National League
Forest GreenForest Green Rovers1GrimsbyGrimsby Town3

Forest Green Rovers 1-3 Grimsby Town

By Tom GarryBBC Sport
Grimsby Town
Grimsby Town won the promotion final a year after losing on penalties to Bristol Rovers

Grimsby Town returned to the Football League after a six-year absence with victory over Forest Green Rovers in the National League promotion final.

Two quickfire Omar Bogle goals just before half-time gave Grimsby control.

Forest Green fought back after the break and Keanu Marsh-Brown's superb goal reduced their deficit after Jon Parkin had missed from six yards.

But Grimsby - playing in the play-offs for a fourth consecutive year - struck a late third through Nathan Arnold.

Paul Hurst's side, who lost to Bristol Rovers on penalties in last year's final, had seen Arnold's long-range strike tipped onto the post shortly before taking the lead at Wembley.

Bogle then glanced in Jon Nolan's free-kick via Rovers' Darren Carter's back to open the scoring, before volleying in from six yards on the rebound to double Grimsby's lead just one minute later.

Forest Green introduced substitute Parkin at half-time and the 34-year-old former Preston striker's presence changed the game.

Parkin could only hit the side netting from Forest Green's best chance, inside the six-yard box, before Marsh-Brown's sweet, dipping strike gave them hope.

But Forest Green, who had finished nine points above Grimsby in the league table, could not find an equaliser despite a spirited fightback.

Rovers, who sacked manager Ady Pennock one week before the start of their semi-final against Dover to "boost their chances in the play-offs", had set a fifth-tier record of nine consecutive wins to start the season, before being beaten to the league title by Cheltenham Town.

Having finished in their highest-ever league position in second, they were led at Wembley by caretaker boss Scott Bartlett, while next season's manager, Mark Cooper, offered guidance from the dugout.

But the Nailsworth club - who had hoped to make their home town the smallest settlement to ever host a Football League club - saw their promotion hopes dashed in the play-offs for the second year running.

Arnold, who had a low shot saved with 15 minutes to play, completed the win in stoppage time, tucking in on the rebound to end Forest Green's hopes of a late twist.

The promoted Mariners return to Wembley on 22 May for the FA Trophy final against FC Halifax.

Grimsby boss Paul Hurst told BBC Radio Humberside: "I'm quite relaxed. I feel quite calm. It's a fantastic achievement.

"Those players, rightly so, will go down in the club's history.

"It's far from job done yet - we want to make sure that we're a Football League club for a long time to come and, if possible, see if we can move the club even further forward."

Forest Green Rovers striker Jon Parkin told BBC Radio Gloucestershire: "It was just a mad five minutes in the first half that put us on the back foot.

"In the second half, we've come out and had a real go. (We had) a couple of chances, should have scored and it's a totally different game.

"But that's the difference - they took their chances, we didn't."


Forest Green

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Arnold
  • 6Bennett
  • 16Racine
  • 2Pipe
  • 27JeffordSubstituted forJenningsat 71'minutes
  • 4Clough
  • 9Marsh-Brown
  • 24CarterBooked at 41mins
  • 11Frear
  • 17GuthrieSubstituted forJeffreyat 77'minutes
  • 26WilliamsSubstituted forParkinat 45'minutes


  • 3Jennings
  • 7Jeffrey
  • 12Kamdjo
  • 20Parkin
  • 23Maxted


Formation 4-4-2

  • 1McKeown
  • 2Tait
  • 22Nsiala
  • 8Disley
  • 3Robertson
  • 6Gowling
  • 20ArnoldSubstituted forPearsonat 90+6'minutes
  • 31Nolan
  • 16Clay
  • 9BogleSubstituted forHobanat 89'minutes
  • 10AmondSubstituted forPittmanat 80'minutes


  • 5Pearson
  • 14Marshall
  • 18Pittman
  • 23East
  • 35Hoban
Robert Jones

Match Stats

Home TeamForest GreenAway TeamGrimsby
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Forest Green Rovers 1, Grimsby Town 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Forest Green Rovers 1, Grimsby Town 3.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Grimsby Town. Shaun Pearson replaces Nathan Arnold.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Forest Green Rovers 1, Grimsby Town 3. Nathan Arnold (Grimsby Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Pat Hoban.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Pat Hoban (Grimsby Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Pat Hoban (Grimsby Town).

  7. Post update

    Aarran Racine (Forest Green Rovers) wins a free kick.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Keanu Marsh-Brown (Forest Green Rovers).

  9. Post update

    Jon Nolan (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jon Parkin (Forest Green Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Anthony Jeffrey (Forest Green Rovers).

  12. Post update

    Jon Nolan (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

  13. Post update

    Hand ball by James Jennings (Forest Green Rovers).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Grimsby Town. Pat Hoban replaces Omar Bogle.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Anthony Jeffrey (Forest Green Rovers).

  16. Post update

    Craig Disley (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Aarran Racine (Forest Green Rovers).

  18. Post update

    Richard Tait (Grimsby Town) wins a free kick.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Forest Green Rovers.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Grimsby Town. Jon-Paul Pittman replaces Padraig Amond.

As It Stood

2Forest Green462611969422789
13Lincoln City461613176968161
19Boreham Wood461214204449-550
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