Match Report: Mansfield Town 2-2 Grimsby Town

Grimsby Town extended their unbeaten run to four games as they twice came from behind to earn a draw at Mansfield Town.

The hosts dominated the first half but went in only one goal ahead at the break, with George Maris finding the net from 25 yards.

The Mariners improved after the restart and got a deserved equaliser when Lenell John-Lewis headed home from a corner.

They were level for just four minutes until Jason Law scored to put Mansfield ahead again but a brilliant free kick from substitute George Williams in added time made it 2-2.

Town poured forward afterwards in search of a winner and Williams, who had made a real difference after coming on at half-time, hit the post with a header.

But in the end, they had to be content with a fourth consecutive draw.

Three changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI after Wednesday’s draw with Tranmere, as Luke Waterfall, Ira Jackson Jr and Stefan Payne all came into the team.

Waterfall replaced Mansfield loanee Rollin Menayese, who was unable to play against his parent club, while Filipe Morais and James Hanson were the others to miss out.

James McKeown started in goal, with Luke Hendrie, Elliott Hewitt, Waterfall and Harry Clifton in defence as Jackson, Jay Matete, Giles Coke and Julien Lamy formed the midfield and John-Lewis partnered Payne in attack.

The substitutes were Ollie Battersby, Joe Starbuck, Danny Rose, Joe Adams, Luke Spokes, George Williams and Matt Green.

Mansfield began the game 16th in the League Two table, 11 points clear of the relegation zone and looking to put further distance between themselves and the bottom two with a win.

A Jackson long throw on four minutes gave Town their first chance to attack but the ball was headed clear.

A free kick for a foul on Lamy was also comfortably dealt with by the home defence, then a Mansfield attack ended when Kellan Gordon slipped as he tried to beat Clifton down the right.

Waterfall got back well to block a low cross from Harry Charsley after the midfielder had worked an opening inside the Town penalty area. The centre-back was also in the right place to head the resulting corner away.

At the other end, a free kick was cleared after John-Lewis had won the initial header but the hosts were starting to get on top and Waterfall had to concede another corner on 11 minutes after a run and cross from Gordon.

A foul by Lamy on Gordon gave Mansfield a free kick on the right on 17 minutes but McKeown was first to Maris’ delivery and he punched the ball clear, with Clifton then seeing it out for a goal kick after the hosts worked it back down the right.

The deadlock was broken on 20 minutes and it was the home side who took the lead as a move down the left led to the ball being played to MARIS, who sent a superb 25-yard drive past McKeown.

After a spell of home pressure as Mansfield immediately looked to add to their advantage, the Mariners had an opportunity to create some danger of their own with a free kick inside their opponents’ half. Hendrie’s ball was met by Waterfall but he was penalised for a foul.

Another chance for the home side came on 25 minutes with a free kick from the left as Mal Benning’s ball was met by Stephen McLaughlin but his header dropped just wide of the far post.

A Gordon cross was hacked clear by Hewitt for a throw-in as Mansfield continued to dominate, with Town unable to create any serious problems for home keeper Aidan Stone as the half-hour mark passed.

A foul on Jackson on the right brought an opportunity to change that but it was not taken as a high boot was spotted by the referee after Hendrie’s delivery and the hosts were given a free kick.

A stoppage came for Law to receive treatment after he went down with an injury on 36 minutes and after he was passed fit to continue, a speculative effort from McLaughlin was blocked, with McKeown racing to stop the ball from going out for a corner.

Payne and Gordon were spoken to by the referee after a tangle near the halfway line, then Town had an opportunity as the half moved into two added minutes after a poor clearance by Stone fell for Payne. The ball was eventually put out for a corner but Lamy’s delivery from the flag was headed clear by Bowery.

No further chances came before the half-time whistle, meaning Town went into the dressing rooms with a one-goal deficit.

Williams and Spokes replaced Coke and Lamy before the restart and an early Mansfield corner caused no problems as Jackson was fouled.

A spell of Town possession led to a free kick for a foul on Clifton in a central position, 30 yards out, but Williams could only send his shot over the bar from it.

Another free kick from Williams. this time on the left, was scrambled clear, as was a long throw soon afterwards as the Mariners continued to come into the game.

Jackson was shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul on defender James Perch, before another away free kick from the left was headed clear by Perch.

A free kick at the other end saw Benning find Bowery with a low ball but the striker’s shot was blocked.

Bowery sent a cross over from the left soon afterwards which was put behind for a corner. Maris’ ball from it was headed clear by Waterfall.

Williams won a corner at the other end on 63 minutes and from it, the Mariners found the equaliser which their efforts since half-time had deserved. Williams’ ball fell for JOHN-LEWIS and he headed past Stone for 1-1.

But they were not level for long as Mansfield reclaimed the advantage on 67 minutes. Benning took the ball down the left and pulled it back for LAW, who curled it past McKeown and into the corner of the net.

McLaughlin was booked for bringing Matete down midway inside the Mansfield half and before the free-kick was taken, Green replaced Jackson in Town’s third change. Williams’ ball was then headed over the bar by Waterfall.

McLaughlin and Reid were replaced by Ollie Sarkic and Stephen Quinn for the hosts on 74 minutes.

A foul on Law gave Mansfield a free kick soon afterwards but the ball from it was too far ahead of defender Farrend Rawson for him to make contact with it.

Another double-substitution saw Ryan Sweeney and Keaton Ward replace Maris and Law for the home side with 10 minutes to go.

Adams then came on for Matete in the black and white of the Mariners as they kept searching for a second equaliser.

Substitute Sarkic went down with an injury and had to come off with three minutes to go, as Jake Wright took his place.

As the game moved into five added minutes, the Mariners won a corner when a cross from the left was slid out at the near post by Rawson but the danger from the flag was dealt with.


A better opportunity came soon afterwards though as Williams was brought down in a central position, 25 yards out from goal. And after Sweeney was booked, WILLIAMS took full advantage as he stepped up to beat Stone with the free kick and make it 2-2.

Town now had the momentum and they poured forward in search of a winning goal, which nearly came as Williams hit the post with a header from a narrow-angle.

A foul on Clifton gave the Mariners one last chance to snatch all three points but this time, Williams was off-target with his free kick and the game ended level, with both sides taking a point.

Town are next in action on Tuesday, when they travel to Barrow.

Grimsby: McKeown, Hendrie, Hewitt, Waterfall, Clifton, Jackson, Matete, Coke, Lamy, John-Lewis, Payne; Subs: Battersby, Starbuck, Rose, Adams, Spokes, Williams, Green

Mansfield: Stone, Gordon, Rawson, Perch, Benning, Charsley, Maris, McLaughlin, Law, Bowery, Reid; Subs: Stech, Sweeney, Quinn, Sarkic, Wright, Ward, Sinclair


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