LACKLUSTRE STAGS BEATEN AWAY YET AGAIN
Grimsby Town 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 3836 (298 from Mansfield)
Date: 15 December 2007
Observer report by Steve Hartshorn:
STAGS SUNK AS MARINERS NET WINNER
Grimsby Town 1 Mansfield Town 0
Mansfield Towns miserable run of poor form away from home in League 2 continued as they went down to a single strike by Grimsby Town's Gary Jones.
The result now leaves Billy Dearden's men four points adrift of the safety zone and with a tricky Christmas period on the horizon, desperate for a turn in fortunes.
The match itself typified the low standing in League 2 of both sides as the game lacked any real penetration in the final third with neither side hardly able to compose themselves to inflict any harm on the opposition defence. The only time either side managed to achieve success in front of goal came with Gary Jones fine header on 62 minutes a strike enough to condemn The Stags to yet another League 2 defeat on the road.
As you'd expect the home side boosted by a win away at Brentford previously, came storming at The Stags in the early stages of the 1st half but the Stags defence, be it with either resilience of plain and simple good luck, held out.
Gareth Jelleyman though was possibly the most relieved man in Blundell Park when his mistake in the Stags area on 10 minutes wasn't punished by Bolland, who with Muggleton at his mercy, blazed well high and wide bringing load groans from the Mariners faithful.
The home side were clearly on the front foot early on and Jones was close with an effort that flew inches away from goal, before Carl Muggleton came to Mansfield's rescue with a smart near post save to deny Toner.
The game was quite dour with both sides obviously nervous of their perilous league position. In fact it took Stags almost 25 minutes before they won their first couple of corners. From one of which, Stags could have taken the lead but after Jake Buxton winning the header, all Rory Boulding could do was divert it over the crossbar.
It was then Mansfield's turn to up the tempo as Mickey Boulding had an effort blocked and Dawson was unlucky not to finish from a fine low cross from Simon Brown.
Both sides were seemingly taking it in turns to have a little spell of pressure but both sides form in the last third of the pitch mirrored their lowly league positions. Fine approach play but a disappointing finish.
The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock came in first half stoppage time and typified the game. Mickey Boulding set up his brother Rory but from distance he blazed over. Overall it was poor entertainment but Dearden would have been the happier of the two managers.
The 2nd half continued as the first had ended with neither side really doing enough to take overall control of the game. There was though strong shouts for a penalty kick for Mansfield when Mickey Boulding was clipped by keeper Barnes on 52 minutes as both raced to meet a through ball. The protests were waved away despite a furious appeal by several Stags players.
Mullins who had earlier required treatment was forced to leave the field on the hour mark and was replaced by McIntosh, who making his first appearance for three months, dropped into centre half with Baptiste coming across to the right.
The deadlock was finally broken just two minutes later and for a game which had thus far showed little quality the goal was one taken with much aplomb. Rory Boulding was caught in possession and Hegarty raced clear down the right to deliver in a perfect cross for the in coming Gary Jones who powerfully headed the ball home giving Muggleton no chance whatsoever.
Stags tried to gain a foothold in the game straight away as Mickey Boulding let loose from distance but saw his shot go agonisingly over.
Billy Dearden, desperate to get the Stags back in the game threw on McAliskey for Rory Boulding with almost 20 minutes to go as Stags tried to force an equaliser.
Simon Brown did really well to turn and shoot from around the 20-yard mark but the ball shot just wide of the angle.
Both sides huffed and puffed but the home side struggled to stamp another goal that would have assured them of victory, whereas The Stags urgency to get back into the game was hampered by their inability to find the killing final pass.
With three minutes of time allowed Stags looked to have been given a chance when they were awarded a free kick some 25 yards from goal. However a posse of players all stood aside for McIntosh to curl a shot towards goal, unfortunately for Mansfield the effort was off target and the final whistle was greeted with big smiles from the Mariners whereas the Stags players body language as they left the field of play summed up their league position. Rock bottom and in need of a lift.
This weekend Stags hope to try and finally get their first league win of the season on their travels when they make the short journey to take on Chesterfield. The Derbyshire side have had little luck on home soil with just two victories out of nine the last coming way back in early September. If there was ever a time for The Stags to record their first away league victory on the road of the season, then this weekend would be it.
Press Ass report:
A terrific goal decided a poor match between two sides battling at the foot of League Two.
For the second successive week, it was striker Gary Jones who won all three points for the Mariners. Last week at Brentford, it was a neat shot early in the second half that decided matters and this time it was a superb diving header that was the difference between the two sides.
Nick Hegarty got away down the left and his fine cross was despatched like a bullet past goalkeeper Carl Muggleton after 62 minutes.
It was the sort of match where one goal was always going to be enough to decide it and it was Grimsby who always looked the likeliest to get on the scoresheet.
For Mansfield, the salient fact was that they rarely looked like scoring and on the evidence of this display, their placing at the foot of the table is not going to be temporary.
It could have been a different story had not Grimsby wasted a great chance early on. Experienced midfielder Paul Bolland was gifted the ball and could have run several yards further, but took his shot too early and blazed his shot well wide.
After a great start Grimsby lost momentum as Mansfield enjoyed their best spell, without ever seriously testing Grimsby keeper Phil Barnes.
In the second half, as the temperature fell, the surface became tricky and good football was at a premium.
This was only Grimsby's second home win of the season in the league and their second-successive 1-0 win, which for a side which could not keep a clean sheet until recently was quite a feat.
For Mansfield, their off-field problems, regarding the ownership of the club, are clearly having an effect on the playing side and they face a real fight to retain their Football League status.
Jones Strike Wins the Day
By - 15/12/2007 18:14
The Mariners took a valuable three points from Mansfield Town today in a game that Town controlled for most of the game. A scorching header from Gary Jones produced the only goal of the game as chance after chance was missed.
Town dominated the first half but after 20 minutes Mansfield started to put some pressure on.
10 minutes after the start, Danny North had his first chance from the centre about 12 yards out but the shot was blocked. Shortly after, Bolland had a long shot which went wide.
Michael Boulding was trying to put pressure on Town and so too was Rory Boulding. Both made some good runs but failed to produce, but in the 30th minute Boulding got his first real chance when he took on Atkinson and got round him shooting from the left side of the penalty area but the shot was cleared by Bennet. Rory Boulding also had a chance but headed over
Boulding then had another chance that was cleared for a corner but the corner was cleared and the Town fans let him know he had failed.
Shortly after, despite some smart work by Toner, Atkinson had a clear header from the corner but missed.
Almost on half time Rory Boulding had another attempt from 30 yards which went wide and the ref blew the whistle to end first half.
Half Time 0-0
The second half started with Mansfield trying to put the pressure on with Town defending well but Boulding got through and shot from the right with it going wide. Hegarty, had half a chance minutes later but missed by a mile.
In the 62nd minute Hegarty crossed from the left and Gary Jones came steaming in with a brilliant diving header into the top left of the net to give Town the lead.
Michael Boulding responded to the goal with another shot which was easily cleared.
Mansfield again tried to put the pressure on Town with a number of shots but Towns defence were not to be beaten and shots were easily dealt with, although Barnes had a scare when he was under pressure with a half cleared ball that he punched out and cleared.
On the 80th minute Alan Buckley replaced Gary Jones with Martin Butler and Danny North was replaced by Andy Taylor.
Town resisted all Mansfield's attempts to get back into the game and defended well and nobody was more pleased to hear the final whistle than the Town fans.
This was a crucial game for both teams. The Town players were obviously aware of that and put on a very pleasing performance that should please Alan Buckley.
Man of the Match: Tom Newey Crowd: 3,836
Grimsby Town: Barnes, Newey, Bennett, Hegarty, Jones, Hird, Atkinson, Boshell, Bolland, North, Toner.
Subs: Taylor, Montgomery, Bore, Whittle, Butler.
Mansfield Town: Muggleton, Mullins, Jelleyman, Dawson, Buxton, Baptiste, Hamshaw, Boulding -M, D'Laryea,Brown, Boulding R
Subs: White, Wood, McAliskey, McIntosh, Holmes.
CHAD report by John Lomas
Grimsby Town 1 Mansfield Town 0, Saturday, 15th December 2007
BOTTOM club Mansfield Town went down to a single Gary Jones goal in their big relegation dogfight at Grimsby Town this afternoon.
It was a bitter blow to a Stags side now heading for local rivals Chesterfield next weekend with their League future hanging even more precariously in the balance, four points adrift of safety.
Desperate Stags survived a torrid 15 minutes early in the first half when Paul Bolland and Ciaran Toner went close.
But after that it was very much even-stevens with Grimsby's only other chance of note finding the net on 62 minutes as Jones buried a superb header from Nick Hegarty's left wing cross.
Mansfield did cause the home side problems but could not find a finish or a single stroke of much-needed good fortune in the home box as Mariners' keeper Phil Barnes ended the afternoon with a single save to make.
Overall it was a poor game between two poor sides on a bitterly cold Cleethorpes afternoon.
The Stags side showed two changes from their last game a fortnight ago.
Out went injured duo Dan Martin and Lee Bell. Gareth Jelleyman switched back to his natural left back position and Simon Brown came in to play left of midfield.
Jon D'Laryea made his second start of the season in the centre of midfield.
Rory Boulding survived a late fitness test on a back injury to keep his place up front.
The early stages of the game were battled out in midfield with neither keeper troubled.
Toner did cut inside just outside the box on nine minutes and hit a powerful shot goal wards which struck team mate North in the back to save Muggleton any work.
However, a dreadful stray pass by Jelleyman in his own box a minute later put Bolland in on goal only to blaze wastefully wide with Muggleton at his mercy.
The Mariners quickly stepped up the heat and Jones whipped a John-Baptiste headed clearance inches over before Toner cut in and stabbed a low shot at goal which the keeper got down to save.
Mansfield also survived the home team's first corner and a hopeful penalty shout from the home side.
Stags finally won a couple of corners on 25 minutes and the second saw Buxton head goal wards and Rory Boulding tried to help it in from close range but could only succeed in heading over.
The Mariners cleared a third Mansfield flag kick two minutes later as it seemed the visitors had finally taken the heat out of that fiery flurry of home pressure.
Suddenly it was Grimsby on the back foot and Mickey Boulding saw a shot blocked, Dawson just failed to get on the end of a low Brown cross to the near post, and another Stags corner was hacked away.
Grimsby forced two more corner and on 37 minutes North swung a low shot wide of Muggleton's far post. The keeper then had to leave his box to blast into touch ahead of the incoming North.
The teams exchanged further fruitless corners as the interval approached.
In first half stoppage time Mickey released brother Rory into space 40 yards from goal and the youngster blazed way over from distance as the first 45 minutes ended goalless.
On 52 minutes Mickey Boulding worked a one-two with Hamshaw and beat the advancing keeper to the return pass, lifting it over him goal wards. But it seemed to be dropping wide as Bennett raced across to take control.
Stage were furious that keeper Barnes made contact with Boulding as he beat him to the ball but penalty appeals were waved away.
Mullins needed treatment after winning an important challenge on Hegarty in the box but, after trying to run it off, left the field on the hour to be replaced by McIntosh - his first appearance since pulling his hamstring three months ago. He went to centre half with John=Baptiste moving to right back.
However, two minutes later the Mariners grabbed the lead. Rory Boulding lost possession wide on the right and Hegarty raced forward to whip in a tempting cross that Jones buried with a powerful stoopi9ng header that gave Muggleton no chance.
Almost immediately Micky Boulding went on a good run and, looking up, lifted a superb dipping shot a foot over the bar from over 35 yards out.
Buxton was finally yellow carded on 65 minutes for persistent fouling after already receiving an earlier warning.
McAliskey was thrown on up front for Mansfield for the last 20 minutes in place of Rory Boulding.
Brown almost produced something from nothing on 74 minutes as, back to goal, 20 yards out, he spun and flashed a shot just over the far angle.
Mansfield forced three corners on the trot in the last three minutes but the home goal survived intact.
John-Baptiste was booked in the last minute of the 90 for a late tackle on Boshell.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added and Mansfield hopes were raised when Grimsby conceded a free kick just outside the box and free kick specialist McIntosh on the field.
But a rusty McIntosh curled it disappointingly well over the bar and with it went Stags' last hope of getting anything out of the game.
GRIMSBY: Barnes, Newey, Bennett, Hegarty, Jones (Butler 83), Hird, Atkinson, Boshell, Bolland, North (Taylor 84), Toner. Subs not used: Montgomery, Bore, Whittle.
STAGS: Muggleton, Mullins (McIntosh 60), Buxton, John-Baptiste, Jelleyman, Brown, D'Laryea, Dawson, Hamshaw, M. Boulding, R. Boulding (McAliskey 70). Subs not used:White, Holmes, Wood.
REFEREE: Michael Oliver of Northumberland.
ATTENDANCE: 3,836 (298 away).