Seagulls bow out of trophy with pride

Goalscorer Dayle Grubb.

Goalscorer Dayle Grubb. - Credit: Archant

In the land of the mariners, it was the battleship of Grimsby Town that sailed through to the third round of the FA Trophy at the expense of plucky Weston on Saturday.

Ryan Northmore’s men matched their Vanarama National opponents, ranked 38 places above the Seagulls in the league standings, for long periods – but a goal on the stroke of half-time was their undoing, giving Grimsby a lead they never relinquished.

Despite Tristan Plummer’s injury leaving Northmore with just one fit striker, the visitors created chances and captain Dayle Grubb was on target after Conor Henderson’s opener, but after Grimsby re-took the lead through Omar Bogle they never looked back.

A second-half strike from Jon-Paul Pitman then sealed the victory for Paul Hurst’s men, to set up a third-round tie with Havant and Waterlooville.

Northmore said his side had taken Grimsby’s players by surprise with their performance, and in-form Scott Wilson capped the best move of a bright start by testing home keeper James McKeown early on.

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Luke Purnell had to be alert minutes later to Josh Venney’s curling free-kick, before the Mariners took the lead on 11 minutes when Marcus Marshall chested down a cross for Henderson to fire home first time.

Danny East crashed the ball against Purnell’s post as it looked like Grimsby may begin to take control, but the Seagulls drew level when Jake Mawford’s low cross was only half cleared, allowing Grubb to smash the ball home.

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There were few more chances to speak of before the break, but a rare lapse in concentration from Weston’s rearguard gave Grimsby their second goal.

Henderson’s raking ball from his own half was allowed to travel a good 50 yards to find Bogle, who stepped inside of Clayton Fortune with ease, and despite Luke Purnell diving at the striker’s feet, he found the back of the net at the third attempt.

It was a sucker punch for Northmore’s men, and one they would not recover from, despite Grubb again testing McKeown from a free-kick soon after the break.

Instead Grimsby took the initiative and gave themselves a cushion with half an hour to play, when Jon-Paul Pitman turned on the edge of the box before firing past Purnell and into the bottom corner.

After the game, Northmore lamented his side’s lack of firepower and suggested he may delve into the transfer market, following the sale of 14-goal Bradley Ash earlier this month.

He said: “We more than held our own against tough opposition, but going into the game with one fit striker stopped us scoring another goal or two.

“I think we took the Grimsby players and management by surprise with our quality, but the timing of the second goal was terrible, and we had a couple of chances to clear it.

“We need to strengthen the squad. We have got a lot of games coming up in February and we have to be looking.

“There are a list of strikers, but like with everything, finances will dictate and they have got to be the right person and fit for this club.”

On Saturday, Weston host second-placed Maidstone United in the Vanarama South, with kick-off at 3pm.

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