Getting to know the opposition: Grimsby Town

Sam Plummer takes an in-depth look at Grimsby Town ahead of Chesterfield’s visit to Blundell Park on Saturday.

Vanarama National League Record

WinsDrawsLossesGoals ForGoal AgainstPoints
Grimsby Town1026311032

In a closely contested battle at the top of the table, the Spireites travel to Blundell Park to face sixth-placed Grimsby Town. 

Heading to Lincolnshire to face the Cleethorpes-based side, the weekend’s hosts currently sit four points adrift of the Spireites in the National League standings. Competing in their first campaign outside of the Football League in five years, Grimsby are looking to bounce back at the first time of asking. 

The Mariners kick-started the season in fine form – going undefeated in the opening seven fixtures. In a period which featured wins over last season’s play-off finalists Torquay United, and Wrexham, Grimsby hit the ground running by collecting 17 points from a possible 21. 

Following a strong start, the first league defeat of the season came on the road against Bromley with a 3-1 loss, although the club would instantaneously bounce back with an emphatic 6-0 victory over bottom-of-the-league Dover Athletic. A standout win that would spark a five-game winning streak before narrowly crumbling to Wealdstone in a 1-0 loss. Since losing to the Stones, Grimsby have started to show some cracks by losing their five of their most recent six fixtures. A run of games which includes a shock exit from the FA Cup, after being beaten by Vanarama National League North outfit Kidderminster Harriers. 

Comparison of the season so far:

Grimsby TownClubChesterfield FC
7thTable Position1st
1.72Goals per Game2.06
1.11Goals Conceded per Game0.88
7Clean Sheets9

Most recently, Paul Hurst’s men suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge. A game in which top goalscorer John McAtee suffered a red card, and will ultimately be suspended for the meeting with Chesterfield. With a chance to break away from the Daggers in the standings – the loss means that the gap between the two sides has dropped to three points, with Dagenham in tenth place in the National League. 

In terms of personnel, McAtee leads the charge for Grimsby for goals. Topping the charts with seven goals to his name, the 22-year-old has netted from the penalty spot on two occasions. Leading from the front, the former Shrewsbury youngster scored a brace in the seven-goal thriller against Barnet earlier in the campaign, to guide the club to a 4-3 victory. 

John McAtee v Kabongo Tshimanga 

John McAtee 
(Grimsby Town)
PlayersKabongo Tshimanga (Chesterfield FC)
163Minutes per Goal89
0.55Goals per 90 Minutes1.02

Also supporting McAtee is veteran striker Ryan Taylor, an experienced Football League centre forward who has contributed with six goals to begin the campaign. Elsewhere, goals have come from Welsh midfielder Harry Clifton, who has scored four goals this season; Luke Waterfall with three goals; and Michee Efete and Will Bapaga – who have both scored on two occasions this season. 

The last time that Chesterfield faced off with Grimsby, The Spireites came away with a 2-1 win during a pre-season friendly prior to the start of the current season. However, in competitive football, Grimsby come into this clash with the bragging rights after claiming victory in all of the last three meetings. The most recent of which coming in December 2018 in the FA Cup second round as Clifton and Charles Vernam grabbed the decisive goals on the day. 

What a win would do for both sides…

Three points for the Lincolnshire side would give Grimsby the chance of climbing up into second place, and within one point of Chesterfield. However, a loss against the league leaders would see Paul Hurst’s side fearing a drop from the play-off places, with the opportunity to fall as far as ninth in the standings, if results fail to go their way.

As for James Rowe’s men, a win would continue to rubber-stamp their lead at the top of the table. Sitting one point ahead of second-placed Boreham Wood and two in front of Bromley, three points would help keep the Wood away from the top spot for another matchday. If Chesterfield fail to win on matchday 18, they could fall as low as fifth if results go against them this weekend.