Sky Bet League Two

Forest Green Rovers 1

Grimsby Town 0

FOREST GREEN substitute Junior Mondal maintained Mark Cooper’s side’s unbeaten start to the season with a second-half winner in a dogged 1-0 win.

And Rovers made it two wins and a draw from their opening three games to bring an end to Grimsby’s undefeated opening and sit joint top of the early League Two table.

Grimsby Town Fresh from their ego-boosting mid-week victory Lee Bowyer’s Championship Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup, manager Mark Cooper kept faith with cup heroes Joe Wollacott, Udoka Godwin-Malife, Matty Stevens and Ebou Adams. Meanwhile, James Morton, Aaron Collins and Lewis Thomas all dropped to the bench from the Rovers’ team that drew at Walsall last weekend.

George Williams (broken leg), Farrend Rawson (concussion) missed out along with Liam Shephard (knee) who is yet to start this season.

Old non-league foes Grimsby Town made two changes to the side that drew at home to promotion favourites Bradford City and included new signing Luke Waterfall from Shrewsbury Town.

In a contrast of styles, arguably beauty and the beast – Rovers were at it from the get-go, playing their tiki-taka football, which has been synonymous during Cooper’s four-season tenure.

Grimsby like the direct route with beanpole striker James Hanson their pivotal point of contact.

Chances remained at a premium as the game failed to raise the pulses. Rovers’ Carl Winchester was booked in an instantly forgettable opening half-hour with not one notable clear-cut scoring opportunity. However, Waterfall tried to buck the trend – climbing above Nathan McGinley to plant his header towards Wollacott with nine minutes of the first-half to go.

Patience is a virtue and Rovers had plenty of it as they built slowly from the back – strangling the life out of the game at times as the Mariners packed players behind the ball.

On the cusp of the break , the first glove from Rovers was administered ironically by former boxer Stevens, who played in Dom Bernard, but he skewed wide – his side’s only first-half strike on goal.

Rovers boss Cooper tweaked his team at the break – Dayle Grubb coming on for Stevens.

Rovers started on the front foot – captain Joseph Mills arrowing wide from a well-worked Winchester corner.

Grimsby were left to rue a great opportunity to take a 54th-minute lead. Hanson’s header dropped to Waterfall, but his ungainly poke went horrifically wide of the mark.

Grimsby were turning the screw. And Wollacott was forced to show speed of thought when Elliott Hewitt’s volley deviated off Hanson but the Bristol City loanne keeper dropped expertly on the ball.

The Mariners were kicking themselves on 65 minutes – Harry Davis played in Hanson, but he inexplicably dragged his shot wide as the net bulged in anticipation.

Cooper turned to his bench with 21 minutes to go - hooking industrious midfielder Kevin Dawson for striker Junior Mondal.

And it was Mondal who broke the stalemate on 76 minutes – finding the bottom corner of James McKeown’s net after Bernard’s cross and Shawn McCoulsky’s initial strike was blocked.

Grimsby failed to find their range with seven minutes to go – Hanson profligate again with his head from a Luke Hendrie cut-back.

FOREST GREEN: Woolacott, Bernard, M. Mills, McGinley, J.Mills, Dawson (Mondal 69), Morton, Winchester, Stevens (Grubb 45), McCoulsky

Subs not used: Thomas, Collins, Allen, Kitching, Morton Bookings: Winchester 31

Star man: Carl Winchester.

Grimsby: McKeown, Hendrie, Davis, Waterfall, Green (Vernam 79), Hessenthaler, Hanson, Whitehouse, Clifton (Ring 79), Ogbu (Cook 73), Hewitt

Subs not used: Russell, Gibson, Wright,Pollock Bookings: Attendance:2,152

Grimsby fans: 283

Referee: Mr Leigh Dougherty

COMING UP: Forest Green travel to Port Vale in League Two on Tuesday, 7.45pm kick-off.