It was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ for Grimsby Town as they slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to struggling Macclesfield Town.
If ever there was a performance that would make the Blundell Park faithful shrug ‘just typical Town’ then this was it.
The heroics of the 1-0 defeat to Premier League side Crystal Palace in the FA Cup were a distant memory by the time 5pm rolled around on a dismal afternoon at Blundell Park, as Sol Campbell’s Silkmen easily dealt with an under-par Mariners.
Defensive woes once again dominated Michael Jolley’s selection plans. The continued absence of centre halves Alex Whitmore, Danny Collins and Harry Davis was negated somewhat by the return of Luton Town loanee Akin Famewo, who partnered Luke Hendrie, who made his move from Shrewsbury Town permanent 24 hours previously, at the heart of the defence.
This allowed Reece Hall-Johnson to slot into his more customary right-back position and saw Swedish star Sebastian Ring make his bow at left-back, in place of the suspended Andrew Fox. The other Swedish addition, Ludvig Öhman, had to settle for a place on the bench.
He was joined on the bench by Mitch Rose and Martyn Woodford, who both played their part in that defeat to Palace last weekend. Charles Vernam came back into the starting XI for Harry Cardwell, with Ben Pringle taking up Woolford’s left wing role.
There was a further injury blow for Jolley early in the contest. Harry Clifton looked to be struggling in the warmup and he was duly replaced by Mitch Rose on 21 minutes.
And the visitors promptly took advantage, edging in front on 26 minutes. The Mariners went to sleep at a free kick and that allowed Tyrone Marsh to nip in front of a static line of defenders and divert Michael Rose’s set piece beyond James McKeown at the near post.
It got worse for the Mariners seven minutes later. Mitch Rose was dispossessed in his own half and that made it easy for Scott Wilson to advance and slot home the second.
The Silkmen pushed for a third in the second period and only wastefulness from Harry Smith and a fine goal-line clearance from Hall-Johnson to deny Marsh stopped the visitors from extending their lead.
Jolley’s side upped the tempo far too late in the proceedings to make a difference. The game was into its final 20 minutes before the Mariners made inroads towards the Macclesfield goal – Wes Thomas being inches away from reaching a cross, after good work on the right by Charles Vernam.
And it was Thomas who had the hosts’ best chance of the contest when he raced through the middle but poked his effort straight at Silkmen stopper Kieran O’Hara. Indeed the only bright spot on the afternoon for the home fans was the debut of Öhman from the bench – the Swedish centre-half getting 20 minutes under his belt as he looks to gain full fitness.
Mariners | McKeown; Hall-Johnson, Hendrie, Famewo (Öhman), Ring; Embleton, Hessenthaler, Clifton (M Rose), Pringle (A Rose); Vernam; Thomas. Subs not used: Welsh, Cook, Woolford, Russell.
Silkmen | O’Hara; Hodgkiss, Cameron, Kelleher, Welch-Hayes; Arthur, Maycock, Rose; Marsh, Smith, Wilson. Subs not used: Fitzpatrick, Lowe, Grimes, Vincenti, Idem, Andoh.