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Eastleigh vs Grimsby Town. National League.

Silverlake StadiumAttendance3,251.

Eastleigh 1

  • Y Odubade (62nd minute)

Grimsby Town 2

  • N Arnold (3rd minute, 72nd minute)

Eastleigh 1-2 Grimsby: Mariners set sail in play-offs through two Nathan Arnold stunners

Nathan Arnold celebrates his first of two goals
Image: Nathan Arnold: Celebrates his first of two goals

Nathan Arnold scored two stunning goals to give Grimsby a 2-1 victory at Eastleigh in the Conference play-off semi-finals.

The 27-year-old striker, on loan from League Two Cambridge, stunned Ten Acres just three minutes into the match with a looping volley over keeper Ross Flitney from 20 yards out.

And then he volleyed home the winner, also from the edge of the box, on 72 minutes after Yemi Odubade's header had equalised 10 minutes prior.

Arnold was a handful all night for the hosts, and wriggled away from his marker to smash in the opener and set the tone for the night.

He forced Flitney into a good save shortly afterwards and the visitors went close to doubling their lead before half-time when James Constable was put through but snatched a close-range shot against the post.

Both sides struggled to create clear chances in the second half but Odubade gave Eastleigh hope just after the hour-mark with a firm header past James McKeown.

The hosts piled on the pressure in search of a second equaliser at the death but Arnold's explosive finish with 18 minutes left prove to be the winner.

The second leg at Blundell Park is on Sunday (3.30pm kick-off), with the winners facing either Bristol Rovers or Forest Green in the final at Wembley on Sunday 17 May.

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