BRILLIANT STAGS DENIED BY CONTROVERSIAL GOAL
Grimsby 1 - 1 Mansfield
Bore 73. Hamshaw 51.
Unbeaten Stags can't finish off the Mariners
MANSFIELD Town stretched their unbeaten start to the season to four games with an excellent 1-1 draw at Grimsby Town tonight.
But it truth the Stags should have returned home with all three points after taking a deserved 51st minute lead and spurning a string of great chances to have put the game beyond the home side.
Instead they were stung by a 73rd minute equaliser by Peter Bore to give the home side a point they probably didn't deserve over the 90 minutes.
The Mariners looked well short of the calibre of last year's team that reached the play-offs while Stags again hinted that they could yet have a season to remember.
Stags made one change with Buxton replacing the injured Hjelde (hamstring) in the centre of defence - his first start of the season.
Grimsby had defender McIntosh making his debut after signing on a month's loan from Huddersfield.
Home keeper Barnes safely gathered a dangerous low Hamshaw cross at his near post in the fifth minute while Bore dragged a shot well wide at the other end seconds later.
Grimsby defended another dangerous Hamshaw cross by conceding a corner which they eventually managed to clear.
Barnes failed to deal with a Mullins cross and was lucky he was able to push it away at the second attempt after failing to hold it.
Buxton did well to police Rankine in the box and block his shot and soon after Boulding was wide of the far post with a left foot effort from 18 yards.
Grimsby survived another spell of pressure after struggling to clear the visitors' second corner and Stags could be well pleased with their first 15 minutes' work.
Barker was frustrated by a second very late offside flag if the evening when he looked to be in on goal.
Then Barnes had to grab a Brown shot from a tight angle after the ball had reached him from a long Jelleyman cross.
But having done little in attack, the home side almost snatched a 21st minute lead when Rankine held off John-Baptiste to set up Bolland for a rising drive that thankfully deflected over for the first of two home corners.
Two minutes later Stags wasted an even better chance as Barker guided his header well wide from only six yards from Boulding's left wing cross.
Bore headed well over from the Mariners' third corner.
But it was the visitors who continued ti impress and Hamshaw's right wing cross on 38 minutes was controlled by D'Laryea in the box before teeing up Jelleyman for a ferocious strike that Barnes did well to tip over.
There were cruel cheers from both sets of fans as a John-Baptiste clearance struck referee Mr Olivier in the head and knocked him over as the break approached.
Barker came much closer in first half stoppage time as, under pressure, he just managed to get a head onto a Boulding cross and the ball just dropped the wrong side of the post.
But Mansfield went in al square and pleased with their first half display.
After an early burst of home pressure Stags were soon on top again and causing problems at the other end.
And they finally took a deserved lead on 51 minutes. Boulding put the ball int the box from the left and the ball eventually found Hamshaw who made space for himself before drilling home a superb low finish.
Stags fans were still celebrating when Brown found the net again a minute later from a through ball but the offside flag was already raised.
The game was now alight and Brown's deflected shot saw the ball spin into the path of Barker right in front of goal where Barnes had to smother his close prod.
That chance sparked a frantic spell of Grimsby pressure at the other end where Muggleton was the hero on 58 as Beagrie's clever through ball put Newey in on goal with the keeper to beat only to see Muggleton make a brilliant block.
Buxton cleared a corner from right in front of goal after Muggleton was unable to get neat it and the home side also had a couple of hopeful pot shots from outside the box
Birchall replaced Boulding down the Mansfield left on 62 minutes. And two minutes later Jelleyman was booked for a late tackle on Bore.
Brown was warned by the referee for remonstrating with the linesman over an offside decision and soon after left the field to be replaced by Reet. At the same time McDermott was replaced by Croft for the Mariners.
But Grimsby levelled things up on 73 minutes. Newey launched a long cross to the back post where Bore headed powerfully at goal. The ball hit the underside of the bar and dropped down to be cleared. But it was ruled the ball had crossed the line and Bore celebrated in the arms of the club mascot before limping off with a knock to be replaced by Harkins.
Rankine was then too high with a header from Croft's forward ball and alarm bells were starting to ring for the visitors with 14 minutes still to play.
However Stags had another great chance on 78 as the home defence were caught square and pushing up to halfway by Mullins' quick forward return ball and Barker was suddenly in on goal. But just as he pulled his foot back to finish, Newey appeared from nowhere with a brilliant saving tackle in front of goal.
Barnes then had to get down smartly on 81 to parry a 20 yard blast from Dawson after he was afforded too much space just outside the box.
Another scramble in the home box ended with Hamshaw lofting a tame finish straight at Barnes.
Grimsby threw centre half Futcher on up front for striker Jones for the last two minutes.
Muggleton punched clear a Grimsby corner in the 90th minute as the board was raised to show three extra minutes to play.
But it was left to Stags to miss yet another great chance with the last kick of the game as Hamshaw lifted a great ball over the top to put Dawson into a one on one situation. He looked a certain scorer and the away bench were up celebrating before watching in horror as the ball dropped the wrong side of the post.
MANSFIELD FAIL TO SINK MARINERS
Evening Post report
It was a moment that summed up the game. Stephen Dawson fired an injury-time effort agonizingly wide as Mansfield had to settle for a point at last season's play-off finalists Grimsby.
The midfielder sprung into the Mariners' box in the 93rd minute with only goalkeeper Phil Barnes to beat as he looked certain to seal a notable win for Peter Shirtliff's men.
But he was left clutching his head as his lofted shot dropped the wrong side of the post as Grimsby were handed an extraordinary reprieve.
It says much about the strides Mansfield have made that a draw at somewhere like Blundell Park is greeted with a sense of disappointment.
But in truth the Stags should have had the game wrapped up long before Dawson's errant shot.
Taking a second-half lead through Matt Hamshaw - his third of the season - they were pegged back by a disputed goal from Peter Bore. But the visitors saw a host of chances go begging, with last season's leading scorer Ritchie Barker as guilty as anyone for failing to put Mansfield in an unassailable position.
Shirtliff clearly sent his side out with the intention of inflicting more misery on Grimsby who have had a stuttering start to the campaign having lost two before last night.
Despite the visitors' dominance, it was still Grimsby who had the best opening, through Paul Bolland, who was denied by 37-year-old keeper Carl Muggleton, who looked as sprightly as a teenager as he rushed off his line to turn the midfielder's shot over the bar.
At the other end Mansfield still looked dangerous and Barker will have disappointed with his finishing when meeting Gareth Jellyman's cross.
The usually-deadly striker created a yard of space to leave himself with a free header, but got his effort all wrong as the ball sailed acres wide.
For all Mansfield's pressure, they still hadn't worked Barnes as the half neared a close. That was until Jellyman stung his fingertips with a shot from 20 yards that the keeper had to push over as it headed towards the top corner.
It was a thunderous effort, but paled in comparison to an Alex Baptiste clearance moments later that floored referee Ray Oliver when crashing off the back of his head.
The official dropped like he'd been caught with a hook from Mike Tyson as his knees buckled and he hit the deck face first to the delight of the crowd.
Fortunately he was soon on his feet with help of Hamshaw.
It didn't take long after the break for the visitors' pressure to pay off when Hamshaw broke the deadlock in the 51st minute.
The wings had always looked Mansfield's most likely route to goal and so it proved when Michael Boulding worked his way down the left.
His original cross was heading towards Brown on the edge of the box. The striker couldn't bring the ball under control, but helped it on and Grimsby heads turned to see Hamshaw had ghosted his way into the area and was all alone to spin and drive his shot past Barnes.
It was as much as Mansfield had deserved after watching a number of chances go begging in the first half and suggested they wouldn't be made to pay for their profligacy.
Indeed, they had the ball in the net again moments later when Brown raced clear to fire past Barnes only to have his celebrations cut short by a wave of the assistant's flag.
Tenuous the lead may have been, but as ever to their credit Mansfield were not content to sit back and invite pressure.
Shirtliff's decision to bring on forwards Adam Birchall and Danny Reet was evidence that he saw attack as the best form of defence.
It made for an open encounter as both sides took turns launch attack after attack, but it was Mansfield whose guard was breached, albeit in questionable circumstances.
A Newey cross from the left reached Bore at the far post who powered a header against the underside of the bar.
Initially Mansfield thought they'd been handed a reprieve only for the assistant to award the goal.
Again it failed crush the visitors' spirits who immediately went about trying to regain the lead.
When Barker chased down a Hamshaw ball with only the keeper to beat it looked like parity would be short-lived. But just as he was steadying himself for the shot he was frustrated by a superb recovering tackle from Newey.
There was still time for Dawson to secure the three points with the penultimate kick of the match - only to let Grimsby off the hook.
New signing Martin McIntosh went straight into the side, replacing Ben Futcher at the heart of the Town defence. Michael Reddy is also missing from the starting line-up due to a reccurence of an old injury.
Tonights teams are as follows;
Mariners: Barnes, McDermott, Newey, Whittle, McIntosh, Toner, Bolland, Rankin, Jones, Bore, Beagrie - Subs: North, Croft, Harkins, Futcher, Murray.
Mansfield Town: Muggleton, Mullins, Jellyman, D'Laryea, Baptiste, Hamshaw, Dawson, Barker, Brown, Boulding, Buxton - Subs: White, Beardsley, Lloyd, Birchall, Reet.
A few early exchanges in the first five minutes, Mansfield looking the more attacking side.
After 7 minutes the first chance, and it falls to Mansfield, a good ball played across the face of the Mariners goal needed just a touch.
10 minutes so far, fairly even with posession, but no real Town chances to speak of.
A lucky escape, another low ball played across from the right, and this time Barnes fumbles his catch, scooping it away from danger with his trailing leg.
After 14 minutes, a Mansfield corner is well headed away by debutant McIntosh, but still Mansfield are pressing the Mariners into their own half.
A Mansfield free-kick on 17 minutes is well headed away by McIntosh, and finally cleared by Ciaran Toner.
20 minutes gone, the first real chance, a brilliant move made by the midfield and a through ball played into the path of Bolland, the shot deflected for a corner. The Mariners are now starting to hustle Mansfield.
The continuously booed Boulding crosses in is headed wide by barker, the match nearing the quarter mark.
After 26 minutes, a Beagrie cross is headed wide for a corner, the corner is then headed over by Whittle.
Half an hour now gone, and after the early Mansfield pressure, Town are making more of a game of it now.
33 minutes, and a Whittle defensive header from a Mansfield long ball rattles the roof of the Main Stand after travelling 30 yards.
Mariners now retaining the majority of the posession, Beagries cross is covered by Muggleton.
After 37 minutes, a lomg range Mansfield shot is tipped over the bar by Barnes, from the resulting corner Barnes catches it well in a crowd of players.
38 minutes, Mariners still on the attack, a Beagrie cross from the left side hits the referee in the back of the head, resulting in a Mariners throwing, and the referee a little worse for wear, on his bottom. Much to the delight of the fans.
Halt time the game is fairly wide open though the majority of the posession is being retained by Grimsby, the more clearer chances have been from Mansfield, but an ever growing in confidence Barnes looks as if he can keep them at bay. If Mariners continue this free flowing football in the second half, the breakthrough shouldn't be to far away. Debutant Martin McIntosh looks as if he will be a very good aquisition for Rodgers side.
50 minutes, Mansfield goal, Matthew Hamshaw, puts Mansfield into the lead.
51 minutes, Brown has an effort ruled out for offiside, Town are up against it at the moment.
57 minutes, Neweys shot is well saved, after been put through by Beagrie.
58 mins, Bore runs rings round his full back, slides it through for Bolland, and his shot is deflected for a corner. It results in Beagrie crossing another from open play, and Mansfield going on the break, earning themselves a free kick on the half way line.
60 mins, a long range effort from Peter Bore flys just wide of the goal, Muggleton had it covered, Town are starting to come to life.
On 61 minutes, Michael Boulding has been replaced by substitute Adam Birchall.
62 minutes, first caution of the night, Gareth Jellyman fouls Peter Bore on the right side, the resulting free kick is headed just wide.
Bore is causing Mansfield real problems, earning the Mariners a corner on the 65th minute. Mansfield clear it with comfort.
Approaching the 70th minute, Town are pushing for the equaliser, but Mansfield are finding ways to cope with the Mariners assaults.
Mansfield Substitution, replacing Number 10, Simon Brown, is Number 31, Danny Reet.
Grimsby Substitution, replacing John McDermott, is Gary Croft.
Equaliser found on the 72nd minute. A well worked move down the left side, crossed in by Newey, and headed home by Peter Bore! Game on!
And on the 73rd minute, Gary Harkins replaces Peter Bore.
76 minutes, Barker breaks through, and almost when it seems he has a clear chance at goal, a superb Newey challenge means the ball slowly travels towards Barnes.
78 minutes, Mansfield earn themselves a corner, eventually cleared for a Mansfield throwing within the Mariners half.
Barnes recovers from a handling error to take the ball from the feet of Barker, penalty claims waved away by the referee. Barnes then makes a great save from a long range Dawson effort. There is life in Mansfield yet.
A Gary Croft long ball results in Rankins shot being charged down well by Alex Baptiste.
Substitution for the Mariners, replacing Gary Jones, is Ben Futcher, who looks set to add height to the Mariners forward line.
88 minutes, a Mariners free kick seems to be too long on the far post, but the long leg of Futcher pull its back, resulting in a Town corner.
On the 90th minute, Stephen Dawson appears to have the chance to put Mansfield in the lead, and misses from 10 yards when it looked easier to score.
Tonights Man of the Match is Paul Bolland, as chosen by match sponsors Jackson Builders, his kit sponsors are Scammell & Braithwaite Solicitors.
A well played match, yet again, a goal needed to spur the Mariners into action. The next match, tuesday against Crewe Alexandra in the Carling Cup, on current form, many may be doubtful that the Mariners can pull it off, but previous results in this cup, 1-0 against Wigan, 1-0 away at Derby, and the infamous 1-0 win over Premiership Tottenham, you can never rule the lads out of pulling off another 'shock' victory. See you there!
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