Rovers continued their run of friendly victories with a fourth straight win from their unoffical pre-season ‘arse-end-of Britain’ tour. Rovers also included two further trialists in this trip to Blundell Park, with the players’ names given as Webster and Mustafa, which I really genuinely hope are code names, but suspect sadly won’t be. These two joined the more publicised trio of John Oster, Quinton Fortune and Jason Walker in the contract-less portion of the team-sheet.
As with Rovers other friendlies thus far the early stages of the first half were largely free of goalmouth action, unless you include the booming voice of Neil Sullivan drifting out into the North Sea and causing the Hull-Zeebrugge ferry to slow down in anticipation of fog. In fact it was half an hour before Rovers first chance as James Hayter fired wide from a corner. Then a better chance as the mysterious Mustafa beat two men on the right before playing in Lewis Guy, however he was denied by Leigh Overton in the Grimsby goal. Quinton Fortune shot wide from distance and that was pretty much the first half done and about as exciting as dusting.
Thankfully the second half, featuring the now customary overhauled Rovers line-up was to prove much more interesting. Within the opening five minutes Rovers had already had three chances on goal with Jason Walker, Dean Shiels and Martin Woods all going close. Mark Wilson had a couple of efforts on goal too as did Shiels again, before the deadlock was finally broken with quarter of an hour to play. John Oster fed Paul Heffernan and the Rovers forward rounded the Grimsby ‘keeper before finishing from a tight angle.
Five minutes later Rovers doubled their lead as trialist Jason Walker staked a further claim for a permanent move with his second goal in two games. The Barrow forward breaking forward onto a long ball out of defence and finishing well when through one-on-one with Overton. There was still time for a spot of late drama as Grimsby were awarded a penalty with five minutes remaining, hwoever Barry Conlon’s spot-kick was saved by Ben SMith to preserve a 2-0 scoreline in Rovers’ favour.
Rovers 1st half line-up (4-3-1-2): Neil Sullivan; Mustafa, Adam Lockwood, Webster, Gareth Roberts; John Spicer, Brian Stock, Quinton Fortune; Jamie Coppinger; Lewis Guy, James Hayter
Rovers 2nd half line-up (4-3-1-2): Ben Smith, Mustafa (Robbie Clark), Sam Hird, Webster (Jack Nodder), Gareth Roberts (Charles Fisher); John Oster, Mark Wilson, Martin Woods; Dean Shiels; Jason Walker, Paul Heffernan