YET ANOTHER HOME CATASTROPHE
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Grimsby Town
Arnold 49. Till 32, Boshell 74
Attendance: 2616 (452 from Grimsby)
report from grimsby-townfc.co.uk:
GRIMSBY Town got their Easter programme off to the perfect start with a narrow victory at a freezing Field Mill.
In an open first half, the Mariners took the lead through Peter Till's third goal of the season.
They got to half-time with the lead intact but the hosts came out for the second half looking like a completely different side.
Mansfield caretaker boss Paul Holland fired his troops up at the interval and they were back on level terms through Nathan Arnold on 49 minutes.
Town then had to survive a period of intense pressure as the home side pressed for a second goal but thanks to some inspired goalkeeping from Phil Barnes and a goal-line clearance from Boshell, the scores remained level.
Then with just over a quarter of an hour to go, that man Boshell popped up at the other end to score a 25-yard goal worthy of winning any game and securing all three points to take back to North East Lincolnshire.
Alan Buckley named an attacking Town line-up as the Mariners looked to move closer to a play-off position with a victory.
Danny North returned to the starting XI after injury and partnered in-form Martin Butler in attack, with Peter Till used as an attacking midfielder.
Phil Barnes began in goal, with Jamie Clarke, Rob Atkinson, Nick Fenton, Tom Newey and Nick Hegarty across the back.
Paul Bolland, Danny Boshell and Till were the midfielders, with North and Butler leading the line up front.
The Mariners substitutes were James Hunt, Ryan Bennett, Gary Montgomery, Gary Jones and Andy Taylor.
Mansfield caretaker boss Paul Holland swooped for two loan signings in the run-up to this game and both were named on the Stags bench.
Kevin Horlock joined from Scunthorpe United until the end of the season, while Neil Wainwright was brought in from Darlington on a similar deal.
The one to watch in the hosts' line-up would be former Town striker Michael Boulding, who has been the main contributor of Mansfield's goals this season.
Both sides would be desperate for the three points for vastly different reasons - Grimsby were looking to edge closer to the top seven and the chance of a play-off place, while Mansfield were looking for a victory that would improve their chances of avoiding relegation to the Blue Square Premier.
On form, the Mariners would have been the favourites to win the game, with Alan Buckley suffering just one away defeat since last November, while Mansfield had lost nine of their previous ten home games.The last time they won a game at Field Mill was on Boxing Day.
A good following of Mariners supporters had made the short trip to Nottinghamshire despite the freezing conditions and they were massed behind the goal being attacked by Town in the first half.
Mansfield had the first opportunity of the game when midfielder Nathan Arnold cut in and curled a shot just over Barnes' crossbar on two minutes.
Town's response was swift, with Bolland firing a rasping shot from 20 yards that was beaten away for a corner by home keeper Jason White.
Grimsby had the better of the opening ten minutes and they had another good chance when North turned and shot from inside the area.The attempt had too much power and it sailed over the bar.
At the other end, the hosts were also looking dangerous at times and the Mariners were thankful when no Stags attacker could get on the end of John Mullins' driven right-wing cross on 10 minutes.
Seconds later, a ball was pushed through for Boulding to run onto but he was beaten by Barnes, who was alert to the danger and raced off his line to smother the ball.
Mansfield were starting to get on top and they could have taken the lead when Boulding found Arnold in acres of space on the edge of the Town penalty area.The attacking midfielder couldn't take advantage though, shooting wide from 18 yards.
Town had their own period of pressure after Bolland had been fouled on the right.Newey's free kick caused problems in the home defence before the Mariners worked the ball back through Clarke.His cross was cut out for a corner.
Mansfield had a good chance to open the scoring when Atkinson conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal.Hamshaw sent it into the danger zone but Town managed to scramble the ball clear.
The hosts were continuing to press forward, aided by a strong wind at their backs, and it looked like the relegation-threatened side were the most likely to take the lead.
It was the Mariners who had the next chance though, with Clarke's 30th minute cross finding the head of Atkinson inside the box after a free kick given for a foul on North.The touch wasn't strong enough to direct the ball goalwards and Mansfield cleared.
The next time they went forward, Town took the lead.The ball was bouncing around inside the box after left-back Gareth Jelleyman failed to clear and eventually, it came to TILL, who found the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Mansfield won a corner when Will Atkinson's 36th minute shot was deflected out for a corner.Hamshaw took the corner and then got the ball back, cutting into the box before stabbing a cross for Alex John-Baptiste to head over from six yards.
Another corner came on 43 minutes when Boshell did well to win a challenge on the Mansfield right.The initial kick was cleared but Town couldn't keep the ball away and eventually, they had to concede another corner.
The hosts were finishing the half strongly but as one minute of added time was signalled, Bolland had the chance to double Town's lead.He snatched at a shot from 18 yards though, sending the ball over the bar in what was the last meaningful action of the half.
Overall, it had been an even first half, with both sides having spells of pressure and creating chances.
Mansfield had perhaps edged it in terms of possession, although crucially, the mariners had made one of their chances count with Till's registering his third goal of the season.
Town would have been happy to be going in one goal ahead at the interval, particularly as they would have the wind advantage after the restart.
The hosts were certainly not out of the equation though and they would fancy their chances of grabbing an equaliser if they could continue to find the spaces and get into the positions they had done in the opening 45 minutes.
One change was made before the restart, with James Hunt replacing North and Till moving further forward to support Butler.
Mansfield started the second half well and within four minutes, they were back on level terms.ARNOLD picked the ball up on the right side of the area and turned past Newey before shooting low into the bottom corner.
Seconds later, Arnold almost repeated the feat, drawing a great save out of Barnes from the other side of the box.The resulting corner also nearly proved costly, with Barnes again coming to the rescue before another attempt came back off the crossbar and Boshell was forced to clear off the line as Town rode their luck.
Boulding shot from 18 yards on 53 minutes but again, Barnes was there to gather.One thing was certain though, Mansfield meant business and they continued to pile forward looking for another goal.
Town were being pinned back inside their own half and were having to ride out an intense Stags storm.
It took until 11 minutes after the interval for the Mariners to be allowed the time to put a passage of possession together.Till did well on the right before crossing but no Grimsby attacker was in the right place to meet it.
At the other end, Arnold, who was having a terrific game, had another good chance to put his side ahead but he sliced a shot wide from 12 yards.
Till won a free kick 20 yards out when he was fouled by Jelleyman on 62 minutes.The defender saw a yellow card for the offence but Clarke couldn't clear the home wall with his shot from the set piece.
Alan Buckley made a double substitution on 65 minutes, with Gary Jones and Ryan Bennett replacing Bolland and Atkinson.
Mansfield responded by giving a debut to Wainwright in place of Will Atkinson.
Fenton was yellow-carded soon afterwards and at the same time, gave away a free kick in a dangerous position on the edge of his own box.The shot was deflected over the bar for a corner.
Town had weathered the early storm and they were starting to take the initiative once more.
The Mariners regained their lead on 73 minutes after their best move of the game.Till ran at the Mansfield defence before cutting into the box.The ball found its way back to BOSHELL, who curled a shot home from 20 yards into the top corner.
Town were now full of confidence and a supreme piece of skill from Till in the corner led to him beating his man and advancing into the box.He pulled the ball back for Boshell but this time, he shot wide.
As the game moved into its final stages, Town were looking more and more comfortable.Mansfield had faded since their explosive opening to the second half and after Boshell put the Mariners ahead for the second time, there had looked to be only one winner.
That said, Mansfield rallied and as the game entered three minutes of stoppage time, Barnes had to concede a corner.
That was followed in the final added minute by another corner but when it was headed over the bar, cheers rang out amongst the 452 travelling Town supporters.
The game wasn't over yet though as there was time for another home corner.Keeper White made his way forward to join the attack but neither he, nor any of his team-mates, could force a second equaliser.
Grimsby held firm for all three points and attentions now turn to Monday's home match against Brentford before the trip to Wembley next weekend.
Press Ass report:
Away-day specialists Grimsby Town stretched their remarkable run to one defeat in 13 games on their travels and left the Stags, without a home win since Boxing Day, deep in relegation trouble.
The Mariners warmed up for next weekend's Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final with a fine performance, soaking up pressure from lowly Mansfield and then breaking to score in each half.
The Stags though will be rueing a remarkable spell of five chances in one minute shortly after their second-half equaliser which could have ended a terrible run of ten defeats in 11 matches at Field Mill.
New signings Kevin Horlock and Neil Wainwright were on the bench for the home side as caretaker boss Paul Holland kept the side which won a week earlier at Bradford City - looking for a victory to secure the job on a full-time basis.
And in the second minute they almost got the perfect start, Nathan Arnold curling a drive narrowly wide. Then Micky Boulding's shot on the turn was saved by Phil Barnes.
At the other end Paul Bolland's powerful strike was turned away by the diving Jason White.
The Stags, playing attractive, passing football, twice opened up the Grimsby defence, but failed to find the vital touch inside the penalty area.
First Boulding just failed to head in a John Mullins cross from the byline and then Matt Hamshaw and Boulding combined well before Arnold fired tamely wide.
A diving Robert Atkinson header cleared the danger from another byline cross, this time from Hamshaw.
But Grimsby grew in confidence as the first half wore on, creating chances before Peter Till blasted in through a crowd of players in the 32nd minute.
The diving Alex John-Baptiste headed Hamshaw's cross over the bar from close range five minutes later as the Stags pressed for a quick equaliser.
Grimsby, still dangerous on the break, should have doubled their advantage in first-half stoppage time, but Danny North blazed over after an error by Stephen Dawson.
Four minutes into the second half the Stags finally turned their pressure into a goal, Arnold collecting Jonathon D'Laryea's pass, turning Tom Newey and firing across the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net.
Three minutes later the Stags went close to taking the lead in an amazing scramble. Arnold's shot was turned away for a corner and from the flag kick Mullins saw two headers cleared off the line by Danny Boshell.
Hamshaw's curling shot was then tipped away by keeper Barnes and from the second corner Mullins headed narrowly over.
Grimsby hit back and Till hit the side-netting when he should have scored as the chances came thick and fast at both ends. Arnold then blazed high and wide from close range for the home side.
Substitute Wainwright, signed 24 hours earlier, saw his free-kick deflected wide as Mansfield poured forward in search of a winner.
But it was Wainwright who allowed Till to run past him and set up Boshell to restore Grimsby's lead with a fine 20-yard clipped drive from the edge of the area in the 74th minute.
Deep in stoppage time, Mullins almost scrambled a second Stags equaliser, but Barnes came to Town's rescue, saving at the foot of the post.
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