Match Report | Grimsby Town 2 – 0 Mansfield Town

Grimsby Town kept their hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds of the Papa John’s Trophy alive with a comfortable victory over Mansfield Town at Blundell Park.

Otis Khan marked a lively Mariners debut with his first goal for the club to break the deadlock on 16 minutes, before Danilo Orsi also opened his account in the black and white shirt as he made it 2-0 six minutes before the break.

Mansfield had much more of the ball after the interval following a dominant first-half performance by Town, although despite a string of corners, the visitors rarely threatened a comeback and were unable to force their way back into the contest.

Grimsby manager Paul Hurst rotated his squad to make eight changes from the starting XI that began the league win at Colchester on Saturday.

Max Crocombe, Michee Efete and Harry Clifton were the three to start both games, with Niall Maher, Khan, Keyendrah Simmonds and Orsi all coming in to make their first starts.

Goalkeeper Crocombe was protected by a defence of Efete, Maher, Shaun Pearson and Danny Amos, with Jordan-Maguire-Drew, Clifton, Evan Khouri and Khan making up the midfield and Simmonds linking up with Orsi in attack.

The substitutes were Ollie Battersby, Anthony Glennon, Andy Smith, Stephen Wearne, Aribim Pepple, Gavan Holohan and Lewis Richardson.

Mansfield also made eight changes following their League Two win at Gillingham on Saturday, with Kellan Gordon, Anthony Hartigan and Stephen McLaughlin starting both games.

The visitors were looking to make it two wins out of two in the Trophy after beating Manchester City U21 in their first fixture, while the Mariners lost their opening group match to Derby and knew another defeat tonight would mean they would not be able to go through to the knockout stages.

Town’s first chance came on three minutes when Clifton played a great ball through for Khan but the former Mansfield man could only hit keeper Scott Flinders with his low shot.

Will Swan saw an attempt blocked at the other end after a cross from Kellan Gordon, before a deep cross by Amos was headed away by James Perch before it could reach Orsi.

A late challenge on James Gale gave the away side a free kick midway inside the Town half on 13 minutes and from it, they had an opportunity when Hartigan’s delivery was met by Jordan Bowery at the far post.  Fortunately for the hosts, he sent his header over the bar.

Soon afterwards, the Mariners took the lead when Maguire-Drew played a pass though for KHAN and this time, he made no mistake as he took the ball around Flinders before rolling it into the net to mark his debut with a goal.

Simmonds let fly with a volley from distance as Town immediately looked to double their advantage but it was straight at Flinders and he was able to gather the ball at the second attempt.

An offside decision against Simmonds stopped another attack, before a low shot by Maguire-Drew was comfortably stopped as the Mariners continued to dominate.

A low cross from Gordon on the away right was cleared by Pearson but a foul seconds later gave them a free kick in a dangerous position, again on the right.  Hartigan’s ball was headed over the bar for a goal kick.

Orsi had the ball in the net on 23 minutes as he finished a nice move by the home side but the offside flag had already gone up against Maguire-Drew, so the lead remained at one goal.

Orsi was involved again soon afterwards when he sent a shot over the bar after Clifton had done well to win the ball.

Mansfield were forced into the game’s first substitution on the half-hour when Hartigan went down with an injury and was unable to continue.  George Maris was sent on in his place.

Swan slid a low shot just wide of Crocombe’s far post as the visitors looked for an equaliser, then the keeper got down to make a good stop from another shot by the striker, this time from a narrow angle at his near post.

John-Joe O’Toole was shown the first yellow card of the game on 33 minutes for a foul on Khan.

Town remained on top and six minutes before the break, they got the second goal their performance so far had deserved.  This time, it was ORSI who ran onto a through-ball from Simmonds and after taking a touch, he kept his composure to send a cool, low finish past Flinders from 18 yards.

Crocombe got down to stop a shot from Kieran Wallace on 44 minutes, then a foul by O’Toole on Khan gave Town a free kick in a promising position at the other end.  Khan’s delivery into the box was headed clear by Bowery.

Three added minutes were played at the end of the first half and a foul on Clifton brought  another free kick, although this time, the offside flag went up as the ball was played into the penalty area from it.

An interception by Khouri allowed the midfielder to launch another attack in the closing seconds of the half but after he picked out Orsi, the striker could not get the ball under control.

That meant the Mariners went in at the interval with a two-goal cushion, which was a fair reflection of the half.

Pepple and Wearne replaced Khan and Simmonds for Town before play resumed, with former Mariner Elliott Hewitt coming on for Mansfield in place of McLaughlin.

Two early away corners were dealt with by the home defence, with Perch eventually volleying at Crocombe.

Efete did well to deflect a Bowery shot wide for another corner on 49 minutes but Perch’s flicked header flew wide of the far post.

Crocombe pushed a strike from Bowery around his post for yet another corner as the visitors’ promising start to the half continued but again, the ball from the flag caused no significant problems.

A foul on Clifton gave Town a free kick on the right on 56 minutes but Maguire-Drew’s ball into the box was headed clear.

Another free kick came when Pepple was brought down near the left edge of the Mansfield penalty area.  Maguire-Drew’s delivery was headed away as far as Clifton, who fired over the bar from 20 yards.

A far-post Pepple header was blocked for a corner on 58 minutes and from it, the hosts went close to extending their lead further but a brilliant reflex save from Flinders saw him get a hand to  the ball as it looked to be heading for the top corner of the net.

Pearson was booked for dissent on the hour, before a free kick from Stephen Quinn on the Mansfield left was headed away by Clifton.

Gale fired over the bar as the visitors kept looking for a way back into the game, before a foul by Wearne gave them a free kick in a dangerous position on the right.  Hewitt’s delivery beat everybody though and after the ball was sent back into the box from the left, Crocombe was not troubled.

Gordon was replaced by Jason Law for the away side after picking up an injury with 20 minutes to go, then Pepple was penalised for an infringement as he looked to make progress towards the penalty area.

Two further Mansfield substitutions were made on 73 minutes, with George Lapslie replacing Quinn and Riley Harbottle coming on for Wallace.

The away side won a corner on the right soon afterwards but it was comfortably cleared, then another corner came and went without Crocombe being tested.

Town had a great chance to make it 3-0 on 76 minutes when Pepple and Orsi linked up well to start an attack on the halfway line.  Orsi made progress down the right before playing Pepple through on goal but the Luton loanee sent his shot just wide.

Richardson replaced Maguire-Drew for the hosts with 12 minutes to go, before another Mansfield corner eventually led to a header dropping wide of Crocombe’s target.

The away side’s eighth corner of the game came on 87 minutes but failed to cause any major problems and a double substitution for Grimsby moments later saw Holohan and Glennon come on for Clifton and Orsi.

Town closed out the remainder of the game, including three minutes of added time, as Mansfield’s challenge faded, with the hosts securing a clean sheet to go with their victory.

It means the Mariners, Derby and Mansfield are all on three points in the Northern Group F table, with Town’s remaining fixture to come next month against Manchester City U21.

Before that, the focus turns back to the league programme, starting with Saturday’s home match against Swindon Town.


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