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:

Post-match: Bristol Rovers' Clarke

"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:

Post-match: Grimsby Town boss Hurst

"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."

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (4)

Bristol Rovers

  • 01 Mildenhall
  • 05 McChrystal
  • 03 Brown
  • 02 Leadbitter Booked (Gosling - 67' )
  • 04 Lockyer
  • 06 Parkes
  • 23 Monkhouse (Clarke - 73' )
  • 24 Sinclair
  • 07 Mansell
  • 10 Taylor
  • 09 Brunt (White - 79' )

Substitutes

  • 08 Clarke
  • 11 Gosling
  • 14 White
  • 17 Harrison
  • 22 Preston

Grimsby Town

  • 01 McKeown
  • 12 Doig
  • 30 Boyce
  • 06 Magnay
  • 03 Thomas
  • 26 McLaughlin
  • 08 Disley
  • 07 Mackreth
  • 04 Brown
  • 14 John-Lewis
  • 17 Connell (Clay - 88' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Bignot
  • 15 Humble
  • 16 Clay
  • 25 Winfarrah
  • 27 Bemrose
Ref: Simon Bennett
Att: 7,019

Match Stats

Shots

11 7

On target

7 2

Corners

0 0

Fouls

11 11

Live Text Commentary

+6:00 Full time

Full Time Match ends, Bristol Rovers 0, Grimsby Town 0.

90:00 +5:00 Full time

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

90:00 +4:10

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

90:00 +3:06

Foul by Stuart Sinclair (Bristol Rovers).

90:00 +3:06

Carl Magnay (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

90:00 +1:36

Foul by Jamie White (Bristol Rovers).

90:00 +1:36

James McKeown (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

87:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Grimsby Town. Craig Clay replaces Alan Connell.

84:55

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

84:26

Corner, Bristol Rovers.

83:30

Foul by Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town).

83:30

Steve Mildenhall (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

82:44

Foul by Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town).

82:44

Lee Brown (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

80:38

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

78:54 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Bristol Rovers. Jamie White replaces Ryan Brunt.

77:03

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

76:32

Corner, Bristol Rovers.

75:32

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

73:39

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

72:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Bristol Rovers. Ollie Clarke replaces Andy Monkhouse.

72:18

Foul by Alan Connell (Grimsby Town).

72:18

Jake Gosling (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

70:38

Offside, Bristol Rovers. Matty Taylor tries a through ball, but Matty Taylor is caught offside.

70:01

Corner, Grimsby Town.

67:41

Attempt missed. Stuart Sinclair (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

66:04 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Bristol Rovers. Jake Gosling replaces Daniel Leadbitter because of an injury.

65:53

Offside, Bristol Rovers. Matty Taylor tries a through ball, but Matty Taylor is caught offside.

63:22

Attempt blocked. Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

61:57

Attempt missed. Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

61:43

Attempt saved. Craig Disley (Grimsby Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved. Assisted by Aswad Thomas with a cross.

61:13

Attempt blocked. Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

59:34

Foul by Ryan Brunt (Bristol Rovers).

59:34

Andrew Boyce (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

58:56

Attempt saved. Andy Monkhouse (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved.

58:22

Corner, Bristol Rovers.

58:01

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

55:35 Booking

Booking Daniel Leadbitter (Bristol Rovers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

55:16

Foul by Daniel Leadbitter (Bristol Rovers).

55:16

Aswad Thomas (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

54:29

Foul by Daniel Leadbitter (Bristol Rovers).

54:29

Patrick McLaughlin (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

50:59

Corner, Bristol Rovers.

47:29

Corner, Grimsby Town.

47:05

Attempt saved. Patrick McLaughlin (Grimsby Town) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved.

46:31

Foul by Andy Monkhouse (Bristol Rovers).

46:31

Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

45:00

Second Half begins Bristol Rovers 0, Grimsby Town 0.

45:00 +1:07 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Bristol Rovers 0, Grimsby Town 0.

40:04

Hand ball by Alan Connell (Grimsby Town).

37:41

Foul by Andy Monkhouse (Bristol Rovers).

37:41

Aswad Thomas (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

36:49

Corner, Bristol Rovers.

35:58

Foul by Scott Brown (Grimsby Town).

35:58

Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

33:54

Foul by Chris Doig (Grimsby Town).

33:54

Matty Taylor (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

28:34

Attempt missed. Stuart Sinclair (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lee Brown with a cross.

25:36

Foul by Andy Monkhouse (Bristol Rovers).

25:36

Scott Brown (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

23:18

Attempt saved. Mark McChrystal (Bristol Rovers) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved. Assisted by Lee Mansell.

22:40

Corner, Bristol Rovers.

19:24

Foul by Carl Magnay (Grimsby Town).

19:24

Stuart Sinclair (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

16:41

Foul by Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town).

16:41

Tom Parkes (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

16:11

Foul by Matty Taylor (Bristol Rovers).

16:11

Patrick McLaughlin (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

14:34

Corner, Grimsby Town.

14:19

Attempt blocked. Alan Connell (Grimsby Town) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James McKeown.

13:50

Attempt saved. Ryan Brunt (Bristol Rovers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved. Assisted by Andy Monkhouse with a cross.

9:42

Foul by Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town).

9:42

Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

5:44

Foul by Stuart Sinclair (Bristol Rovers).

5:44

Alan Connell (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

4:49

Foul by Lee Mansell (Bristol Rovers).

4:49

Lenell John-Lewis (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

3:17

Foul by Andrew Boyce (Grimsby Town).

3:17

Ryan Brunt (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

2:12

Foul by Scott Brown (Grimsby Town).

2:12

Andy Monkhouse (Bristol Rovers) wins a free kick.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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