REPORTS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
Football First match report:
By Geoff Ford
transcribed by Carole
French midfielder proves Grimsby's danger man:
BANK holiday sunshine may have brought thousands of day-trippers to Cleethorpes, but few teams will relish a trip to Blundell Park this season if Grimsby Town maintain their impressive early form.
A heady mix of fast attacking play and insightful passing saw the Mariners see off Mansfield, with an early Thomas Pinault strike getting them on their way.
Fed on the edge of the penalty area, John McDermott corner, he drilled a low shot into the back of the net via the foot of the near post within just five minutes.
The French midfielder's third goal of the campaign was nearly followed up by Andy Parkinson seconds later. Michael Reddy squared across the six-yard box only for Kevin Pilkington to save well from point blank range.
Reddy and Ashley Sastanavich probed well, and the visitors were restricted to the odd chance on their counter attack. Derek Asamoah should have done better with a weak header, and Anthony Williams in the home goal saved easily when Colin Larkin found himself one on one.
Four Mansfield players entered the referees book within 30 minutes as they tried to fight their way back into the match either side of half-time, and it took the home side until the 86th minutes to secure the win.
Full-back Jason Crowe beat the off-side trap and finished confidently after Parkinson put him through.
Grimsby Town manager Russell Slade has warned his players to expect regular battles at Blundell Park if they are to instill a fortress mentality.
Three successive home wins have given the relegated side a sound foundation to build on as they look to make a swift return to League One.
An early strike by Pinault put the Mariners ahead after five minutes. He drill a low shot from 20 yards after receiving the ball from a John McDermott corner. Slade said: “I thought we got off to a very good start. It was nice to get an early goal especially with such a busy programme this week.
“We didn't play as well as I would have liked but Mansfield came here to stop us playing. Fortunately we were mentally strong enough and we deservedly got the second goal which sewed it up at the end.”
Mansfield Town assistant manager John Gannon was shocked by his side's inability to hit the target. He also saw the danger of Thomas Pinault seconds before he struck the first goal.
He said: “We got off to a terrible start. Pinault, who had the shot, normally takes the corners. I could see the danger, but they couldn't hear me out there.
“Teams use set plays as a ploy and you have got to be aware and expect the unexpected. We didn't.”
The Stags caught Grimsby too far up the field on a couple of occasions with Colin Larkin and Derek Asamoah both guilty of missing guilt-edged chances.
Gannon said: “I thought we picked ourselves up, pushed on and had five excellent chances in the first half, yet we couldn't take one. We worked on shooting, last week it worked and this week it didn't.”
Grimsby Town………Mansfield Town
50-----------Possession %---- 50
7------------Shots on Target----4
3------------Shots off Target---6
Match stats (Mariners/Stags)
10 Goal Attempts 9
3 On Target 2
7 Off Target 7
0 Hit Woodwork 0
7 Offsides 3
8 Corners 1
10 Fouls 15
Stags sunk by the Mariners
MANSFIELD Town failed to make it three wins in a row when they crashed 2-0 at Grimsby Town this afternoon.
For the second successive game, Stags gave themselves a mountain to climb by conceding an early goal.
And all three Stags strikers wasted chances before the Mariners wrapped up the points on the counter-attack four minutes from time.
"It was a horrible start again and it sets you back," said assistant manager John Gannon.
"We switched off and it cost us a goal. You have to be on your toes and expect the unexpected.
"It's always hard when you are chasing the game and leaving yourself open at the back.
"There wasn't much between the teams today but they took their chances and we didn't - they were decisive moments.
"We are glad we have the Yeovil match coming up so soon on Monday as it gives us a quick chance to put things right."
The only change in the Mansfield line-up came at left back where Jake Buxton was replaced by Lee Williamson.
Stags made a dreadful start, going behind after only four minutes.
McDermott pulled the Mariners' first corner back to the incoming Pinault whose low 20-yard shot took a deflection which left Pilkington helpless as it found the net.
The home side should have been 2-0 up two minutes later when Reddy squared the ball to Parkinson from the right. In front of goal with only the keeper to beat, Parkinson was foiled by a great reaction save from Pilkington.
Stags then almost carved out an equaliser on eight minutes. MacKenzie's pass looked too long for Larkin down the right. But the striker did well to reach it and send over a good cross which O'Neill met with a rising shot from 12 yards that screamed over the bar.
Sestanovich was also too high at the other end as he tried to catch Pilkington napping from 25 yards.
Another flowing Grimsby move ended with Pinault blazing the ball well over from 20 yards while Pilkington was down bravely at Crowe's feet a minute later.
The home fans were furious when first Artell and then Williamson escaped yellow cards for rash challenges.
Mansfield forced a save out of home keeper Williams on 29 minutes when Asamoah got a glancing header onto an Artell cross which threatened to creep inside the far post.
Murray was shown the yellow card on 32 minutes after Pinault won the ball from him only be felled by the Stags midfielder as he laid it forward.
Larkin should have levelled the scores on 34 minutes as he skipped through a square defence to go clear. But he tried to chip Williams too early as he went inside the box and ended up just gifting the ball into the keeper's hands.
The game began to boil over as Murray left another Grimsby player on the grass after a tackle only to be chopped down himself by Fleming.
Mansfield enjoyed some good possession as half-time approached.
And on 43 minutes MacKenzie's long ball sent Asamoah on a run which saw him cut inside a defender before sending a low shot that lacked any venom straight at Williams.
Soon after a Murray ball sent Larkin away down the right but, as he got into the box he sliced his shot horribly wide.
O'Neill was booked in stoppage time for showing his studs on a late tackle on Gordon.
And Artell still found time to join him for flattening Reddy.
The half ended in uproar as the whistle was greeted with both sets of players converging and jostling.
Stags were roundly booed off the park by the home fans, furious at Mansfield's physical approach.
Artell was fortunate not to be dismissed two minutes after the break for a challenge that abruptly halted Sestanovich's progress.
At the other end Asamoah shot tamely wide a minute later.
Williamson was left in agony on the turf after an attempted tackle. He eventually rejoined the action after lengthy treatment.
Mansfield were relieved to see an offside flag raised as Parkinson nipped clear.
On 53 minutes Reddy went on a strong run from halfway. But Curtis stayed hot on his heels, getting away with a couple of tugs, and finally blocking his attempted finish for a corner.
A promising run by Asamoah saw him halted by Whittle's tackle. The ball ran loose towards Curtis and he blasted wide first time from 20 yards.
Grimsby threatened again as Parkinson ran at the defence from the left and, having got into the box, sent a low shot towards the near post which Pilkington turned round for a corner.
John-Baptiste was booked for bringing down Sestanovich just outside the box. But Pinault's free kick was deflected over for a corner.
Curle made a double substitution on 63 minutes with Tate on for O'Neill and MacKenzie replaced by Neil.
Reddy went sprawling in the box as Artell leaned on him. But the referee was unimpressed.
The Mariners won their fifth corner of the half which saw substitute Young head inches wide of the far post.
On 70 minutes Sestanovich made a superb run forward, shrugging off challenges before slipping Reddy into space. But Artell produced a perfect saving tackle which, had he misjudged it, would have cost Stags a penalty.
A neat through ball from Tate on 76 minutes gave Asamoah sight of goal, but his finish was poor and wide.
Murray then headed a long McNiven cross straight at Williams.
Corden was thrown on in place of Williamson seven minutes from time.
But Grimsby found their killer blow thre minutes later.
Stags were having to push forward and were stung by a swift counter-attack as Parkinson slipped Crowe through the middle and he coolly finished low to Pilkington's right to seal the points.
Grimsby Town 2 Mansfield 0
By Rob Sedgwick
A battling performance this afternoon saw Town beat Mansfield 2-0 at Blundell Park to secure three valuable points and keep their first League clean sheet of the season. Goals by Thomas Pinault at the start of the game, and Jason Crowe at the end were enough to see off the Stags.
Despite the injury worries ahead of the game, Russell Slade was able to name an unchanged starting XI, although Simon Ramsden played despite still suffering from a neck injury. Even Greg Young was fit enough to be able to make the bench.
Town started brightly and went ahead in only the fifth minute when a low shot by Pinault from a corner appeared to take a slight deflection before heading goalwards.
Mansfield gradually got into the game as the half developed, and top striker Colin Larkin failed to make the most of two opportunities that fell to him - the first was blocked by Williams, and the second went wide.
An ill-tempered first half saw three Mansfield players booked, and ended with an altercation centred upon Reddy and Artell after the whistle had blown, although the referee appeared to take no action.
In the second half Mansfield had a lot of possession but the better chances fell to Town. Shots by Reddy and Parkinson were both well-saved by Pilkington early in the second half. Greg Young also had a free header from a corner which he headed wide later on.
Ramsden finally made way for Greg Young on 55 mins as the pain got too much for the former Hull defender.
Finally Jason Crowe secured the win for Town with just four minutes on the clock. The former Pompey defender was set through by Parkinson in the box, with just the 'keeper to beat - and scored his first ever goal for the Mariners.
Town now have to turn their attention to the away game at Wycombe in just 2 days time. The Mariners have been desperately unlucky to lose both away games this season, in which they have also failed to score, but two good wins this week should give their confidence a boost and hopefully see Town break their away duck for the campaign.
Grimsby made it two home wins out of two as they finished off a good week's work.
After seeing off Wigan in the Carling Cup in midweek they were comfortable winners against a Mansfield side tipped by many to be favourites for automatic promotion this season.
But they way Grimsby are playing they should be up there themselves once they start picking up points away from home.
At Blundell Park sides are going to find it difficult to pick up anything, for apart from Boston who gained a 1-1 draw, Bury and now Mansfield have fallen to the Mariners.
Grimsby made the best possible start albeit with a large slice of good fortune.
Their fifth minute corner taken by John McDermott was played back to French midfielder Thomas Pinault whose shot from outside the box took a deflection before nestling in the back of the net.
Striker Andy Parkinson ought to have made it two a couple of minutes later but his close-range shot was blocked by Mansfield keeper Kevin Pilkington.
The visitors came back and proceeded to miss some good chances before losing their heads before half time when they had three players cautioned.
Grimsby were the better side in the second half but at 1-0 there was always the chance that Mansfield could equalise.
The home side needed a second goal but it did not arrive until four minutes from time.
By throwing men forward Mansfield were caught out at the back, and when Parkinson knocked a glorious ball through, wing-back Jason Crowe ran almost half the length of the field to score his first goal for the club.
Grimsby Town Official Site
Town 2 - 0 Mansfield
Town won their first corner after three and a half minutes, and took the lead with a well-worked corner. McDermott took the corner short to Pinault, who strode to the edge of the box and smashed the ball in via a deflection. 3:56
Two minutes later it took a fantastic save from Pilkington to prevent Town going further ahead after a brilliant shot from Sandy Parkinson. The ball was cleared to the Town end immediately and this time Mansfield could have equalised but for some excellent defensive work by Ramsden. Then Mansfield missed a second chance a minute later.
It was end to end fare for the Bank Holiday weekend crowd with chances coming thick and fast at both ends.
Parkinson and Sestanovich went up with a great run from Dean Gordon, and when he received the ball 'Stan' shot over.
Crowe picked up the ball as Reddy let it run, but when the ball came in from Sestanovich it was disappointing. Parkinson then got on the end of Crowe's long pass, and after good work from Macca Pinault blasted over the stand.
When Sestanovich threaded the ball through to Crowe, his first touch let him down and the keeper was able to collect.
Whittle was caught late by Asamoah, for Town to gain a free-kick as the mid=point of the first half was reached.
Then McDermott was whacked by Williamson in the chest, and had to leave the field to recover. The stoppages just disrupted the game a little.
Williams had to bring out a smart save as Asamoah headed goalwards.
Murray was late on Pinault, and ended up in Mr Tanner's book for his trouble.
Williamson put in a decent-looking cross, but it defeated everyone and went out to safety.
Larkin had a great chance with a one-on-one but Williams was in just the right place and came out on top.
Sestanovich was taken out, and Fleming then went in hard and much to the disappointment of the Town fans was given a long talking-to by the referee as Sestanovich lay prone on the grass.
When Reddy was taken down, Town won a free kick but the Nottinghamshire side were not taking any prisoners.
McDermott and Pinault were over the ball, and as Macca left Pinault hit the ball goalwards and Pilkington took it at the second attempt.
With five minutes left, the Stags kept possession and Town were struggling to get hold of the ball without giving the Nottinghamshire side any real chances.
Pinault, Sestanovich and Gordon looked for an opening, and when Mansfield gained possession Asamoah wasted the opportunity.
Asamoah gave Town another free-kick as he went in hard again, though Town made nothing of the chance.
When Dean Gordon made a mistake, Larkin got the wrong side of him and wasted his chance.
Reddy got a terrific whack in the back from an elbow and O'Neill went into the referee's book.
There was an altercation off the ball after the whistle had gone for half-time between Reddy and a Mansfield player, but it looked as though the referee took no action.
Half-time: Town 1 - 0 Mansfield
There were no substitutions for either side after half-time.
Reddy headed on and chased the ball himself, but McNiven tidied up before Reddy could capitalise.
After two and a half minutes Asaboah had a shot which didn't trouble Williams at all.
McDermott got past his man and Reddy went to the bye-line before pulling the ball back, though Town couldn't make the cross count. Williamson had challenged Macca in this attack and had gone down with a twisted knee. There was a lengthy stoppage before the Mansfield player struggled off the pitch.
Town had the ball in the back of the net after 51 minutes, through Parkinson, but he had already been given offside.
With 53 minutes Reddy went on his own, and with Crowe calling for the ball, the former Sunderland man tried to finish it off on his own, and his shot was deflected into the side netting.
Ramsden was struggling following a strong tackle, and he was replaced after 54 minutes by Greg Young.
After 13 minutes Town made a rare sortie upfield, and with Andy Parkinson closing on goal, his shot was diverted past the post. Paerkinson floated the ball in and with Whittle closing the ball was headed out for a second Town corner in quick succession, but Mansfield cleared, only for Sestanovich to race down the middle and be brought down on the edge of the box by Williamson who became Mansfield's fourth booking.
Pinault curled the ball in but it was deflected for a corner.
A well-worked corner saw the ball threaded over for Young who was just beaten to the ball.
Mansfield brought on Tait and Neil, for O'Neill and MacKenzie.
Reddy was barged off the ball by Artell, but the referee lectured the Town man. Town's three front men then combined to make an opportunity only to see McNiven clear the ball out for another Town corner, and this time Greg Young headed Pinault's kick wide.
Williams then had to come to save Town's lead.
Sestanovich did all the work and put in Reddy who showed a bit too much - earning a corner instead of a second Town goal.
Reddy played the ball over, but Mansfield cleared, and Whittle somehow appeared in the Mansfield box, earning yet another Town corner, and with plenty of Town possession Mansfield cleared the ball.
A rare Mansfield corner was cleared by Dean Gordon.
Some of Town's players were beginning to look a little tired, though Mansfield didn't seem able to punish the Mariners defence.
Murray, Curtis and McNiven combined but the eventual cross was easily collected by Williams.
After 80 minutes, Sestanovich was replaced by Coldicott.
Corden replaced Williamson for the Stags with just 7 minutes to go.
When Corden ran down the left wing, his cross was well held by Williams.
84:57 Jason Crowe was put through one on one by Parkinson and made no mistake to double Town's advantage. It was Crowe's first goal for the Mariners.
Mansaram replaced Michael Reddy with 90 seconds of normal time left.
Pinault was injured as time ran out, with a whack on his shin.
The fourth official indicated 3 minutes of added time.
Mansaram held the ball up well to see the time tick down to the final whistle, though the second goal had killed the match.
Full-time: Town 2 - 0 Mansfield
Town: Williams, McDermott, Ramsden, Whittle, Sestanovich, Crowe, Parkinson, Fleming, Pinault, Gordon, Reddy
Subs: Young, Coldicott, Mansaram, Marcelle, Bull
Mansfield: Pilkington, McNiven, Williamson, McKenzie, O'Neill, Curtis, John-Baptiste, Larkin, Artell, Asamoah, Murray
Subs: White, Day, Corden, Neil, Tate
Latest | August 2004