REPORT | Town defeated away at Mansfield

Grimsby Town suffered a Boxing Day defeat as they were beaten on the road by promotion-chasing Mansfield Town.

Both sides created several good chances in an open first half but the Mariners found themselves behind to Davis Keillor-Dunn’s deflected strike.

Arthur Gnahoua hit the post and Kieran Green struck the bar for Town but in the closing seconds before the break, they were dealt a major blow when George Maris made it 2-0.

Mansfield dominated the second half but Harvey Cartwright made a string of superb saves to stop them from adding to their lead.

Three changes were made to the Grimsby starting XI following the home defeat by Harrogate Town on Saturday, with Michee Efete, Green and Rekeil Pyke coming in for Toby Mullarkey, Alex Hunt and Abo Eisa.

Cartwright was in goal, with Efete, Harvey Rodgers, Niall Maher and Anthony Glennon forming the defence.  Kamil Conteh and Green sat behind Gnahoua, Harry Clifton and Pyke in midfield, with Danny Rose leading the line up front against his former club.

Mullarkey, Eisa and Hunt were all named on the bench, along with Jake Eastwood, Luke Waterfall, Gavan Holohan and Jamie Andrews.

Mansfield began the game a point and a place outside Sky Bet League Two’s automatic promotion places and knew a win would take them into second place ahead of the day’s other fixtures later in the afternoon.

Stags boss Nigel Clough made one alteration to the team which started their 2-0 away victory over Sutton United on Saturday, with Louis Reed replacing Ollie Clarke.

Pyke had the first opportunity of the game when he was found inside the penalty area by Gnahoua, although home goalkeeper Christy Pym got down to stop his deflected shot.

Maris fired over the bar from the edge of the box at the other end, then another strike by Pyke was kept out by Pym with his feet but Gnahoua was penalised for a handball from the rebound.

Gnahoua saw a powerful, 20-yard effort bounce wide off the post as Town’s bright opening to the contest continued, before a deflected shot by Maris earned the hosts the game’s first corner, which was headed wide by captain Aden Flint.

A low cross from Stephen Quinn was cut out for a throw-in by Maher, then Callum Johnson made progress from the right and hit a shot which was deflected out for a corner at the near post.

It proved to be the start of a spell of Mansfield pressure which produced two further corners in quick succession but both times, the Mariners’ defence dealt with the danger from the flag.

The home side were starting to get on top though and they took the lead on 19 minutes.  Maris played the ball to KEILLOR-DUNN and after making progress through the middle, his low, 20-yard strike got a heavy deflection which took it past Cartwright.

Rodgers was shown the first yellow card for a foul on Maris, before Efete created a opening on the Town right but when he crossed for Clifton, the midfielder was unable to get the ball under control.

A stoppage came for Pyke to receive treatment after going down with an injury and Town were briefly left with 10 men when the game restarted, until Eisa was sent on to replace him on 27 minutes.

Johnson was booked for bringing Eisa down, before Green hit the bar with a placed shot from just outside the box and Gnahoua’s rebound was well-blocked by the feet of Pym as the visitors started to come back into the game.

Glennon did well to win a corner on the left but his delivery from the flag was cleared after Rose was beaten to the header.

Cartwright saved from Quinn at the other end and the ball was cleared for a corner, which was headed behind for another one.  This time, the delivery from it was headed towards goal  by Flint but Cartwright produced an excellent reaction save to keep the score at 1-0.

A powerful drive from Lucas Akins flew over the bar, before a foul by Conteh on Akins gave the hosts another opportunity to attack from just inside the Town half.  The free kick was headed on for Quinn and he found Maris, whose shot was blocked by Maher.

Cartwright was called into action moments later to push a strike by Keillor-Dunn away from danger, then Maris fired wide from inside the box on 43 minutes as Mansfield continued to create chances.

Four additional minutes were played at the end of the first half and a foul on Efete gave the Mariners a free kick inside the home half in the first of them.  Glennon’s ball into the box was cleared and Conteh made a great challenge to stop Keillor-Dunn from breaking over the halfway line.

A volley from Rodgers was blocked for a corner after Gnahoua had done well to dispossess Jordan Bowery.  Glennon’s delivery from the right was cleared but Gnahoua won the ball back and a low strike by Eisa from the left went just wide of the far post.

Pym was booked for time-wasting in the closing seconds of the four minutes but there was still time for the hosts to double their advantage when MARIS found the space to drill a low shot past Cartwright and into the far corner of the net from distance.

The goal proved to be the last action of note before the interval and it meant that despite having plenty of possession and a number of chances throughout the first 45 minutes, Town were left with a mountain to climb if they were to get a positive result from the game.




Andrews came on for Gnahoua and Stephen McLaughlin replaced Johnson as both sides made a substitution before the restart.

Cartwright made a good block to deny Keillor-Dunn as the hosts created the first chance of the second half, before another great save from the Town stopper kept a curling shot by Quinn out.

Two corners in quick succession kept the home pressure up, then Keillor-Dunn hit the side-netting from a narrow angle after showing good skill to work an opening from the right.

Rose sent an acrobatic strike over the bar after Andrews touched a low cross from Efete on, before a weak effort from Lewis Brunt was comfortably stopped by Cartwright at the other end.

Another chance for the hosts came when Akins swept the ball out to Quinn on the right and his cross found Maris but Cartwright made a brilliant save from close range.

Eisa beat Bowery on the Town left to get into the box but the defender recovered to get back and win a challenge as the winger cut inside.

A Grimsby penalty appeal was waved away by the referee after Rose went down under a challenge from Flint and the home side broke, with a shot from Maris deflected away for a corner.

Cartwright was called into action again to block a Keillor-Dunn effort with his feet, then another opening came for the hosts when Keillor-Dunn played a great ball over the top for Maris but Town got numbers back and Glennon stopped the danger.

Rose side-footed a volley wide at the near post after a cross from Glennon on the left, before a home double-substitution saw Clarke and Rhys Oates replace Quinn and Maris.

Hunt and Holohan replaced Green and Conteh in the Town midfield with 15 minutes to go but Mansfield were still looking the more dangerous of the two sides and Keillor-Dunn won a corner on their right, which was headed clear by Rose.

Another corner came after Akins had played the ball through for Oates and this time, Cartwright made another great save as he got down to keep McLaughlin’s header out.

Keillor-Dunn planted a free header wide on 81 minutes as the home side kept looking for a third goal and he also had their next chance but fired over the bar after Bowery’s low cross.

That proved to be Keillor-Dunn’s last contribution s he was replaced by George Williams, with Will Swan coming on for Reed at the same time.

Akins put the ball in the net from close range but the goal was ruled out after the offside flag went up against Swan earlier in the move.

A Holohan cross was headed away at the other end before the ball could reach Rose, before Mansfield won their latest corner as the game moved into five added minutes.  Flint’s header from it was caught by Cartwright.

Hunt looked to have picked up an injury and was replaced by Mullarkey with three of the additional minutes left to play.

Rodgers slid in to cut out a low cross from the home left for a corner but Cartwright was in the right place yet again to block Flint’s attempt from close range.

That was the last opportunity for either side as the referee’s final whistle confirmed Mansfield’s victory.

Town will now aim to bounce back and return to wining ways when they travel to Salford City on Friday night.



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