City battled to a creditable point at Blundell Park in a pulsating derby encounter against Grimsby Town.
Although it wasn’t a goal game full of goals it was no less intriguing, as both sides tried to claim the bragging rights. However, City will no doubt be the happier of the sides taking a point at the home of their rivals.
The Imps made one change to the side that started the midweek win against Barnet as Nathan Arnold returned to first team action against his former club.
As the game got underway the atmosphere was electric, with both sides attempting to get a grip on the game and possession changing hands frequently in the opening ten minutes it only added to the tension.
Although neither ‘keeper had been tested it was still an intriguing encounter, with no inch given by both sides. From the Imps first corner of the game Sam Habergham delivered the ball into the box, Rob Dickie only had eyes for the ball but unfortunately there was a foul and the chance was gone.
Dickie was to be in the thick of the action at the other end minutes later as Jamille Matt attempted to break through the Imps backline, but the number 15 was there cool as ever to dominate the situation.
Michael Bostwick stooped to flick on a near post corner that caused confusion in the Grimsby area, but it couldn’t be turned home as the Imps gradually began to get a foothold on the game. Neal Eardley curled the ball into the box however, it was half cleared, Harry Anderson won possession back and whipped in a low delivery that fizzed across the box but no one could turn it home.
Sam Jones had the first attempt on target for Grimsby as his header from a free kick on the right drifted harmlessly into the arms of Josh Vickers. Within seconds the ball was up the other end as Matt Green broke into the box, cut the ball into the path of Arnold but the former Mariner couldn’t get the requisite power on his shot to beat James McKeown. Arnold was inches away from opening the scoring as he smashed a low effort, which beat McKeown but went the wrong side of the upright as the Imps continued to be in the ascendency.
As half time loomed City continued to pour forward with Green and Palmer causing all sorts of problems for Nathan Clarke and Danny Collins at the back for Grimsby. Anderson forced a late corner after a wonderful turn of pace took him past Dixon but his shot was blocked, the resulting flag kick was curled to the back post and Bostwick looped a header goalwards but it was grasped by McKeown.
Grimsby 0 The Imps 0
Anderson started the second half like he finished the first and created the first flash of danger, a typical run and cross created havoc before being hacked clear. Anderson then fired a low shot which seemed to be misjudged by McKeown who had to kick the ball clear.
Jones fired a low effort that was deflected towards goal but Vickers watched it all the way as the intensity and end-to-end play that was seen in the opening throes of the first half returned. Jones then tried to force his way to goal but Habergham made a wonderful sliding challenge, taking the ball confidently inside the box as the home fans appealed for a penalty.
Grimsby had a chance to open the scoring in with just over an hour gone as a forceful run from James Berrett created space for Martyn Woolford to cross, the centre was blocked but there was a momentary scramble in the box, which was cleared by Raggett deep inside the Imps’ penalty area. Jones hit a daisycutter across the face of goal that Vickers had covered with 20 minutes or so remaining.
The Imps introduced Matt Rhead for Palmer and his presence in the box gave the hosts something different to think about, but it was Green who fired an effort which beat the home ‘keeper but was unfortunately off target.
Jordan Maguire-Drew came on for the final eight minutes of the game and the sub was immediately involved in what was the best chance of the half for the Imps. He linked with Green out wide on the right before the ball was whipped onto the head of the onrushing Bostwick but his header flashed off target.
City were urged forward by the travelling 1800 Imps’ supporters with the game going into the final five minutes, Maguire-Drew drifted a teasing cross to the back post, it was cleared to the edge of the box where Bostwick was waiting and he shot on target but McKeown saved, it rebounded back to Bostwick but his second effort didn’t test the keeper. Grimsby were thwarted by a wonderfully timed tackle by Raggett just as Jaiyesimi appeared to be lining up the shot inside the box with minutes remaining.
The final attempt of the game though went the way of the Imps as Green made a break for the opposing penalty area before holding the ball up for Maguire-Drew who tried to measure a curler into corner but McKeown saved.
GRIMSBY 0 THE IMPS 0
1 James MCKEOWN
3 Paul DIXON
5 Nathan CLARKE
2 Ben DAVIES
7 James BERRETT
6 Danny Collins
10 Sam JONES
19 Luke SUMMERFIELD
29 Jamille MATT
25 Martyn WOOLFORD
27 Sikiri DEMBELE
30 Ben KILLIP
14 Karleigh OSBOURNE
20 Daillang JAIYESIMI (79 for DEMBELE)
9 JJ HOOPER
8 Mitch ROSE (69 for SUMMERFIELD)
21 Scott VERNON (61 for MATT)
17 Harry CARDWELL
BOOKING: CLARKE 92
21 Josh VICKERS
3 Sam HABERGHAM
8 Ollie PALMER
10 Matt GREEN
15 Rob DICKIE
16 Michael BOSTWICK
23 Neal EARDLEY
25 Sean RAGGETT
26 Harry ANDERSON
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Sean LONG
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
5 Luke WATERFALL
7 Josh GINNELLY (61 for ARNOLD)
9 Matt RHEAD (70 for PALMER)
14 J MAGUIRE-DREW (82 for ANDERSON)
BOOKING: Bostwick 27’
Referee : Carl Boyeson
Assistants : Geoff Liddle, Chris Isherwood
4th Official: Alix Pashley
Attendance: 7669 (1878)