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Grimsby Town 1 Rovers 0

24 July 2018

An impressive performance from Grimsby Town goalkeeper James McKeown denied Rovers in their friendly at Blundell Park, though it needed two goalline clearances to keep the visitors out.

Rovers enjoyed plenty of the ball in the opening period, with Alfie Beestin slipping after being played through on goal by Ali Crawford in just the second minute.

Ian Lawlor was the first keeper called into action, comfortably saving John Welsh’s header after 11 minutes shortly after the Mariners man had scooped an effort over the bar.

Rovers stepped up their attacking play as the game hit the 20-minute mark, with John Marquis stinging the palms of McKeown with a shot from distance.

Moments later Tommy Rowe fired just wide after Rovers quickly won the ball back, before Mallik Wilks curled a left-footed effort just over the bar.

The home side went ahead after 23 minutes following some great passing play down the left, with the move finished with aplomb by Reece Hall-Johnson who curled an effort into the bottom far corner.

McKeown had to be alert on the half-hour mark to palm away an effort from Ben Whiteman who tried a shot from distance when the ball was cleared nicely into his path.

Rovers pushed for an equaliser as the half drew to a close, with Rowe seeing an effort cleared off the line by Alex Whitemore before Crawford’s follow-up was blocked and Beestin smashed the ball just wide.

Crawford went close just before the break with a central free-kick awarded after a foul on Beestin. The Scotsman’s right-footed effort beat the wall and bounced just wide of a post as the home keeper McKeown could only stand and watch.

Rovers were unchanged for the second period, with the visitors’ first effort after the break falling again to Rowe and being deflected wide - with the opportunity coming after great work from Marquis in closing down McKeown.

There were two pre-planned changes from Grant McCann as the game entered the final half hour, with Louis Jones replacing Lawlor in goal and a trialist coming on for Rowe.

Marquis went close to a leveller after 80 minutes with a low effort which McKeown did well to get down and keep out of danger. Mason’s follow-up went over.

Rovers had a second wind entering into the closing stages, with Wilks going close after jinking his way into the area from the left and getting a shot away which was cleared off the line via a combination of Akin Famewo’s block and Whitmore’s header 

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