April 28, 2021 11.00 am This story is over 15 months old

Grimsby relegated from Football League, Lincoln close in on play-offs

An eventful day of football for Lincolnshire clubs

Grimsby Town have been relegated from the English Football League with two games to spare, after a 3-2 defeat away to Exeter City on Tuesday.

The Mariners have been in and around the League Two relegation zone for the majority of the season, and their fate was sealed after the club’s 22nd league defeat of the season.

A dramatic game at St James Park saw Grimsby fall behind, go ahead, have a man sent off, and then concede an 89th minute winner to confirm relegation to the Vanarama National League.

It ends a run of five seasons in the EFL, having only managed to reach as high as 15th in the table all season in what was a turbulent campaign.

In December 2020, then manager Ian Holloway resigned via Twitter following rumours of a potential takeover at the club, as well as the links the current owner has with a convicted fraudster.

He was replaced by Paul Hurst, back for his second spell in charge, but he could not steer Grimsby to safety.

In January, they became the first club in the football league to be fined for breaching COVID-19 guidelines, after cancelling fixtures that could have gone ahead.

Tensions boiled over on April 10, when forward Stefan Payne was sent off for headhunting his own team mate, Filipe Morais, during a 1-0 defeat at Bradford City.

All this culminated in disappointing results on the pitch and now means the Mariners will play non-league football next season.

Elsewhere in Lincolnshire, Lincoln City tightened their grip on a League One play-off place with a 1-0 victory away at Shrewsbury Town.

Jorge Grant’s 16th goal of the season was enough to earn the Imps all three points, and leave Michael Appleton’s men needing just one point from their final three matches to confirm a spot in the play-offs.

It marked an incredible record for the Imps, who secured a 13th away league win of the season, a club record in the EFL.

Incredibly, Lincoln could still finish inside the top two and secure automatic promotion, but to do that they would have to win all three of their remaining games, including a crunch match with second placed Peterborough United this weekend, and hope Posh lose both of their matches too.

Scunthorpe United look set to remain in League Two after Grimsby’s relegation, as despite losing 4-0 to Newport County on Tuesday, the Iron find themselves six points clear of the drop zone with two games to go.