Grimsby Town 0 Sutton United 0.
Sutton came back from a bright and blustery Blundell Park with a hard earned point from a game where both sides had spells in the ascendancy without ever being able to claim control. It wasn't generally a game for the purists, with the windy conditions not helping either side to produce great fluency, but after two unfortunate defeats it was a welcome point for U's, who defended well in to the wind in the first half and then put the home side under more pressure in the second half, although it was in to the wind that Grimsby had their best chances, particularly after a double substitution which saw them switch to a 4-4-2 formation on the hour mark, and U's needed Jack Rose to be at his best to preserve the clean sheet and the point.
U's welcomed back Coby Rowe to the centre of defence, with Jon Barden dropping to the bench, and restricted Grimsby to two shots from Gavin Holohan from outside the penalty area, the first going very close to Rose's right hand post, the second dipping harmlessly over. Anthony Glennon did put a wind assisted corner in to the net six minutes before half time but referee Martin Woods spotted an infringement and ruled the effort out, while a dangerous run from Brendan Kiernan was ended by a challenge by Louis John on the edge of the penalty area that earned a yellow card and conceded a free kick that came to nothing.
It was U's, though, who had the best chance when home skipper Luke Waterfall mis-hit a back pass which left Donovan Wilson clear with just goalkeeper Max Crocombe to beat, but the keeper was off his line quickly to save. Enzio Boldewijn also put a header across goal from a Rob Milsom cross.
The second half was a similar affair, with U's having the advantage of the wind but not creating a host of chances, the final pass often disappointing, although Joe Kizzi came very close from the first of a succession of corners, his far post header from Boldewijn's delivery blocked on the line by Kieran Green. Grimsby's threat increased after their change on the hour, although they were given a helping hand when Milsom left a pass back to Rose short, substitute Arabim Pepple having a clear run on goal but Rose sticking out a foot to divert his shot for a corner, with a relieved Milsom the first player to congratulate him on the stop. Michee Efete sent a low cross flashing across the face of goal, and Rose turned away a lowshot from Pepple as the game became much more open, while at the other end Ali Smith saw a well struck shot saved by Crocombe. There was a welcome return for Will Randall after injury and it took a good tackle from Green to prevent him from setting up a chance on the left by-line.
There might have been a sting in the tale for U's when Pepple put Ryan Taylor through in stoppage time, but a slightly heavy touch gave Rose the chance to come out and round off an impressive display by diving at the striker's feet to push the ball away, and both sides had to settle for a point.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, C Eastmond, L John, E Boldewijn(sub L Gambin 88), D Wilson(sub T Fadahunsi 88), K Thomas(sub K Kouassi 63) H Beautyman(sub A Smith 76), J Neufville (sub W Randall 63. Subs n/u B House, J Barden. Booked: John, Boldewijn.
Grimsby: M Crocombe, M Efete, A Glennon, K Green, A Smith, L Waterfall, S Wearne(sub J Maguire-Drew 76), G Holohan, R Taylor, B Morris(sub A Pepple 59) B Kiernan(sub H Clifton 59). Subs n/u O Battersby, S Pearson, D Amos, J Cropper. Booked: Waterfall, Holohan, Green
Referee: Martin Woods
Attendance: 6,239 (105 away)
Photo courtesy of Grimsby Town FC/Jon Corken