The Youthful Mariners, had little need of shaving equipment as we despatched Winterton Rangers 3-0 with a Sam Mulready hat trick, a joy to behold for the 172 who sailed.
Robbie Stockdale Grimsby`s new youth Guru has some hefty boots to fill with Neil Woods Garnering three trophies in five seasons. And with continuity and the long term again in mind Robbie took charge of the Mariners first team select on a pleasant afternoon in Winterton, still this side of the Humber and just up the road from Barton.
Robbie shuffled newly promoted first teamers Bradley Wood, last seasons youth Captain Mark Gray, Drew Rhoades, Josh Fuller and Tom Corner plus triallist Scott Brown and Luke Nightingale; in with his even younger thoroughbreds. Brown from Everton lined up on the right flank whilst Huddersfield central defender Nightingale kicked off as centre half.
But to the match me hearties???????..
Brown was out of the blocks from the off and would have roasted the whole joint, but for a last ditch challenge that put the ball out for a comer: and no I don`t mean Tom. Fuller fired the half cleared corner back across the area but alas no one was wise or up for a gamble. Revelation Bradley Wood ignited things down the left as he and Fuller played pinball before Fuller chipped a peach of a ball to Mulready. Sam was not yet the man and headed just wide of the post to ‘ooohs and arghs` from the pint holding punters.
But with just 8 on the clock (minutes not pints) Sam showed he can, rising to meet Fullers corner with a firm but fair effort that rippled the net. It should have been two as the attacking football, not exactly carpet but an effective varied style, had Winterton all ends up a minute later. Sam, the mercury clearly rising went close with a second, before an industrial route one ball from Gray saw the ball come under the stride and spell of Corner who dragged his effort wide.
This fellow has a touch and a brain; if he can find the finish then he will drive more than the Mariner Milfs insane. But enough of ladies in football kits?. back to the game. Another wonderful move saw triallist Brown thread a throughball to Fuller, who nipped then tucked the ball to Mulready who winded Ward with a porridge disturbing piledriver. On 25 another corner saw Brown, cool as a cucumber, kill it in the box and clip it back to Sam who headed home his second.
The marauding Mariners trawled for more with even cabin boy centre back Nightingale turning on the style. The left footer beat two before hitting a ferocious drive that Ward spilled but deservedly claimed as a fine save. Brown, aflame down the right hit a superb twenty five yarder inches over the bar (the cross bar). Winterton`s Liam Wilkins overhead bicycle kick went the same way up the other end as the sides went in for their slices of orange while the rest of us tucked into a Guinness.
Rangers made five changes at the break reaping rewards of sorts as they got out our fullbacks. Slack put Wilkin in but Peet made himself big to save superbly. Danny Frost started to find room on the other flank feeding Graeme Severn and Wilkin who should have done better. On 56 minutes, Lawrence Heward replaced Wood, who was beginning to get out muscled despite an otherwise impressive performance. Wilkin again fluffed his lines slicing it into orbit with just Peet to beat.
Tom Corner was also subbed, though not before he hammered a howitzer at Rangers’ defender Micah Bleau. Ross Gardner came on for the run out along with Andi Thanoj who replaced Fuller with just over 20 minutes to go to allow us to consolidate, compete and counter.
On 87 minutes seventeen-year-old Sam picked up a lose ball. The transformation from North Lincolnshire Poacher to South Humberside Pele was upon us, as Sam saved the showboating special for last. And what a goal ’twas ship mates. From the right wing he weaved, white water rafting the Trent, evading the four lunging, jagged rocks in socks that sort to deny him the match ball. Having left them in his wake and with but the advancing Ward in front of him and the weight of an estuary of expectation behind, he nonchalantly poked into the bottom right-hand corner of the lobster pot.
Ye`ll be doing this on bigger stages than this over the next decade Sam, but I`ll bet you`ll always remember Winterton Rangers and your first match ball. Let`s not forget triallists Brown and Nightingale were solid too and that a coherent team performance suggest strong cohesive links remain between the youth and the first team. And as long as lads like Sam Mulready see they will get their first team chances the conveyorbelt of quality from the U`8`s will continue.
Brown and Nightingale more then played their part on the afternoon and impressed with a solid 90-minute performance each.
172 (70 Mariners Sailed)
RANGERS: Ward; Robinson, Smith, Walkden, Sanderson; Pickles, Stannard, Longbone, Craig; Wilkin, Wilburn. Subs: Wilkinson, O’Neill, Frost, Severn, Slack, Bleau, McDonagh, Lycett.
TOWN: Peet; Marshall, Wood (Heward 56), I’Anson, Gray; Brown, Nightingale, Rhoades, Fuller (Thanoj 74); Corner (Gardner 66), Mulready. Subs not used: O’Loughlin, Dickens, Ashdown
Crowd 172 (70 Mariners Sailed)