STAGS CONTINUE RUN WITH FABULOUS WIN AT GRIMSBY
English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Grimsby Town 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 5931 (865 from Mansfield)
Date: 1 January 2019
Martin Shaw at Blundell Park
Mansfield Town continued the remarkable unbeaten run with a fabulous and thoroughly deserved win at in-form Grimsby Town thanks to a bullet header from Neal Bishop midway through the first half. The win extended Mansfield’s club record unbeaten run away from home to 15 away games. And the Stags are unbeaten home and away for 17 games, the club’s best since a 20 game unbeaten run in 1976. Grimsby came in to the game in great form having won five successive home league games and four successive league games home and away. But Mansfield produced a fine display to complete a thoroughly convincing victory which in truth should have been by more than a single goal.
The only goal came from a corner from the right by Jacob Mellis on 22 minutes. Bishop met it with a bullet of a header from 12 yards which flew past James McKeown in the Grimsby goal. Quite different to his two other goals this season, at West Brom and Morecambe, but every bit as spectacular. The corner came from a shot from CJ Hamilton where he just had the keeper to beat but McKeown got something on it to turn it wide after great set-up play by Tyler Walker. Then Walker had a glorious chance to extend the lead on 35 minutes as Mal Benning headed down Hayden White’s cross and Walker took the ball off Hamilton’s toe to shoot inches wide from 12 yards with the keeper completely beaten. The Grimsby defence was makeshift with several defenders out through suspension and injury and was being made to look it. Only one real chance for Grimsby in the first half as McKeown’s huge punt forward skewed off Sweeney into the area putting Wes Thomas through 1-on-1 with Conrad Logan but Thomas completely missed his kick as Logan was out quickly to make himself look big.
Early in the second half Logan made two good saves, both from Elliott Embleton. The Stags had a golden chance to seal the game on 74 minutes as Mellis headed forward into the area following a Benning corner, and Walker only had the keeper to beat but McKeown pulled off a great save as Walker sunk to his knees in frustration. Then Hamilton did well to get into the area and his low shot was again very well saved by McKeown on 90 minutes. There was one heart-stopping moment for the Stags, on 89 minutes, when sub Charles Vernam got goalside of Matt Preston just inside the area on the left near the byline, and went down. From the pitchside footage Preston had his arm on Vernam’s back but the referee probably decided Vernam went down too easily. I think some referees could have given it but the referee made the right call here, and he was in a perfect position to view it.
The full time whistle brought great celebrations from the 865 Stags fans, the players and management. It was Mansfield’s first win at Grimsby since 1987, and very enjoyable it was. That win in 1987 was by 3-2, and a game I particularly remember because it was the last time I missed the kick-off in a Stags game, arriving 15 minutes late and vowing not to let that happen again!
Happy New Year everyone!
FULL REPORT IN THE MATCH CENTRE
Mansfield Town keep run going with win at Grimsby Town
chad.co.uk, by SPORTS REPORTER (Agency), Tuesday 01 January 2019
Mansfield Town kicked off 2019 in fine style with a 1-0 win at Grimsby. David Flitcroft’s promotion chasers started the New Year as they mean to go on by extending their impressive unbeaten league run to 17 games. Neal Bishop bagged his first goal since the middle of October to separate the two sides at Blundell Park. Flitcroft made a solitary change to the side which settled for a point against Swindon Town last time out. Timi Elsnik dropped to the bench as striker Danny Rose returned to the starting line-up for the first time since November. Conrad Logan was the star during the draw against Swindon and he made a good early save to keep out Grimsby goal getter Wes Thomas from close range. The Stags upped the ante after almost going behind. Tyler Walker’s probing ball evaded the returning Rose, before the latter clubbed a volley wide. Walker then played CJ Hamilton in behind, only for James McKeown to produce a super stop to keep the game goalless. But the high-flying visitors weren’t to be denied for long as Bishop’s bullet header broke the deadlock in the 21st minute. And it was almost two when Walker’s rip-roaring effort flew just wide. Down the other end Logan once again denied Thomas, this time tipping his strike past the post. And minutes after the restart Logan had to be up to his best once again to keep out loanee Elliot Embleton. The Stags missed chances to wrap the game up. With a quarter of an hour remaining Walker was denied from point-blank range by a brilliant McKeown save after being found by Jacob Mellis. Matt Preston then headed wide when he should have hit the target. Substitue Elsnik almost put the game to bed late on when he fired wide. Hamilton’s firmly struck effort was well saved by McKeown at the death.
Grimsby: McKeown, Rose, Hall-Johnson, Hendrie, Fox (Woolford, 45), Embleton, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Pringle (Rose, 62), Thomas, Cardwell (Vernam, 79). Unused subs: Russell, Welsh, Pollock, Cook.
Mansfield: Logan, Preston, Pearce, Sweeney, White, Mellis, Bishop, Rose (Elsnik, 62), Benning, Hamilton, Walker. Unused subs: Kean, Graham, Law, Butcher, Khan, Atkinson.
Referee: Matt Donohue Attendance: 5,931 (865)
Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/mansfield-town-keep-run-going-with-win-at-grimsby-town-1-9515454
Grimsby Town 0-1 Mansfield Town
REPORT as Neal Bishop scores first-half winner
Grimsby Town had won four straight League Two matches heading into their lunchtime clash with Mansfield Town
By James Findlater
Grimsby Town’s winning run over the festive period came to an end at Blundell Park as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mansfield Town.
Neal Bishop’s first half header proved enough for the Stags to take all three points in a fractious game, with the Mariners perhaps showing the effects of their busy schedule.
Having lost another member of the defensive unit at Exeter on Saturday, Michael Jolley was once again forced to mix things up among his back four.
In came Mitch Rose to replace the suspended Alex Whitmore and take his place at right-back, with Luke Hendrie moving into the centre alongside Reece Hall-Johnson, who had performed so admirably at St James Park.
Elsewhere, Ben Pringle returned to the line-up after his rest against the Grecians, taking the place of Saturday’s goal-scorer Martyn Woolford.
The Mariners went on the attack immediately from kick-off, with Jake Hessenthaler reacting quickly to pick up the loose ball on halfway before laying off to Elliot Embleton, who couldn’t get enough dip on his shot to test Conrad Logan.
Moments later, Wes Thomas looked to have had a golden chance to give the hosts the lead when the ball bounced kindly after Harry Cardwell’s flick-on, but Logan and Krystian Pearce combined to close the striker down and deny him the chance to get a clean shot at goal.
The visitors had their first real attempt at goal just after 20 minutes when Tyler Walker played the ball through to CJ Hamilton, but James McKeown was quick off his line as he continued his heroics from the weekend to deny the forward at close range.
From the resultant corner, though, the Stags took the lead - although the Mariners might have one or two arguments as to whether the scorer should have still been on the pitch.
Former Scunthorpe United midfielder Neal Bishop - who had earlier raised his hands to Embleton and thrown the Sunderland loanee to the ground - found some space in the centre of the penalty area before powering his header home.
Walker spurned a great opportunity to double his side’s lead when the ball broke for him inside the penalty area, but with team-mate Mal Benning going for the same ball and perhaps putting him off, the on-loan Nottingham Forest striker dragged his shot wide.
The Stags maintained their lead going into the break, although the Mariners immediately went in search of an equaliser after coming back out for the second half, with Embleton forcing Conrad into a couple of good saves.
Ryan Sweeney spurned a good opportunity at the other end from Benning’s cross from the left, as the game grew more and more fractious with referee Matthew Donohue failing to get any firm grasp on proceedings.
Walker was presented with a golden opportunity to add to his tally this season when he found himself one-on-one with McKeown, but the Town skipper came out on top again as he blocked the striker’s effort.
Despite throwing all the firepower they could at their opponents, the Mariners couldn’t find the equaliser as their recent winning form came to an end.
Mansfield defeat a game too far for Grimsby Town as Neal Bishop escapes red card
The main talking points from as the former Scunthorpe United midfielder is lucky to escape punishment before scoring the winner
By James Findlater
Grimsby Town's winning run over the festive period is over after their 1-0 defeat at home to Mansfield Town earlier this afternoon.
Neal Bishop's first half header was all that separated the two sides in the end in a hard-fought battle at Blundell Park.
Here, sports writer James Findlater takes a look at some of the key talking points to come from the defeat...
A GAME TOO FAR
There can be no denying the Mariners’ effort in defeat against Mansfield, as they worked their socks off to try and find a way back into the game.
Ultimately, though, injuries, suspensions and a physically demanding festive schedule perhaps took their toll on Town.
After away days at Port Vale and Exeter in the space of just a few days, an early kick-off on New Year’s Day would have been the last thing Michael Jolley and his players would have wanted.
Add to that the injury crisis in defence and Alex Whitmore’s red card on Saturday leading to an even more makeshift look to the back four, and the fact that Town were still as competitive as they were is practically a minor miracle.
Given a proper week’s rest, it’s not inconceivable that the Mariners could have got more from the game - in the end, though, it was perhaps just a game too far.
(NOT) SEEING RED
Bishop must have been laughing at half-time after escaping any kind of punishment for his actions before heading his side to victory.
Just after ten minutes, and with Town having won a slightly contentious throw-in close to the Stags’ penalty area, Bishop - aggrieved at a few of referee Matthew Donohue’s decisions - seemingly gave a sarcastic thumbs up to the official. Certainly grounds for a booking.
Then, perhaps most bizarrely, the former Scunthorpe United man grabbed Elliot Embleton round the neck as the on-loan Sunderland man looked to run into the box, before throwing the 19-year-old to the floor.
How the referee saw fit to just give Bishop a talking to will take some explaining, especially with the midfielder going on to get the all-important winner.
It wasn’t the only questionable decision of the afternoon - Mitch Rose will no doubt be slightly confused after picking up a yellow card after making no contact whatsoever with Jacob Mellis in the second half.
There’s no doubting that Mansfield deserved their victory in the end, although it could have perhaps been different had Bishop got the punishment he deserved.
Despite falling to their first defeat in five games, there’s no doubt Town head into 2019 in a strong position.
Even in their loss, the Mariners showed the kind of work-rate and passion that we’ve become used to over recent months, with Jake Hessenthaler and Harry Clifton shining once again in midfield.
And having already put together a fine set of results over the festive period, they are certainly looking up in League Two.
The odd new signing here or there will be needed over the next month, as they are every season, but the nucleus of the side is there - it just needs strengthening now.
Jolley will know that, but he’ll also be delighted at the progress his side have made since that tough start to the season, so here’s to a happy new year for the Mariners - and let’s hope to see more of the same for the remainder of the season.