Hull City brushed rivals Grimsby Town aside in the Papa John's EFL Trophy, with Martin Samuelsen and James Scott grabbing the goals to seal a routine win for the home side. It could have been even more, with Samuelsen missing a penalty late on as he attempted to grab his first hat-trick, but James McKeown saved his effort for the score to remain 3-0.
Story of the match
Grimsby almost had the chance to take the lead with barely a minute gone, but Sean McLoughlin and Brandon Fleming managed to nullify Max Wright's chance of getting a shot away at George Long. Wright then went into the book after only three minutes, going in late on Dan Batty in the middle of the park in a frantic opening five minutes.
Batty in particular seemed to be the anchor in midfield, with much of Hull’s play coming through him. Lewie Coyle – returning from injury to Captain the side in the absence of Richie Smallwood – forced a corner after eight minutes, but it drifted over the waiting players and out for a goal kick, despite Tom Eaves’ best efforts.
A good turn from Eaves on 12 minutes almost put through Regan Slater, but the pass had too much weight on it and McKeown in the Grimsby goal tidied up easily. Grimsby started to put the pressure on slightly as the 15 minute mark passed, with a couple of opportunities to cross that weren't taken.
Callum Jones had a deflected shot that went out for a corner as Hull tried to grab an opener, but Batty's corner was easily cleared by the away defense. Eaves's header from Coyle's cross was goalward, but went well over to see the score remain goalless. Eaves was then harshly penalised on 21 minutes when he was adjudged to have fouled the Grimsby defender after a ball in behind that would have seen the striker through one-on-one with McKeown.
On 27 minutes, the Tigers were ahead. Eaves did superbly well to knock the ball down to Slater, who set up Samuelsen for a chance. He cut onto his left foot and curled a superb shot into the top corner to make it 1-0 to the home side.
It was 2-0 not long after, and it was Samuelsen who grabbed his second. Hakeeb Adelakun twisted and turned in the area, managing to loop the ball across for the Norwegian to nod home on the line. Grimsby felt as though the goal scorer was in and offside position, with McKeown in particular leading the protests. The linesman's flag, however, never came. It could have been three just moments later - Samuelsen nodded down for Eaves, but the ball bounced just too high for the Striker to get clean contact on his shot.
Adelakun was proving to be a menace down the left hand side, putting a superb ball in that Town managed to head clear for a corner. The winger then had a strike at goal himself on 40 minutes but skied his shot, with passing to Eaves looking the better option in that particular phase of play. At the other end, Sean Scannell had an opportunity to pull one back for Grimsby, but his shot went well over the bar and didn't trouble Long.
Eaves was in behind on the left hand side as three minutes of added time were announced, and it took a diving header to put his cross behind for a corner. The whistle went for half time with the Tigers looking in a comfortable position to qualify for the last 32 of the competition.
The second half saw Adelakun break through from the halfway line after only a minute, but his pass to put Eaves through was poor and the chance went begging. Samuelsen drew a foul on 50 minutes for Batty to chip into the area, but the linesman's flag was raised for offside as McLoughlin chipped towards goal.
A short corner saw Fleming fouled on the right hand side, with Batty taking it quickly to try and find Eaves on 53 minutes. Eaves's header though went well wide, and the big target man must have been wondering what he had to do to score. Superb defending from Alfie Jones denied substitute Owura Edwards the chance to shoot soon after, and Matt Green nearly sneaked one in at the near post from the resulting corner.
Thomas Mayer and James Scott came onto replace Hakeeb Adelakun and Tom Eaves, with the former almost scoring with his first touch and the latter almost assisting a hat trick for Samuelsen, who fired just wide on the hour mark. The substitutions saw the goalscorer go more central as he looked for his third. He almost had it after superb work from Mayer as his shot was blocked, and Mayer fired just over from the rebound as Hull looked to kill the game off.
Mayer looked in the mood to impress and he carved out chance after chance, this time for himself after a one-two with Jones. He was met with a challenge from McKeown who managed to steal the ball from his feet. With 20 minutes to go, it was Scott's turn to drive at the tiring Grimsby defense to win a corner, but the short routine yet again did not pay off with the away side clearing easily. Callum Jones was replaced by Max Sheaf as Grant McCann made his final change.
James Scott made it 3-0 in spectacular fashion with ten minutes to go, cutting in from the left hand side and bending a shot into the top corner that left McKeown helpless. Two minutes from time, it was Samuelson again who ghosted into the area before drawing a foul. He took the penalty himself, and McKeown saved it - much to the annoyance of Mayer who was desperate to take the penalty himself to get his first Hull City goal. As it was, the score remained at 3-0 and the Tigers now advance to the last 32 of the competition.
Takeaways from the match
Samuelsen shines as fringe players impress for the Tigers
Despite being fairly quiet for the first 20 minutes, Martin Samuelsen opened the scoring in spectacular fashion before grabbing a second soon after. The former West Ham United player could have bagged three or four, but showed some of the form that Hull City fans have come to expect from him. Dan Batty impressed in midfield, pulling the strings and switching play with ease as he starts to get back to form. All of those players who pulled on a Hull City shirt against Grimsby will have played their way into Grant McCann's plans, and will have given him a major selection headache ahead of the weekend game away at MK Dons.
Hapless Grimsby go down without a whimper
For how good Hull City were, Grimsby never really competed against their rivals and the difference in class really showed. Their only real chance came after a minute, with Wright almost put in one on one with Long, but they rarely troubled the City goal. McCann made 11 changes from their win over Burton, and it does show that Hull should be a side that now take the competition seriously with strength in depth all over the park.
A number of Hull City players shone - Batty and Callum Jones among them - but Martin Samuelsen will be the one who grabs the headlines. His first goal was exquisite and Grimsby just couldn't handle the young forward. With better finishing he could have sealed his hattrick, or maybe even more - his missed penalty didn't prove costly, but Mayer wanted to take it too and will be disappointed not to have had the chance to get on the scoresheet himself. The clinical element to Samuelsen's game must be something that improves quickly if he is to prove he is a first team regular.
Hull City: Long; Coyle, A Jones, McLoughlin, Fleming; C Jones, Slater, Batty; Adelakun, Samuelsen, Eaves.
Substitutes: Cartwright, Scott, Mayer, Arthur, Sheaf, Jacob, Chadwick.
Grimsby Town: McKeown; Ohman, Pollock, Waterfall, Preston, Rose, Spokes, Scannell, Wright, Bennett, Green.
Substitutes: Battersby, Idehen, Williams, Sisay, Edwards, Starbuck, Morton.