REPORT | Town held at BP by Mansfield

Grimsby Town and Mansfield Town shared the points after an entertaining Sky Bet League Two clash at Blundell Park.

The Mariners made a fast start and took the lead through an Abo Eisa thunderbolt on six minutes.

But after initially struggling to settle, the visitors worked their way back into the game and substitute Rhys Oates levelled the scores just before the hour.

Mansfield looked the more dangerous in attack as the clock ticked down but Town defended well to secure a deserved point and remain unbeaten at home this season.

Paul Hurst stuck with the same Grimsby starting XI that began the win against Salford on Tuesday.  That meant it was Jake Eastwood in goal and a defence of Toby Mullarkey, Harvey Rodgers, Luke Waterfall and Danny Amos.  Gavan Holohan and Kamil Conteh sat behind Arthur Gnahoua, Harry Clifton and Eisa in midfield, with Danny Rose again leading the attack.

Harvey Cartwright, Michee Efete, Kieran Green, Rekeil Pyke, Charles Vernam, Alex Hunt and Evan Khouri were all listed as substitutes.

Mansfield were looking for a second victory over the Mariners already this season, having won when the teams met in Nottinghamshire in the Carabao Cup.

Manager Nigel Clough lost a number of players to injury during their 2-2 draw at Doncaster Rovers in midweek but was still able to name a strong team, with Davis Keillor-Dunn and Lucas Akins expected to be among the main threats and striker Oates in reserve on the bench.

Eastwood had to be quick off his line to get to a through-ball ahead of Stephen Quinn after a nice build-up by the visitors in the second minute, then a low cross from Mullarkey on the right was cut out by Baily Cargill as Town attacked for the first time.

The Mariners had started brightly and they opened the scoring in spectacular style on six minutes.  After his brace on Tuesday, EISA got himself on the scoresheet again when he took the ball 35 yards out, cut inside from the left and hit an unstoppable strike which arrowed into the top corner of goalkeeper Christy Pym’s net.

Clifton went close to a second when he turned and let fly from the edge of the box as Town kept coming forward but this time, the low strike went just wide of the near post.

A powerful run by Jordan Bowery took the Mansfield right-back past Amos but did not lead to an opportunity in front of goal, then Quinn sent a first-time strike high over the bar after the ball was worked into the penalty area from the away right.

Eisa won the game’s first corner on the Grimsby left on 15 minutes but Gnahoua’s ball from the flag was headed away by Bowery.

An attempt by Will Swan was straight at Eastwood at the other end, then a cross from the Mansfield left was eventually dealt with as the visitors started to come into the game around the 20-minute mark.

Maris mis-hit a shot when he was in a good position on the edge of the Town box and seconds later, the hosts had an opportunity to double their lead when Rose connected with an Amos strike but he was unable to keep his volley down.

The hosts then won a corner on the right just after the half-hour but Gnahoua’s delivery was headed over the bar for a goal kick by Waterfall.

Mansfield had the next chance and they were inches away from levelling the scores when a powerful shot by Keillor-Dunn crashed back off the bar, before Bowery’s follow-up from the edge of the box was blocked.

Keillor-Dunn went close again on 36 minutes when he won the ball in midfield and raced clear, although this time, his low effort took a deflection on its way wide for a corner.  The ball from the flag was headed off-target by Cargill.

Swan saw a shot blocked after the away side again worked the ball into the Town box but Eastwood was not troubled from the rebound as Maris fired high over the bar.

Mansfield were looking more threatening as half-time loomed and a foul by Holohan gave them another opportunity to get the ball into the danger zone.  Callum Macdonald’s free kick was won in the air by Aden Flint but the Town defence recovered to clear.

The Mariners went close to a second goal two minutes before the break after a great move which started with Conteh finding Eisa on the left.  He cut inside and squared for Holohan but Pym got fingertips to the midfielder’s placed shot to turn it over the bar for a corner.

One added minute was played at the end of the half and with no further chances coming, the home side retained their single-goal advantage at the interval.


Ollie Clarke and Oates replaced Quinn and Cargill in a double-substitution for Mansfield before the restart and the visitors were straight on the attack with a free kick on their right.  Macdonald’s low deliver was comfortably cleared by Holohan.

Clarke chipped a cross onto the roof of the net from the right, then Waterfall was in position to clear the danger after Oates got past Mullarkey and pulled the ball back across the six-yard line.

A free kick from Gnahoua was cleared after Rose had been fouled, then the away side should have been level when Keillor-Dunn went clear through the middle.  He clipped the ball over the advancing Eastwood but after appearing to lose his balance, the midfielder could only watch it roll wide.

A corner from the Town left was flicked clear for a throw-in, before Keillor-Dunn caught Eastwood as he attempted to block a clearance from the Town keeper.

The visitors drew level on 59 minutes as the Mariners were caught out by another ball through the middle from Bowery and when Eastwood raced off his line again, this time OATES touched it past him and slotted into the net.

Pyke replaced Gnahoua in Town’s first change on 63 minutes, before Swan hooked a shot wide as the away side continued to look the more dangerous.

A volley from Clarke was blocked for a corner but Eastwood got a strong hand to Maris’ delivery from the left, then a free kick from Eisa was cleared at the other end.

Another free kick was given for a foul on Rose inside the Mansfield half but Amos’ ball into the penalty area was eventually dealt with.

Swan headed over the bar from a chipped Keillor-Dunn cross on 76 minutes, then Clarke won a corner on the left four minutes later.  Flint got to the ball from it first but his far-post header was kept out and Waterfall had to go off for treatment after taking a knock to his head.

Green and Hunt replaced Conteh and Eisa with eight minutes to go, before Clarke won another corner for the visitors, this time on the right.  Again, Flint got to it but he could not direct his header towards goal.

The fourth official signalled for a minimum of five added minutes as a member of the Mansfield coaching staff was shown the game’s first yellow card for dissent, with both sides pushing for a winning goal.

But neither was able to force a breakthrough in the additional time and in the end, both were forced to settle for a point.

Town are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to Walsall.



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