18 January 2020
Grimsby Town v Exeter City
Exeter City moved level on points with Swindon Town at the top of the Sky Bet League Two table with a 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town.
by Simon Larkin
Nicky Law curled home the only goal of the game, but the Grecians had to ride their luck for large parts of the game as an in-form Grimsby side hit the inside of the post and forced a number of saves from Jonny Maxted and a couple of goalline clearances from Aaron Martin.
Manager Matt Taylor made one change from the side that had beaten Cambridge United last time out, bringing in new signing Brennan Dickenson for Jayden Richardson on the left.
Dickenson was on the front foot from the off as he tried to bundle his way into the box early on and it was City who had the first chance of note when Pierce Sweeney volleyed over at the back post.
However, Max Wright then hit the first effort on target just after 20 minutes when he forced Jonny Maxted into a good save at his near post. Jake Taylor then fired an effort from distance that James McKeown turned around his post before Pierce Sweeney forced him into a good save as he headed Randell Williams free-kick towards goal.
It was the hosts who looked slightly the more threatening of the two teams going into the break though as Maxted had to save with his legs to deny Billy Clarke, while Whitehouse curled a shot from 16 yards out onto the inside of the post.
The home side started the second half brightly as well with Charles Vernom heading towards goal from a few yards out only to be denied by an instinctive save from Maxted, who tipped the ball onto his post before Aaron Martin clears the ball from a yard out with a striker looking to profit.
Moments later Elliott Whitehouse then volley a chance a yard wide from the edge of the box, before City made the breakthrough. It was a great bit of composure which created the goal in the 68th minute as Nicky Law picked up a ball from Randell Williams in the area before chopping the ball back onto his left foot, sending two defenders the wrong way, and curling an effort beyond James McKeown and into the net.
With 14 minutes to go, Joel Randall then had a great chance to make it 2-0 but having got through on goal and sent the keeper the wrong way, his reverse shot whistled inches wide of the post.
That meant in remained a nervy finish for the Grecians, with Maxted saving again from Billy Clarke and Aaron Martin clearing another shot, this time from James Hanson, off the line.
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Hendrie, Öhman, Hessenthaler (Benson, 75), Whitehouse (Hanson, 68), Clifton, Clarke, Vernam, Wright (Tilley, 57), Pollock, Glennon. Subs: Hewitt, Buckley, Starbuck, Russell.
Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney, A Martin, L Martin (Randall, 63), Law, Williams, Bowman, Parkes, Dickenson (Moxey, 63), Taylor, Collins. Subs not used: Ward, Ajose, Jay, Richardson, Moxey, Randall, Seymour.