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Season 11/12 Stagsnet Match Report
Blue Square Bet Premier
Grimsby Town  
0 - 0
 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 2553 (140 from Mansfield)
Date: 6 December 2011


Martin Shaw at Blundell Park

Mansfield Town picked up a useful point at Blundell Park on Tuesday evening against in-form Grimsby, largely thanks to an inspired display from goalkeeper Alan Marriott. Marriott made a string of outstanding saves and received high praise from Grimsby players and officials as the game ended. Grimsby were gifted two good chances in the first half through terrible errors, as first Dempster played a square ball across the back on 22 minutes, which was picked up by Grimsby who surged forward, had an initial effort parried by Marriott, then Thompson was just able to clear away before Elding could head in the loose ball, and finally Marriott made a magnificent save on his line from the third chance of a triple chance from Hearn’s powerful close range shot. Then on 28 minutes, skipper Adam Murray made a similar mistake with a square ball inside the Grimsby half intercepted by Michael Coulson who surged forward and his shot was really well saved by Marriott with his legs. On 48 minutes, Marriott came off his line to make himself big and Elding could only left a glorious chance over the bar. On 60 minutes, Marriott brilliantly tipped over a splendid effort from Coulson. Finally on 83 minutes, Marriott somehow kept out a Rob Duffy effort from the edge of the box as he seemed to be going the wrong way, and stuck out his left boot to deflect the shot over the bar. Brilliant from Marriott. Mansfield’s best chance feel to Matt Green on 33 minutes when he was through 1-on-1 against the keeper but could only shoot straight at the keeper. The Stags could have won it in stoppage time, when a terrific run from Ross Dyer set up sub Louis Briscoe who fired straight at the keeper from a tight angle.

All in all, a good point for the Stags. Grimsby were unbeaten in 8 games and have been free-scoring at home this season, including 7 goals in their last home game. And as the Stags lost 7-2 here last season, a clean sheet and a nil-nil draw was satisfactory for the 140 magnificent Stags fans who braved the cold on the East coast.

The draw was the Stags fifth on the trot away from home, which we think is a club record. The Stags are five games unbeaten. The Stags are also 10 games unbeaten away from home.

The Stags made one change from the side that beat Braintree, as Aman Verma missed out with a virus and in came Paul Bolland. It was a 4-5-1 formation for Mansfield with Matt Green on his own up front, and five in midfield: Dyer on the right, Meikle on the left, and Murray, Bolland and Stevenson in the centre. For the first time, new signing Marcus Kelly was on the bench. Former Stags midfielder Craig Disley was in the Grimsby midfield, with Gary Silk and Rob Duffy on the bench. Scott Garner was not in the 16. Will Antwi, who scored for Luton at Field Mill earlier this season, was in the Grimsby defence.

Grimsby had the first chance on two minutes as Michael Coulson forced Marriott to make a low save. The Stags had a chance on 4 minutes as Lee Stevenson sent a beautifully struck half-volley straight at keeper James McKeown following a nice knock down from Ross Dyer. Within a minute at the other end, a similar effort from Liam Hearn was straight at Marriott.

On 14 minutes, a great Mansfield move from the back and Adam Murray put in a good cross but no-one could get on the end of it. Straight to the other end and Dempster committed a foul just outside the box, but the Stags wall stayed firm and blocked Coulson’s free kick.

On 22 minutes the Stags nearly gifted Grimsby the lead. Dempster played a suicidal square ball across the back from a right back position, which was intercepted by Luke McCarthy in the middle, he powered forward and sent in a shot from the edge of the box that Marriott parried away, then John Thompson was just able to clear away before Elding could head in the loose ball, and finally Marriott made a terrific save on his line from Hearn’s powerful close range shot.

On 25 minutes Meikle cut inside from the left, but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Then on 28 minutes, another terrible error by Mansfield as this time Murray tried a square ball in just inside the Grimsby half, and it was cut out by Coulson who ran towards goal inside his own half, and Marriott made another great save, with his legs.

After Paul Cox had talked about defenders not messing around with the ball at the back following the Braintree game on Saturday, it was not difficult to read his thoughts at this time.

On 31 minutes, Lee Stevenson sent a free kick disappointing low and straight into the wall. Moments later, Stevenson impressed with superb play to control a ball to him, but the play came to nothing.

On 33 minutes came the Stags best chance of the night. Lee Stevenson dispossessed Will Antwi and slipped the ball in for Green who was clean through on goal. Green could have gone round the keeper or tried to chip him, but elected to shoot low and his shot was straight at the advancing keeper and blocked away.

A quiet period of play for the remainder of the half, though on 43 minutes, Thompson headed into the keeper’s arms from a Freeman free kick.

So a half that was mostly about defensive mistakes, two from Mansfield and one from Grimsby, with Marriott saving well, and Green also being denied by the Grimsby keeper.

Half time 0-0

Another good chance for Grimsby on 48 minutes as Elding took advantage of some slack Stags defending. A headed ball forward from Disley evaded Thompson and as Marriott was out quickly and closed down the Grimsby striker, Elding could only lob the ball over Marriott and wide of the right post. More good keeping from the Blue Square Bet Premier’s number one stopper even though he didn’t touch the ball.

On 51, Hearn deflected a header from Coulson wide from Disley’s free kick. A minute later, Meikle cut inside from the left and his low shot was straight at the keeper.

Lee Stevenson got past two defenders on 55 minutes, but shot well over the bar from the edge of the box. A great block from John Thompson a minute later as he flung himself in the way of a Liam Hearn shot.

More great shot-stopping from Marriott on 60 minutes as he superbly tipped over Coulson’s brilliant effort from the edge of the box.

Dyer had a weak left footed effort on 62 minutes that was wide of the right post. Then on 67 Green shot well over the bar.

The Stags were not really holding onto the ball with Green somewhat isolated, and manager Paul Cox changed the formation on 70 minutes, bring on Louis Briscoe for Lee Stevenson, and moving Ross Dyer alongside Green in a 4-4-2 formation.

On 73 minutes, Sutton played a teasing ball across the six yard box but no-one could get on the end of it, and Sutton put his arms in the air in anguish that the chance was gone.

Meikle was crowded out on the edge of the box on 81 minutes and unable to get a shot in.

Another incredible save from Marriott on 83 minutes. Former Stags striker Rob Duffy was just on as substitute, and he received a square ball across the edge of the penalty area, and sent a shot goalwards that seemed to wrong-foot Marriott, but Marriott somehow got his left heel to the ball and deflected it up and over the bar.

Louis Briscoe sent a snap shot from distance over the bar on 85 minutes. Worth a punt from Briscoe after his goal of the season here last season in the 7-2 defeat.

An easier save from Marriott on 86 minutes as he saved Antwi’s header low on his line.

The Stags could have won it a minute into stoppage time, when a terrific run from Ross Dyer set up sub Louis Briscoe who fired straight at the keeper from a tight angle.

At the final whistle, Marriott received congratulations from Grimsby players, especially Rob Duffy, who looked like he couldn’t believe Marriott had saved his shot with his heel.

An 11 day break from the league now as the Stags begin the road back to Wembley with an away FA Trophy tie at Droylsden on Saturday. Then tricky league games at high flying Southport and the Christmas double-header against York. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the Match: Alan Marriott

Report by: Martin Shaw at Blundell Park

Line Up:
Marriott 9.5 Several superb saves to earn the point. Inspirational.
Sutton 6.5 Defended well. One good ball across the six yard box that somehow evaded everyone.
Thompson 7 Defended well, and won lots of headers.
Dempster 6.5 Defended solidly, though one terrible error gifted Grimsby a chance. Won lots of headers.
Freeman 6.5 Set pieces were a bit disappointing, but defended well, and got forward well a few times.
Bolland 7 Won some good challenges, and started look a bit more like the player we thought we’d signed at the start of the season. Encouraging performance.
Murray 7 Terrible error to gift Grimsby a chance, but otherwise did well. One superb piece of defending in the first half.
Dyer 7.5 Did well, mostly on the right. One excellent run in stoppage time to set up a good chance for Briscoe
Stevenson 7 Some good surges in the first half, good effort on the half-volley early on, showed some superb skill with an amazing piece of control in the first half.
Meikle 6 Some trickery on the wing, and did ok, but the end product wasn’t quite there tonight with a couple of poor crosses, and weak shots.
Green 7 Worked tirelessly, despite being a little isolated on his own up front. Missed good chance when through 1-on-1.

Sub Line Up:
Briscoe (for Stevenson, 71) - Looked lively with a couple of snap shots, and nearly won it in stoppage time.
Subs not used: Redmond, O'Neill, Kelly, Rodney.
Opposition Line Up:
McKeown, Townsend, I'Anson, Antwi, Wood, McCarthy, Disley, Panther (Thanoj 77), Coulson, Elding (Duffy 83), Hearn. Subs not used: Silk, Artus, Pearson.
J Hopkins 6 One or two strange decisions but got the major decisions right I think

Season 11/12 Reports