Grimsby wall and forced visiting goalkeeper James McKeown to make a difficult but successful save after eight minutes. With Danny Collins looking commanding at the back for Grimsby, the effect of the weather was evident when James Berrett took a swing at the ball on the edge of the Shrimps` penalty area but the wind carried it nearer to the corner flag than to the goal after about a quarter of an hour. The best move of the game so far, however, arrived after 23 minutes when Morecambe played the ball out from the back and a clever move involving Luke Conlan and Vadaine Oliver resulted in an instant shot from McGurk which McKeown did very well to push round the post for a corner. The closest anyone came to scoring so far was in the twenty-seventh minute when first Andy Fleming had a shot blocked by the Grimsby defence and Oliver narrowly blasted the rebound wide when he might have done better. With Alex Kenyon heading an excellent cross from Michael Rose only just wide with about a half an hour on the clock, the Shrimps were dominating the play. Conlan made excellent progress up the Morecambe left after 37 minutes and his cross was met with a towering header by Oliver which skimmed the bar. But try as they might, the Shrimps could not break the deadlock and went in at half time knowing that the second period would see the visitors with the advantage of a gale at their backs.

In reality, the gale slackened at times during the second period and the contest continued to be more or less end to end. For Morecambe, Rose tried his luck from all of 35 yards after 68 minutes and forced the visiting goalie into another good save at the expense of a corner. Ten minutes later, the Grimsby goalkeeper again pulled-off another good save low down to keep out Steven Old`s excellent trademark header from a further corner. At the other end, Town`s best chance of the entire game came when Luke Summerfield took a long-range shot after 74 minutes which was deflected high and wide of the target for a corner which came to nothing. And nothing was the final score: nil each. For the home team, this was a vastly improved performance than that they put on against Port Vale four days ago and with a bit of luck, they could well have netted all three points. Grimsby – having failed to force Barry Roche into a single save throughout the ninety minutes – will be pleased to head back to Cleethorpes with a point. With rapidly-improving Vale winning away from home again and Forest Green also taking all three points at Stevenage, the draw sees Morecambe fall to twenty-second in League Two, just two points ahead of the team they will face in Gloucestershire in their next match, next Saturday. Grimsby`s single point sees them slip to twelfth.

Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 5 Steven Old; 2 Aaron McGowan; 6 Dean Winnard; 24 Michael Rose; 14 Luke Conlan; 8 Andy Fleming; 4 Alex Kenyon (C); 15 Aaron Wildig (Y) (21 Elliot Osborne 73 mins); 28 Adam McGurk (7 Garry Thompson 69 mins); 9 Vadaine Oliver.

Subs Not Used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 10 Adam Campbell; 29 Callum Lang; 16 Sam Lavelle.

Grimsby Town: 1 James McKeown; 2 Ben Davies; 5 Nathan Clarke (C); 6 Danny Collins; 3 Paul Dixon; 7 James Berrett; 19 Luke Summerfield; 27 Sikiri Dembele (20 Diallang Jaiyesimi 69 mins); 10 Samuel Isaac Jones (Y) (9 JJ Hooper 79 mins); 25 Martyn Woolford; 21 Scott Vernon.

Subs Not Used: 30 Ben Killip; 12 Zak Mills; 14 Karleigh Osborne; 18 Tom Bolarinwa; 29 Jamille Matt.
Ref: Graham Salisbury.