APPALLING STAGS ANNIHILATED BY GRIMSBY
Grimsby Town 7 - 2 Mansfield Town
Bore 5, 50, 89, Coulson 6, Connell 55, 80, Kempson 69. Duffy 44, Briscoe 56
Attendance: 3654 (518 from Mansfield)
Martin Shaw at Blundell Park
Mansfield Town were unbelievably bad to concede seven goals at Grimsby this afternoon, after the wonderful performance scoring five goals at Cambridge just 4 days ago. It was such an astonishing contrast that it is barely credible. The 7 goals conceded is the worst since a 7-2 defeat at Cambridge in March 1999 that I recall led manager Steve Parkin into panic measures of more or less changing his squad. The Stags were just abysmal throughout the side, with woeful individual performances especially in defence contributing to the shocking team display. Only Louis Briscoe, who did ok on the right side of midfield, can escape criticism. The Stags have 48 hours to sort themselves out defensively and bounce back at home to bottom club Altrincham on Monday.
Man of the Match: Louis Briscoe
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
Stags lose on New Year's Day for 11th year in succession - Grimsby 7 Mansfield Town 2, Saturday 1st January
CHAD report by John Lomas
IT was anything but a Happy New Year for Mansfield Town as they crumbled to an embarrassing 7-2 defeat at Grimsby Town today.
No-one saw this coming after the thrilling 5-1 away win at Cambridge in midweek as the Mariners ran riot in the second half, having edged the first 45 minutes 2-1.
After three wins and a draw, it was a bitter first taste of defeat in charge for new boss Duncan Russell who has experienced the extreme highs and lows of football in five topsy-turvy days.
Stags had been stung by two early Grimsby goals inside the first seven minutes – the second a lucky deflection - but stayed with it and gave themselves a chance when Rob Duffy pulled one back just before half-time.
Sadly the second half saw a repeat of the first as again the visitors shipped two more goals in the first 10 minutes after the restart.
Louis Briscoe replied soon after with a wonder strike from long range on the right.
But the home side then really turned on the style as they tore the visitors' defence to shreds with Peter Bore completing a hat-trick and the brilliant Alan Connell curling home two exquisite free kicks to make it 18 for the season for him.
The final whistle could not come soon enough with Russell suggesting after the game that complacency may have been to blame and apologised to the travelling supporters, assuring this would be a one off.
At least Mansfield do have a quick chance to restore some pride with a home clash looming with Altrincham on Monday.
But Russell may need to re-examine his wanted list for this month's transfer window if his side capitulate this easily.
Chairman John Radford missed the game with a heavy cold and the result – the worst result since March 1999 - will hardly have helped him feel any better.
Incredibly it was also an 11th straight New Year's Day defeat for Mansfield too!
The Mariners made a positive start to the game with an immediate attack down the right that saw Connell and Cummins both have shots blocked in succession.
Sinclair committed the game's first foul in the second minute and was rather surprisingly booked for it.
But the home side grabbed a fifth minute lead after catching Stags out with a quickly taken throw in from the halfway line on the left by Ridley.
That sent Connell scampering into space and from the by-line he delivered a hard, low cross for the incoming Bore who, unmarked, tucked away his second goal of the season.
The New Year became even bleaker two minutes later as a speculative 20 yard effort from Coulson took a wicked deflection off Cook and what would have been a routine save from Pilkington saw the keeper wrongfooted as the ball span inside his right hand post.
Stags finally threatened on 10 minutes as Briscoe turned smartly on a half-cleared first corner and drilled a rising shot over from 18 yards.
Connell was furious after going down off the ball and then pointing an accusing finger at Day, but the officials had seen nothing untoward and the cards stayed in the referee's pocket.
Pilkington then came to Mansfield's rescue on 15 minutes with a fine low save to his left to turn away Connell's measured finish after a scramble in the Mansfield box.
But the Stags keeper's blushes were spared soon after when Briscoe toe-poked to safety after Pilkington had uncharacteristically spilled a harmless Cummins effort.
Bore almost doubled his tally after bursting down the centre after some swift exchanges of passing from the Mariners but Pilkington was put quickly to smother the ball almost at the midfielder's feet.
A Briscoe cross was only just too high for Parker while Pilkington was always behind a low Bore shot as a busy game ebbed and flowed.
Grimsby almost made it 3-0 on 33 minutes as Coulson got past Cook on the left and crossed into the centre where Ademeno controlled and beat Pilkington with a rising shot only to see it smack against the crossbar.
Murray was rightly booked for a late challenge on Sinclair a minute later.
Connell continued to look a major threat every time the ball came near him, trying his luck from 35 yards and soon after spinning well to shoot straight at Pilkington from 20 yards.
Istead might have halved the arrears on 38 minutes as a cleared free kick ran invitingly to him 20 yards out but he failed to get the ball on target to the home fans' jeers.
However, the visitors were back in the game a minute from the break from a hopeful long ball forward.
Far from being the favourite, Duffy did superbly well to get in between the keeper and defender Adkinson as it dropped to loop a header into the unguarded net from 14 yards.
There was panic for Stags in the third minute of stoppage time, though, as Briscoe launched himself into a tasty tackle on Ridley on the touchline which left the Grimsby man writhing around on the grass.
But with the home fans baying for a red card, after calming down the pushing and shoving, the referee finally produced a yellow and Mansfield could breathe again.
Stags produced the first danger of the second half from a counter-attack which saw Duffy force Arthur to save from a tight angle at his near post.
Then Grand was too high with a close range header from a Mansfield corner.
But the half was only six minutes old when disaster struck again for the visitors.
This time the Mariners got into the box on the left and Coulson was all too easily allowed to send the ball across the face of goal from the by-line were Bore was standing unmarked at the far post for the simplest of tap-ins.
Connell sent a powerful free kick straight into the Mansfield wall. But soon after Stags conceded another kick right on the edge of the box on 55 minutes and this time Connell curled it over the wall and, although Pilkington got a hand to it, he could not keep it out the net.
That looked to be game over for the visitors but two minutes later Briscoe conjured up a goal from nothing to make it 4-2 and offer a chink of light to Mansfield.
With nothing else on, Briscoe tried his luck from 35 yards out wide on the right and the ball flew into the top corner past a shellshocked Arthur.
With just over half an hour to play, Stags sent on top scorer Connor in place of Parker.
The visitors stepped up their urgency and forced three corners in a fine spell of pressure that had the away fans in full cry.
Bore went on a good run down the right and, with everyone expecting the cross, he almost caught out Pilkington with a shot from a tight angle, the keeper turning it round at his near post.
But Grimsby sealed the points from the resulting 69th minute corner, the ball skimming off the top of Murray's head across goal towards Kempson who buried a towering header from 10 yards out.
Sub Peacock was only inches over with a 20 yard dipping volley against his former employers.
With nine minutes to go Grand was booked for tripping Connell just outside the box in a central position. And the Mariners star stepped up to curl another delightful free kick into the net in off the inside of the post to take his season's tally to 19 goals.
Three minutes from the end he was only narrowly over with yet another free kick from a similar position and a minute late sent a bicycle kick into the sidenetting from Bore's chip.
Now showboating to the cheers of the home fans, Connell's clever backheel sent Bore into acres of space a minute from time and he ran on before steering a low finish for his hat-trick past a helpless Pilkington, with most of the away fans already having departed and punch-drunk Stags desperate for the final whistle.
GRIMSBY: Arthur, Bore, Ridley, Kempson, Cummins, Ademeno (Peacock 61), Coulson (Eagle 74), Connell, Wood, Sinclair (Hudson 77), Atkinson. Subs not used: Garner, Croudson.
STAGS: Marriott; Cook, Day, Grand, Sandwith; Briscoe, Murray, Istead, Smith (Mitchley 70); Duffy, Parker (Connor 59). Subs not used: Mills, Naylor, Collett.
REFEREE: R West.
ATTENDANCE: 3,654 (518 away).
CAUTIONS: Grimsby – Sinclair 2mins, Coulson 42mins, Wood 59mins. Stags – Murray 34mins, Briscoe 45 (+3)mins, Grand 80mins.
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Louis Briscoe.
Mansfield crash to sorry defeat at hands of Grimsby
Evening Post report (Matt Halfpenny was ill and absent)
NEW Mansfield Town boss Duncan Russell experienced the other side of the footballing coin on Saturday as his midweek heroes took the club's New Year's Day hoodoo to a new, embarrassing low at Blundell Park.
Incredibly the Stags have now lost 11 successive New Year's Day games, but no one guessed this seven-goal humiliation was round the corner after the splendid midweek 5-1 win at Cambridge United.
You have to go way back to March 1999 when Stags last conceded seven – ironically at Cambridge – where Lee Peacock was one of Mansfield's two goalscorers in a 7-2 humiliation.
On Saturday Peacock was one of two ex-Stags in a Grimsby shirt, joining Scott Garner on the bench, but it was hat-trick hero Peter Bore and the electric two-goal Alan Connell who grabbed the goalscoring headlines on a day that couldn't end quickly enough for the visitors.
It was an ignominious way for Russell's unbeaten four game run in charge of the side to end and a real wake-up call to a side sitting tantalisingly close to the play-off spots. With Russell rightly citing a touch of complacency as a major cause of this humbling.
Grimsby had not played a league game since November 20 and were certainly champing at the bit as they came out all guns blazing and had a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes.
A moment's lack of concentration by the unchanged visitors began their downfall after only five minutes when Lee Ridley's quickly-taken throw caught Stags on the hop down the left, allowing Connell to cross for an unmarked Bore to turn past Kevin Pilkington.
The second goal came via a huge slice of fortune for the Mariners as Michael Coulson's tame 25-yard effort clipped Steve Cook to leave Pilkington little chance to change direction as the ball span inside his right-hand post.
It was at this point that manager Russell would have wanted his side to react and Adam Murray and Steve Istead take a grip in midfield.
Instead Mansfield looked visibly dazed, like a boxer trying to go on after taking a count, and were it not for a Pilkington save to deny Connell and then Charles Ademeno's effort crashing against the crossbar, it could have all been over by the break.
Instead a superb moment of opportunism by Rob Duffy, who had another excellent game up front, put Mansfield unexpectedly back in the game a minute from half-time. He leapt highest to get a head on Rhys Day's long punt forward as keeper Kenny Arthur and Robert Adkinson jumped with him in vain, the ball dropping into the empty net.
The visitors began the second half brightly with Duffy and Simon Grand going close. But Mansfield's afternoon was left in tatters by two more quickfire Mariners goals.
A close range tap-in by Bore restored the two-goal advantage on 51 minutes from Coulson's low cross, and four minutes later Connell curled in the first of two sweet free kicks from the edge of the box.
Incredibly, within two minutes Briscoe kept the visitors' faint hopes alive with a blockbuster shot from 35-yards out wide on the right that found the top corner.
But, after Pilkington had saved from Bore at his near post on 69 minutes, Darran Kempson headed home from the corner and any last scraps of Stags resistance were over.
The Mariners now began to really enjoy their afternoon with some thrilling attacking play and pulled a Mansfield defence that had looked so tight recently all over the park.
Two more goals resulted, though it could have been more, the unstoppable Connell curling in his second free kick on 81 minutes and Bore completing his triple a minute from time after being sent away by a brilliant Connell backheel.
It was clear from this display that 19-goal Connell is destined for much better things as he showed why he is the terrace hero at Blundell Park.
And the result was also a stark reminder how unforgiving this league is with consistency paramount to any side harbouring ambitions of getting out of it. Winning 5-1 and then losing 7-2 is about as far from consistent as you get.
Chairman John Radford, who mercifully missed this mauling with illness, has already had one discussion with Russell about spending in the transfer window.
Doubtless today's home game with Altrincham couldn't come quickly enough for the current side as they try to prove they are not a weak link that needs attention.
GRIMSBY Town made the perfect start to 2011 with a crushing win over Mansfield Town at Blundell Park.
The Mariners made sure it was a happy new year for their supporters with a top quality performance and seven of the best goals seen in Cleethorpes for a long time.
The scoring started on five minutes, when Peter Bore hit the first of what would turn out to be a hat-trick.
Michael Coulson doubled the home advantage two minutes later and it was all Grimsby for most of the half, until Mansfield were handed a lifeline through Rob Duffy just before half-time.
The away side caused an early scare after the break but normal service was soon restored, with Bore getting his second and Connell scoring the first of a brace of fantastic free kicks.
Louis Briscoe pulled one back for the visitors but Town were not finished and goals from Darran Kempson, a second for Connell and Bore's third put the gloss on a wonderful afternoon's entertainment.
Town went into their first game since the FA Trophy win over Redditch on December 11 with an unchanged starting XI from that game.
That meant Kenny Arthur began in goal, protected by a back four of Bradley Wood, Kempson, Rob Atkinson and Lee Ridley.
Bore took up a position on the right side of a four-man midfield which also included Micky Cummins, Dean Sinclair and Coulson, with Connell and Charles Ademeno again preferred as the attacking combination.
The substitutes were also unchanged from the 3-0 victory against the Midlanders, meaning it was once again Mark Hudson, Scott Garner, Lee Peacock, Rob Eagle and Steve Croudson who were warming the Grimsby bench.
Garner in particular would be looking to get onto the pitch, having signed for the Mariners from Mansfield, where he had captained the team and gained England C international recognition.
The visitors made the relatively short trip from Nottinghamshire full of confidence after a thumping 5-1 away victory at Cambridge on Tuesday.
Their starting XI included plenty of Football League experience, including ex-Notts County keeper Kevin Pilkington, former Lincoln City left-back Kevin Sandwith and one-time Blackpool striker Keigen Parker.
Also lining up for the Stags was defender Simon Grand, who had a brief stint at Blundell Park during Alan Buckley's third spell in charge.
Town kicked off attacking the Osmond Stand and they nearly had the perfect start with a chance in the first minute but Ademeno's shot from a low Bore cross was blocked, before Connell's follow-up attempt also hit a Stags defender.
Sinclair was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon with just two minutes on the clock for a challenge near the halfway line.
Grimsby took the lead on five minutes as they consolidated their good start to the game. A throw-in from Ridley inside the Mansfield half found Connell in plenty of space and his low cross was rifled in at the far post by BORE.
After taking the lead, Town set off straight away in search of more goals and they doubled their advantage within three minutes. This time, it was COULSON who cut inside on the edge of the area and hit a shot from 20 yards that took a big deflection before dropping into the net at the near post.
Mansfield's first good opportunity of the game came soon afterwards, with winger Louis Briscoe trying his luck from 25 yards, although his effort was always rising as it cleared Arthur's bar.
Connell went down holding his face after an off-the-ball challenge from Grand but despite strong protests from the striker, the referee took no action.
Another good chance came for the hosts on 15 minutes, when Connell turned on the edge of the box and fired a shot towards the bottom corner that Pilkington did well to turn around the post for a corner.
From the flag, Ridley played a short routine before delivering a high ball to the far post that was headed wide by Kempson.
After being without a league game for more than a month, the Mariners had made an explosive start on their return to action, completely dominating the early stages of the game and building a lead to reflect that dominance.
A great, flowing move from the Mariners nearly led to an opening on 28 minutes, after Connell, Ademeno and Bore all linked up inside the Mansfield half. Bore was the man who was eventually released down the middle but his touch was too heavy and Pilkington raced off his line to halt the danger.
Bore shot from 20 yards three minutes later after he was picked out by Connell but the attempt was straight at Pilkington.
Seconds later, Ademeno was inches away from scoring his first goal for Town after a good run down the left by Coulson. He fed the former Crawley striker inside the box and Ademeno lifted a left-footed shot over Pilkington but could only watch it bounce back off the crossbar.
Mansfield's Adam Murray was booked for a bad foul on Sinclair just inside the Town half but the Mariners could not profit from the free kick.
It was still all Grimsby as the half-hour mark came and went and the lively Connell crafted another chance for himself with a superb turn but his 20-yard shot was comfortable for Pilkington.
At the other end, Mansfield chances were proving to be few and far between, with Arthur not called into action as midfielder Steven Istead hammered a rare Stags shooting opportunity high and wide.
Bore won a corner five minutes before the break after an attempted cross was blocked by Sandwith. The kick from Ridley was poor and Mansfield looked to break but they were stopped in their tracks by a foul from Coulson, who was yellow-carded.
Mansfield had caused very few problems throughout the half but they were gifted a route back into the contest two minutes before half-time, when a mix-up between Arthur and his centre-backs over a bouncing ball from Sandwith's cross allowed DUFFY to nip in and nod over the keeper to halve the deficit.
A late challenge from Briscoe on Ridley on the Town left earned the Mansfield man a yellow card as the game moved into added time. The home supporters wanted a harsher punishment for the winger and referee Mr West was given a reception frostier than the recent weather as he walked off the pitch at half-time.
Overall, it had been a fantastic first half for the home side, who had been in control throughout, but the mood was soured slightly by the one moment of indecision that had let the visitors back into the game with Duffy's goal.
It had been a very competitive opening 45 minutes, with some tasty challenges going in from both sides and the referee being forced to act by flashing his yellow card on four occasions.
No changes were made ahead of the restart and Mansfield had the first chance to create some danger with a Murray free kick from the left that was headed clear by Kempson.
A quick break from the visitors led to a low cross being sent in by Briscoe but Arthur got down to make the stop.
Soon afterwards, a corner from the Mansfield left led to Grand heading over the bar in front of their travelling supporters.
The away side had made the better start to the half but Grimsby's two-goal advantage was restored on 51 minutes. Coulson ran into the box and after the ball was played across the six-yard line, BORE was there to tap in his second of the game.
And just as they had done in the first half, the Mariners went straight onto the attack again and scored a second early goal. This time, it came from a free kick on the edge of the box, as CONNELL stepped up to curl a magnificent effort in at the near post. Pilkington got a hand to it but couldn't stop the ball hitting the net.
But the away side were not about to let that be the only wonder goal of the game, as they hit back almost immediately with a 35-yard screamer from BRISCOE that whizzed past Arthur for 4-2.
The long wait for live football at Blundell Park was looking worthwhile as the fans were treated to a wealth of New Year entertainment.
Mansfield used their first substitution of the game to introduce top scorer Paul Connor, while Town boss Woods responded by replacing Ademeno with Lee Peacock.
Kempson headed the ball out for a corner after a Sandwith free kick was chipped towards the far post but the flag-kick was headed away by Wood.
Another corner, this time on the opposite side, was sent in by Adam Smith soon afterwards and this time, it was pushed away from danger by Arthur.
Mansfield were enjoying a good spell of possession and territory as they looked to grab the third goal that would have led to a very nervy finish for the home supporters in the stadium.
But the Mariners were still out for more goals themselves and they nearly had a fifth when Bore forced a good save from Pilkington with a fierce drive from a narrow angle inside the box.
From the resulting corner, Grimsby did get their fifth goal when Ridley's delivery was flicked on by Mansfield's Murray into the path of KEMPSON, who nodded in at the far post with 70 minutes gone.
The second Town change saw Rob Eagle come on in place of Coulson, who had enjoyed one of his best games of the season.
Peacock went close with a 25-yard volley that looped just over the bar, before Mark Hudson replaced Sinclair in what was the final Grimsby substitution of the game.
Connell was brought down on the edge of the penalty area on 77 minutes and it led to the Mariners' sixth goal. Again, it was CONNELL who took it and incredibly, he found the net again with his second free kick of the day, curing a sumptuous shot beyond Pilkington at his near post.
Amazingly, the scoring was still not over though, as it was left to BORE to complete the rout - and his hat-trick - by finishing off another flowing move with a low shot that arrowed into the far corner of the net from 16 yards.
That put the gloss on the best Grimsby performance for some time, as Neil Woods' men re-started their league campaign by sending out a real statement of intent to the rest of the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The Mariners will now look to build further by getting a positive result in their next game, at Histon, on Monday.
Latest | January 2011