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Grimsby fight back to seal EFL return with extra-time win over Solihull Moors | Vanarama National League

Jordan Maguire-Drew scored an extra-time winner as Grimsby Town secured an immediate return to the Football League with a dramatic National League play-off final win over Solihull Moors.

Solihull had been on course to reach League Two after taking the lead through Kyle Hudlin late in the first half. But Grimsby, who needed extra time to win their previous two play-off games against Notts County and Wrexham, dug deep again and levelled through John McAtee before Maguire-Drew snatched it late on.

Their winner came after a long throw-in from Jordan Cropper, who had caused confusion via that route from early on. Joe McDonnell needed to save after a throw took an awkward deflection off Hudlin in the opening minutes. Solihull soon settled and went close as Callum Howe headed narrowly wide from a corner and Max Crocombe saved superbly from a deflected Andrew Dallas shot.

Grimsby were frustrated as they had two penalty appeals turned down. Cropper first went down under a challenge from Callum Maycock as he shaped to shoot and McAtee then appeared to be caught by Kyle Storer as he teed up Gavan Holohan. Harry Clifton also spurned a great chance for the Mariners after being picked out by Erico Sousa at the far post.

Jordan Maguire-Drew (front, right) celebrates after firing Grimsby ahead in extra time.
Jordan Maguire-Drew (front, right) celebrates after firing Grimsby ahead in extra time. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Moors made the most of those reprieves to take the lead in first-half injury time. Harry Boyes played a nice ball into the box and Joe Sbarra stood up a cross to the far post from a Dallas lay-off. Hudlin timed his leap perfectly and planted home a firm header to give Solihull, only founded in 2007, the half-time lead.

Grimsby rallied after the break and Clifton almost diverted in a miscued Holohan shot before McAtee shot over. The equaliser came with just over 20 minutes remaining after Solihull gave the ball away and Andy Smith played in McAtee with a fine long ball. McAtee kept his composure and finished calmly with a low shot across goal.

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Solihull wanted a penalty after Dallas went down soon after the restart but nothing was given and McAtee almost snatched victory for Grimsby when he poked wide in the closing minutes of normal time.

The game remained stretched in extra time but the decisive blow came with eight minutes remaining when the unfortunate Dallas headed a Cropper throw into the path of Maguire-Drew and he tucked home.

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