STAGS EDGED OUT BY IN-FORM GRIMSBY
Mansfield 1 - 2 Grimsby
Boulding 30. Bolland 42, North 83.
Att 4033 (1338 from Grimsby)
The Stags were beaten by in-form Grimsby at Field Mill this afternoon, despite taking the lead through Michael Boulding. This was Grimsby's first League victory at Field Mill since 1956. The Stags remain 8 points above the relegation zone with games against MK Dons, Wycombe and Lincoln coming up.
Interaction in Mansfield
By Andrew Doherty, electronicfishcake.com
"THIS is what they don't see down south. I like this" commented a colleague from Stockport to me once as one grey day we passed through the middle of Appleby Frodingham steelworks.
He'd have been in poetic raptures if he'd seen Mansfield. It's everything a northerner could dream of. No frills, no fuss and no sign of life, duck. Just a lot of anonymous retail outlets with grey skies as the backdrop. A couple of days ago in London, I'd seen a sign on a shop front advertising "hair systems". I worked out this was a barber's shop. None of this stuff and nonsense in Mansfield. Here it's called a barber's shop. The weather was grey, cold, wet and windy. From my experience this is a normal day round these parts.
The Mansfield Town FC web site advertises a pub, situated next to an electrical retailer, which encourages "friendly interaction" between fans. The bar I found in the town centre afforded similar interaction and the chance to have something to eat and discuss the ballet, the price of beer and more importantly today's game before venturing back into the grey world, where the impressive West Stand stood high and proud in the background, a landmark of North Nottinghamshire, making us wonder at the same time which retail outlets surround the Bernabeu and San Siro stadiums.
In spite of the less than ambient surroundings, we have reason for optimism. 10 goals in two games, yet uncertainty still remains and we're very much in trouble. This will not have been lost on Field Marshal Buckley. Of that I have no doubt. But will the players respond again and condemn the goalless, pointless and joyless nightmare to oblivion in our memories? My friend Pete observed after last week that Town and the England cricket team have something in common. Not just 11 no hopers any more, but the ability to rise from the ashes. There are weaknesses but let's hope he's right. At least we're not beating ourselves now.
Today's game is spiced up by having two ex-Town players in the Mansfield line-up. Gritton was a good, honest player and had a good relationship with the supporters. Boulding, in spite of his success, did not. So Grimsby weren't good enough for you, then? In the light of that, going to Mansfield was an interesting career move.
Some 1300 Town fans were here for the latest development. Town warmed up under the watchful eye of Dave Moore. Tom Newey's hair system had gone haywire. So long as he can tackle and pass and cross the ball, we don't mind. The Town team was Barnes - Bloomer - Fenton - Whittle - Newey - Bore - Bolland - Hunt - Boshell - Toner - Paterson. So, it's back to 4 - 5 - 1.
Boshell almost put Paterson through on 3 minutes, but offside was given. A further move started following a Hunt interception. Paterson harried the defence, Toner crossed too far. So far there was no cause for excitement. Mansfield won a corner on 6 minutes. Nothing came of it and Town reciprocated as Bloomer pushed the ball too far for Bore. Hunt started a move on 9 minutes which set Bore off on a run. Bore was clearly here to run fast and hard at the defence. Bolland got a useful low shot in on 10 minutes.
Mansfield were quick on the break and Barnes had trouble with a high ball, with Mansfield's Conlon descending on him rapidly. The battle for supremacy continued. On 16 minutes Paterson intercepted a pass, and set Bore off on a run, resulting in a corner. Fenton's header went just over. Back up the field came the ball, and Conlon blasted over after Newey lost his man on the left. On 20 minutes Fenton was booked for tripping Mansfield's Hamshaw. The free kick gave a chance to Conlon, who headed to Barnes.
Moments later, good work from Conlon saw the ball with Dawson who was tripped up, this time by whittle. The free-kick from 25 yards was headed away by Whittle for a corner. Conlon curled the ball over. Mansfield were on top. Town were not in a rhythm. Whittle once again conceded a corner on 27 minutes, before Paterson had a chance on 30 minutes, going clear but was adjudged to have fouled the Mansfield player.
Mansfield attacked again on 30 minutes and the ever dangerous Conlon had the ball in the box, beat Fenton with ease, cut back skilfully and found Boulding who turned and rapped the ball past Barnes's right hand. Mansfield Town 1, Grimsby Town 0.
Four minutes later, Hamshaw found Conlon who netted with a header but the goal was disallowed for offside. Town had a lucky escape on 36 minutes when Newey slipped up and was once again beaten. Hamshaw crossed and Barnes fumbled but the ball went clear. Town got a corner soon after. Bore tried to link up with Whittle but this was never going to work.
Then on 41 minutes, Town had a legitimate shout for a handball outside Mansfield's penalty area but rather than waste time arguing, Newey collected the ball, pushed it outside and crossed. Mansfield could not clear it and the ball went to Bolland who on the right corner of the 6 yard line, turned and with his right foot fired a shot into the left roof of the net from an awkward angle. Mansfield Town 1, Grimsby Town 1. On 45 minutes Newey put in a dangerous run and cross, but the half ended with Mansfield threatening.
Half time verdict: Bore was making some dangerous runs, and Newey was fulfilling his attacking potential but it was all a bit patchy, not helped by the stop-go nature of the half with the referee awarding a number of free-kicks. Hunt was impressive in Town's midfield, but Boshell wasn't doing much today, unlike last week. Town were trying to get their passing game going on a decent pitch, but the play wasn't fluid. In defence we were looking vulnerable, on both Newey's side and in the middle where Mansfield's muscular Conlon was being allowed too much freedom. Barnes was not inspiring confidence in goal. All in all, we were lucky to be drawing.
TOWN started with purpose. Hunt continued to provide intelligent passes and set up a move which led to Paterson nearly getting through. A Toner, Boshell and Bolland move on 48 minutes led to Bolland blasting wide when Bore was waiting on the right.
A Boshell tackle then set up Bore whose cross was well saved by the goalkeeper. The Mansfield defence and goalkeeper were starting to look under pressure. Shortly afterwards a poor cross from Newey was cleared, but Hunt set up another attack after switching. Paterson tried to blast through but the defence held firm.
On 52 minutes, Mansfield won a corner after aggression from Gritton. A poor Barnes punch led to the ball being headed out for another corner. This time Barnes caught the cross to ironic cheers. Mansfield attacked again, but soon Bolland had a shot at the other end before Paterson tried to burst through before being dispossessed.
On 56 minutes Barnes pulled off an excellent save to a low shot to his right. Toner set up the next move, and in spite of excellent skill from Paterson to lay off the ball, Bore couldn't quite latch on to it. Town seemed to step up a gear at this point and Bolland won a ball when he had no right to, setting up Bore who fired in. The ball was cleared but Toner struck a fierce shot which went just wide.
A momentary scare occurred on 60 minutes when Whittle seemed to make a good tackle on Boulding outside the penalty box but a foul was given. Boshell was booked for a foul on Dawson. Mansfield won a corner on 62 minutes, but Town were soon back and Paterson won a free-kick by the corner after being obstructed by the Mansfield defender. Toner shot just wide. Bolland then put Bore through but Bore's cross led to a good save. Hunt set up Bolland with a short pass but after beating two defenders, there was no power on the shot.
Bore was hacked down by Mansfield's Hamshaw on 67 minutes. Bloomer wasted the free-kick but Town were on the march. Boulding went off on 68 minutes to hoots of derision from the Town fans. Newey battled to keep the ball in play, epitomising Town's fighting spirit and shot just wide on 70 minutes with a strong shot. Hunt was bolstering the midfield with his intelligent passes. Mansfield won a corner on 70 minutes but it was still Town who looked the more dangerous.
Even the drivers of the free coaches left to rapturous applause as they returned to their vehicles. There was a carnival atmosphere, Grimsby style. Town's other ex-player Gritton came off on 72 minutes. Town continued to press, with Bolland winning balls, Hunt finding the right options and Bore causing problems with his pace. On 79 minutes North came on for Paterson who although not so incisive today, had put in an impressive and aggressive performance.
Fenton pulled off a brave tackle as Mansfield threatened to break through. Town continued to press and wear down the Mansfield defence. On 82 minutes, a passing move saw Toner put the ball through to the fresh legs of North who raced clear of the defenders and once inside the box, drove the ball low past the advancing and helpless goalkeeper to make it Mansfield Town 1 Grimsby Town 2.
On 86 minutes Hunt sent North away up the right and Town gained a throw-in deep in Mansfield territory. Mansfield were being worn down by incessant pressure from a constant wave of Town attacks. Play stopped for a moment as Newey was flattened. On 90 minutes, Boshell created another attack after winning the ball in midfield. North had a chance to break through from the right but maturely opted to wait for support and keep possession with time running down. Mansfield had a brief attack on 91 minutes when Newey won a goal kick but Town were soon on the attack once more, and the game ended with Grimsby in possession deep in the Mansfield half. Final score: Mansfield Town 1, Grimsby Town 2. Most of the Mansfield supporters had left already.
Verdict. This was a hard fought victory. Town proved again their resilience and ability to come back from behind. Whilst Mansfield were the better side in the first half, creating more chances, Town were far and away the better side in the second, wearing down Mansfield with their passing and pace. The Town goal was a triumph for Alan Buckley who brought on North at a time when he could and did exploit a tiring defence. There are weaknesses still at the back but the midfield unit and both Paterson and North up front were magnificent. Once we got going, we were creating opportunities on both sides of the field. Man of the Match for me was midfielder James Hunt, who right from the outset played with authority, winning balls and giving himself time to weigh up his options before delivering the right passes to set up the next wave of attack. Town have some important games coming up. If we play like we did in the second half here, we have nothing to fear. The spirit, the work rate and the skill are all there. This was footballing interaction of the first order.
Mariners march on as North sinks Stags
MANSFIELD TOWN 1 GRIMSBY TOWN 2
GRIMSBY substitute Danny North made an instant impact at Field Mill with a late winner within three minutes of joining the action.
North raced almost half the length of the pitch to seal Grimsby's third successive win.
Stags had gone ahead through Michael Boulding on 31 minutes and, had Barry Conlon's headed finish five minutes later not been ruled out for offside, things may have been very different.
But, roared on by over 1,300 away fans who had their transport to Field Mill paid for by chairman John Fenty, the visitors levelled three minutes from the break through Paul Bolland.
Stags did have their chances after the break and Matt Hamshaw was only just wide while keeper Phil Barnes saved smartly at his near post from Stephen Dawson, both within 13 minutes of the restart.
But after those it was all Grimsby and they came close several times before North bagged their deserved winner with just seven minutes to go.
Grimsby had recently lost seven games on the trot, scoring only once in that time. But they had then hit back with a bang with two wins and 10 goals in those two games ahead of today's clash.
The Stags welcomed back Conlon after his three match ban.
He replaced Brown who had been struggling all week with a groin strain and made up the numbers on the bench.
White had to gather a low Newey cross at his near post in the fourth minute as the game made a slow start.
Hamshaw over-hit Stags' first corner, then Conlon sent a lobbed attempt straight into the arms of keeper Barnes.
Hunt had a shot blocked and then Bolland got in a low shot straight at White as the visitors went looking for an opener.
Grimsby carved out the best chance so far on 18 minutes as sloppy defending gave the visitors a corner which saw Boshell pick out Fenton who headed powerfully over from five yards.
Within a minute Conlon powered a dipping shot over at the other end.
Fenton was booked on 22 minutes for upending Hamshaw in full flight and Whittle followed a minute later for his challenge on Dawson.
Conlon was again too high from 25 yards on 25 minutes.
But Stags were ahead on 31 minutes as Boulding struck against his old club.
White's long kick reached Conlon who turned and crossed towards Boulding whose first time attempt struck a defender but rebounded kindly to him and he made no mistake at the second time of asking from five yards.
Fenton almost levelled three minutes later as Jelleyman headed across his own box and the Mariners' man met it on the full with a rasping volley just wide.
Conlon found the Grimsby net with a powerful stooping header from Dawson's cross on 36 minutes but an offside flag cut short the celebrations.
Hamshaw got away down the right and got in a cross which Barnes spilled and was relieved to see the ball fall the wrong side of the lurking Conlon.
But it was the visitors who squared things up on 42 minutes.
Newey's cross from the left found Bolland ghosting into the far side of the box unmarked. He got his shot on target and White's fingertips could only touch it onto the post and watch it bounce into the net.
Bolland had the first attempt of the second half when he was just wide after having a go from 25 yards.
Mansfield weathered some good Grimsby pressure before forcing two successive corners.
Passes from D'Laryea and Conlon moved the ball from right to left where Hamshaw cut in to rifle a low shot narrowly wide of the far post.
A Stags break saw Hamshaw set up Dawson with a pass pulled back into his path and Barnes had to turn Dawson's low shot round his near post.
Toner was wide from 18 yards as Stags tried to clear a 62nd minute corner.
Play continued to swing from end to end and Boulding won a free kick 20 yards from goal which Conlon sent low straight at Barnes.
Boshell's name was added to the book for his foul on Dawson and Buxton joined him for bringing down Patterson.
Stags cleared the free kick as far as Boshell which, from 30 yards, he blasted narrowly wide.
Bolland was afforded too much space and get in a low shot that White was behind.
Brown replaced goalscorer Boulding for the last 20 minutes.
On 72 minutes Newey curled a shot just wide of the near post.
Stags replied with a corner which Hamshaw put over and Conlon met with a glancing back header that sailed just over.
Gritton was replaced by Reet on 75 minutes.
The Mariners sent on North for Patterson on 80 minutes and within three minutes he broke away from just inside the Mansfield half onto a through ball and showed great pace and coolness to pick his spot and beat White all ends up.
Latest | February 2007