Mariners Promoted back to the Football League

GRIMSBY Town booked their place back in the Football League with a dramatic 3-1 Vanarama National League Promotion Final victory over Forest Green Rovers at Wembley.

Omar Bogle and Nathan Arnold were the goalscoring heroes on the afternoon with Keanu Maarsh-Brown replying for the New Lawn side on the hour.

The match was poised at 2-1 to the Mariners going into the last of five additional minutes. An expected onslaught from Rovers for an equaliser never materialised and instead Jon Nolan broke at pace and fed substitute Pat Hoban.

The Irishman fired in a shot that ricocheted into the path of the unmarked Arnold and he kept his cool to round namesake Steve and slot home to give the men from North-East Lincolnshire an unassailable two-goal lead going into the final 60 seconds.

Rovers will point to a crazy minute before the interval that saw Town plunder two goals through semi-final hero Bogle as the turning point in the game.

The Mariners had been threatening throughout the half and had hit the post moments earlier through a cracking effort from Arnold.

Bogle’s first came on 41 minutes and was similar to his winner the previous week at Braintree. Nolan floated in a deep free kick that was met at the far post by the former Solihull man who noffer home with the aid of a deflection.

Forest Green barely had time to catch their breath when they found themselves 2-0 down. Arnold fired in a volley from 20 yards that the Rovers’ stopper found too hot to handle and Bogle was quickest to react and rifle the rebound home.

But it was the men from the New Lawn who had forced the first chance of the game after just two minutes.

Gregor Robertson gave away a free kick deep on the right wing and, when the cross came in, Charlie Clough met it with a looping header that was claimed under his crossbar with James McKeown.

Paul Hurst’s side soon settled and they created a fantastic chance on five minutes. Pádraig Amond laid a ball off for skipper Craig Disley to fire in a curling 20-yard effort that Arnold did well to turn around the post.

Bogle then stung the palms of the Rovers’ stopper with a free kick from 30 yards, which was gathered at the second attempt.

The Mariners’ striker had a gilt-edged chance to put his side ahead on ten minutes. A Nolan free kick was nodded back across goal by Amond and it looked easy for Bogle to score, but he didn’t get enough power on the header and it allowed Arnold to get across and make the save.

Rovers responded well and Richard Tait was on hand to fling  himself at an Elliot Frear shot to send the ball out for a corner, which was eventually played out by Clough.

Amond had his first sight of goal on 25 minutes but Aarran Racine got in well to block.

There were two scares for the Mariners either side of the half-hour; firstly when Nolan needed treatment from physio Dave Moore on the touchline for a foot injury and then when McKeown spilled a long-range effort from Keanu Marsh-Brown, Toto Nsiala being alert to clear the danger.

Veteran midfielder Darren Carter then tried his luck from distance, sending a left-footed effort into the ranks of Mariners’ fans behind the goal.

But then the Mariners stepped it up a gear. Another well-worked set piece saw Disley’s header cleared as far as Craig Clay, who sent in a volley that was deflected for a throw.

Arnold then hit the woodwork, before Carter was booked for a trip on Bogle, Town taking the lead from the resulting free kick.

And by the time the break arrived, Hurst’s side found themselves two goals to the good, much to the delight of the huge following from North-East Lincolnshire.

Forest Green responded by bringing big striker Jon Parkin into the fray at the interval, the former Hull man having caused Town problems in both matches during the regular league campaign.

And he was immediately in the thick of the action, unsettling Josh Gowling with a late challenge, before sending a glorious chance wide at the far post after a cross from Marsh-Brown.

On 53 minutes both Parkin and Clough had stabs at a corner but neither could force the ball home. Frear then sent a curling effort wide from 25 yards.

Kurtis Guthrie worked a great opening on 57 minutes but Nsiala was across well to block but the Gloucestershire outfit were back in the game on the hour.

Marsh-Brown picked the ball up 30 yards out and spotted a gap at the near post, which he picked out with a fantastic swerving effort.

But Town held their own, Disley flashing a header just wide from Tait’s centre, before the right-back got to the byline and saw his cross cut out at the near post.

Rovers were relying more and more on the long ball into the area but Mariners’ centre halves Gowling and Nsiala stood firm.

The attacking changes continued to come for the New Lawn side with James Jennings and Anthony Jeffrey replacing Ben Jefford and Guthrie but it was the Mariners who had a great chance to seal it on 77 minutes.

Amond ran into space down the left channel and worked his way into the box. He tried to pick out Bogle with a clever cross but the ball was too high and it drifted out for a goal kick.

That was the striker’s last action of the game, as he was replaced by Jon-Paul Pittman. Town had a spring in their step in the closing stages and that was further enforced when Pat Hoban replaced two-goal hero Bogle.

The board went up to signal five minutes of stoppage time but that tension was soon overtaken by a outburst of unbridled joy as Arnold wrapped things up with the third of the afternoon.

FGR: S Arnold; Jefford (Jennings), Clough, Bennett, Racine; Pipe, Carter; Marsh-Brown, Guthrie (Jeffrey), Frear; Williams (Parkin). Subs not used: Kamdjo, Maxted

Booked: Carter

Scorer: Marsh-Brown

GTFC: McKeown; Tait, Nsiala, Gowling, Robertson; N Arnold (Pearson), Disley, Clay, Nolan; Bogle (Hoban), Amond (Pittman). Subs not used: Marshall, East

Scorers: Bogle (2), Arnold

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