Full Time Score Grimsby Town 0-1 Mansfield Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue Blundell Park
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Neal Bishop
Attendance 5,931 (865)
Craig Priest writes…
When two in form teams clash, something has to give – and with the Stags always seeming to struggle at Blundell Park, there were some light fears that the Stags may come unstuck and start the New Year on the wrong foot. Fortunately, David Flitcroft’s men had other ideas.
Mansfield were structured and far more comfortable than they were against Swindon and thoroughly deserved to take the lead and ultimately the points, defending well as a unit and putting any niggles from the Swindon match behind them for a second consecutive clean sheet.
The victory puts the Stags into a really solid position in the top three, it’s important now to not get ahead of ourselves and concentrate on solidifying that place and putting distance between ourselves and the chasing pack with our games in hand, one of which against 5th placed Forest Green later this month.
With the New Year dawning, the transfer window is now open – if any additions are to be made, they have to be the right players to fit our style of play, system and most importantly, our dressing room characteristics – you could see at full time how much that victory means to the players and staff – we can’t allow egos or different personalities to upset that.
That focus, that determination, that togetherness is what sets us apart from the rest, it’s what will ultimately be the difference between Mansfield Town being a league one club or spending another in league two.
We have it in abundance, let’s not yet the bubble burst.
Front man Danny Rose made his first start since the end of November replacing Elsnik who settled for a place on the bench.
The Stags were up against a good side and were made to work early on as Elliott Embleton fired over Logan’s bar, before the Stags shot stopper produced a solid save on eight minutes – denying Wes Thomas.
CJ Hamilton came closest to a Stags goal after Rose had swung a volley wide moments prior, the lightening wing man denied by the excellent James McKeown following Tyler Walker’s pass on 21 minutes
Mansfield then found the break through five minutes later as Jacob Mellis delivered an out-swinging corner, straight to the head of Neal Bishop who curled a header from ten yards around the defenders and keeper for his third goal of the campaign.
The Stags set about finding a second and twice came close through Walker before the break, but had to settle for the one goal cushion at the interval.
Grimsby came out strongly after the restart and forced Logan into two smart saves inside the opening three minutes, Mal Benning then nearly set the Stags second on 62 minutes with a fine cross, Hamilton failed to keep his effort down at the far post.
With 15 minutes to go Mellis flicked the ball on for Tyler Walker who was thwarted by McKeown, moments later Matt Preston thundered a header wide from a Stags corner.
Substitute Timi Elsnik hit an effort wide of the mark with four minutes to play, before Hamilton called the keeper into action in the last minute with a low drive – Mansfield held on through four further minutes to seal three vital points.
FULL TIME: Grimsby Town 0-1 Mansfield Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Conrad Logan, Matt Preston, Krystian Pearce, Ryan Sweeney, Hayden White, Jacob Mellis, Neal Bishop, Mal Benning Danny Rose (Timi Elsnik 62), CJ Hamilton, Tyler Walker
Unused Subs: Jake Kean, Will Atkinson, Calum Butcher Otis Khan, Jason Law, Jordan Graham
Referee: Matthew Donohue
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