National League
Bristol RoversBristol Rovers0GrimsbyGrimsby Town0

Bristol Rovers 0-0 Grimsby Town

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport at the Memorial Stadium
Stuart Sinclair goes up against Craig Disley
Stuart Sinclair (left) was making his debut for Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers started life in the Conference with a draw against Grimsby.

The Pirates were relegated from the Football League for the first time in their history last season and fielded six debutants against the Mariners, who were play-off semi-finalists.

After an uneventful first half, new Rovers striker Matty Taylor went close and Lenell John-Lewis responded at the other end.

The hosts pushed for a winner in injury time but Grimsby's defence held firm.

Over 7,000 attended the season opener at the Memorial Stadium, where Rovers fans had previously witnessed their side's shock drop to non-league.

And Grimsby, who have been out of the Football League since 2010, were hoping to bounce back from their two-legged defeat by Gateshead in Conference play-offs in May.

Both sides struggled to carve out chances in front of goal in a cagey first half.

Alan Connell, who made his return to the Mariners on Friday, saw his snapshot go amiss before Rovers midfielder Andy Monkhouse flicked the ball towards goal only for it to be collected by keeper James McKeown.

The game livened up in the second half, as heavy rain began to fall, and former Forest Green striker Taylor showed his pace when he ran through on goal, only for his shot to be saved by the legs of McKeown.

Grimsby then saw their best opportunity of the game as home keeper Steve Mildenhall palmed into the path of John-Lewis but the forward put his toe-poke inches wide.

Stuart Sinclair pushed forward for the hosts and drilled a 25-yard shot just over the bar and the Mariners responded again, when John-Lewis' attempt was headed away by Pirates captain Mark McChrystal.

Substitute Jake Gosling had a chance to seal the victory for Rovers in the dying minutes, but his tame effort was easily saved by McKeown.

Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke told BBC Radio Bristol:

"It was an evenly-fought contest. Grimsby are an established Conference side so it was a good test for us.

"The boys' effort, desire and commitment was there for all to see.

"We were lacking a bit of quality at times but we look like a side that's going to create chances and we'll soon start taking those chances."

Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst told BBC Radio Humberside:

"Firstly I'm delighted to take a point. While we didn't set out for that, that's not how we set up, I think with all the troubles going into the game and players missing and Alan (Connell) not having trained with us and meeting the lads at the hotel I think that's a fantastic point.

"We're missing a few at the moment and none of them will be back for Tuesday.

"I thought we defended extremely well and we looked very solid. We limited them to very little."


Bristol Rovers

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Mildenhall
  • 5McChrystal
  • 3Brown
  • 2LeadbitterBooked at 56minsSubstituted forGoslingat 67'minutes
  • 4Lockyer
  • 6Parkes
  • 23MonkhouseSubstituted forO Clarkeat 73'minutes
  • 24Sinclair
  • 7Mansell
  • 10Taylor
  • 9BruntSubstituted forWhiteat 79'minutes


  • 8O Clarke
  • 11Gosling
  • 14White
  • 17Harrison
  • 22Preston


Formation 3-5-2

  • 1McKeown
  • 12Doig
  • 30Boyce
  • 6Magnay
  • 3Thomas
  • 26McLaughlin
  • 8Disley
  • 7Mackreth
  • 4Brown
  • 14John-Lewis
  • 17ConnellSubstituted forClayat 88'minutes


  • 2Bignot
  • 15Humble
  • 16Clay
  • 25Winfarrah
  • 27Bemrose
Simon Bennett

Match Stats

Home TeamBristol RoversAway TeamGrimsby
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Bristol Rovers 0, Grimsby Town 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Bristol Rovers 0, Grimsby Town 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jake Gosling (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Stuart Sinclair (Bristol Rovers).

  5. Post update

    Carl Magnay (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Jamie White (Bristol Rovers).

  7. Post update

    James McKeown (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Grimsby Town. Craig Clay replaces Alan Connell.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tom Parkes (Bristol Rovers) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Bristol Rovers.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town).

  12. Post update

    Steve Mildenhall (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town).

  14. Post update

    Lee Brown (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Matty Taylor (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Bristol Rovers. Jamie White replaces Ryan Brunt.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mark McChrystal (Bristol Rovers) header from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lee Mansell.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Bristol Rovers.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ollie Clarke (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alan Connell (Grimsby Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

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