End is nigh as Town stare into the abyss
LOSS LEAVES MARINERS ON THE BRINK
GRIMSBY Town are on the verge of relegation back to non-league after a night that went against them in more ways than one.
The Mariners fell to a 3-0 defeat at home to Morecambe, with first-half goals coming from Cole Stockton and Yann Songo’o before Luke Waterfall’s own goal, while Colchester all-but confirmed their safety with a 2-0 win over Southend to leave Town teetering over the edge.
With nine points – effectively 10 – separating them from safety with just four games remaining, it looks to just be a matter of time before their relegation is confirmed.
As expected, Luke Hendrie and Giles Coke were unable to retain their places in Paul Hurst’s side after their knocks at the weekend, with Luke Spokes and Julien Lamy returning to the side in their place.
Having made a lightning start themselves at the weekend, the Mariners almost found themselves behind in the opening minute of the game as a poor pass from Spokes enabled Cole Stockton to break, with his resultant shot being saved by McKeown after the forward was forced wide by Elliott Hewitt.
The front two of James Hanson and Lenell John-Lewis began brightly again, and the latter came close to catching Kyle Letheren off his line as he chipped towards goal, but his effort just had a bit too much lift on it.
The visitors though began to take firm control of proceedings, and it didn’t come as a big surprise when they took the lead just after the 20-minute mark.
A superb pass from the middle of the park sliced through Town’s defence and set Stockton away, who made no mistake as he placed the ball beyond the reach of McKeown and in at the far post to put the Mariners behind. And it got worse for the hosts six minutes later when Morecambe made it two, with the midfielder reacting first to McKeown’s save after the ball came in from the left to poke
home, and leave Town with a mountain to climb.
With news coming through of Colchester taking the lead against Southend – and then doubling it – the Mariners’ EFL place looked to be slipping away before the half-time whistle even arrived.
The hosts came close to handing themselves a lifeline when John-Lewis fired from distance, only to be denied by a superb save from Letheren with the ball destined for the top corner.
From the resultant corner, the ball dropped into a scramble of players in front of goal, but Rolling Menayese could take his chance as he lifted his effort over the ball, with Town’s Football League future slipping away from them quickly.
Hurst rang the changes at the break as Ira Jackson Jr and Luke Waterfall entered the fray, but it was the visitors who almost extended their lead as Stockton broke clear again and lifted the ball over McKeown, only for Menayese to acrobatically clear off the line, despite Morecambe’s protestations that it had already crossed it.
Needing a goal, Jay Matete almost produced a carbon copy of his strike from the weekend as he strode forward unchallenged, but on this occasion his effort drifted wide of the far post. Town huffed and puffed, but were coming back from their forays forward empty-handed as their visitors held onto their advantage professionally.
And as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes, Morecambe’s victory was confirmed as Waterfall turned into his own net from a cross from the right, and with it Town’s stay in the EFL looks to be drawing to an end.