Full Time Score Mansfield Town 2-1 Grimsby Town
Competition Sky Bet League Two
Venue The One Call Stadium
Stags Goal Scorer(s) Tyler Walker (2)
Attendance 4,118 (544)
Craig Priest writes…
There are numerous quotes I could use to begin the round up of the 2-1 win against victory, but I think the most apt would be – it isn’t about how you fall or indeed how many times; it’s about the way you stand, the way you respond – and respond, Mansfield did.
For the second game running the Stags played out a poor first half and were unusually sloppy at the back, gifting the opposition a soft goal, and had to fight back to take something from the game – this time driven on by a double change at the break and a switch in system, Mansfield were able to take all three points in a dominant and hungry performance, extending their unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions and climb into the play-offs.
Say what you want about Flitcroft but he’s not afraid to be stubborn and stick with one way of playing, he knew his side were capable of turning the game around and showed his hand early which really put Grimsby on the ropes, I just wonder how long it will be until we start with the back four, as currently that seems to be the way we kill games off and get our reward.
Credit too should goto the players who showed real fight, desire and hunger to run not stop for 45 minutes to go and win the game, we’ve had a lot of fixtures lately with four of the last fixe prior to Grimsby being on the road – which is increased travel time, less time on a known training pitch – that sort of period can make or break squads and touch wood, it’s made us.
I think there would have been a lot of frustration had we drawn the game last night but I don’t think any of the players were allowing that to happen, as they rid themselves of the one man show work ethic and came together – Tyler Walker has got into some great positions and finished when it really matters, Jacob Mellis has shown incredible craft and vision, CJ Hamilton has shown real professionalism in playing in a variety of roles, Danny Rose hasn’t let his head drop with not scoring, instead channelling that into relentless pressing, Neal Bishop has kept a cool and collected leaders head – the list goes on.
You can look back to mid-September when we were making silly errors which were costing us games and compare that to now, we are hitting form and really letting teams know that they are in a game.
It’s almost a shame that the next two fixtures are cup games as you want to carry that momentum on, but it gives us a chance to look at a few other players who’ve had to miss out lately and give them a chance to get in the side for the next block of league fixtures, which includes playing the league leaders and the relegation favourites champions elect! We have to take the same energy into those games and come away with three points.
Ryan Sweeney replaced Hayden White in the back three in the only change to Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Cheltenham, as the Stags looked to continue their momentum from the second half at Cheltenham.
Aside from an early opening which Matt Preston dealt with the Stags did start with that spark from Saturday as Danny Rose found himself through on goal just three minutes in, he was denied by the long serving Mariners glovesman James McKeown, who moments later, watched on as Mellis lashed one wide from long range.
McKeown was Grimsby’s hero again on nine minutes as he denied Tyler Walker a third goal in two games, Walker also skimmed the bar moments after the Grimsby keeper had plucked Hamilton’s cross out of the air – just before it reached the head of Rose.
Walker, Rose, Mellis and Sweeney all had openings but couldn’t find the breakthrough and with ten minutes to go before the break the stags did score, sadly in their own net as they switched off and allowed the visitors through – Mal Benning getting the final touch as he put the ball into his own net.
Tyler Walker flashed one wide on the stroke of half time but it was clear something needed to change, and it soon did as Flitcroft withdrew Elsnik and Preston at the break for Davies and White respectively, going to an attacking 4-4-2 with Tyler Walker playing right wing and CJ on the left.
It was a switch which killed Grimsby’s attacking game as they failed to register a shot, on or off target, in the second half and were pushed onto the ropes by Mansfield who looked really to kill, it took just five minutes for the Stags to get one back – Tyler Walker the man in form and on target to volley home.
Craig Davies had two effort to put the Stags ahead, Walker, Sweeney and Rose also had chances but the game remained locked at 1-1, thanks mainly to McKeown in the Grimsby goal.
With eight minutes to go the inevitable happened for goal hungry Mansfield who took the lead, CJ Hamilton’s pinpoint assist found Tyler Walker who slammed home his fifth goal in three games.
Walker was then denied a hat-trick as McKeown saved a mouth-watering Volley from the on loan front man four minutes later, CJ Hamilton and substitute Jordan Graham were also denied as Mansfield relentlessly looked to kill the game off, the referee’s final whistle a joyous sound.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 2-1 Grimsby Town
STAGS [3-4-1-2]: Bobby Olejnik, Matt Preston (Hayden White HT), Krystain Pearce ©, Ryan Sweeney, CJ Hamilton, Neal Bishop, Jacob Mellis, Mal Benning, Timi Elsnik (Craig Davies HT), Tyler Walker, Danny Rose (Jordan Graham 81)
Unused Subs: Conrad Logan, Calum Butcher, Will Atkinson, Alistar Smith
Referee: Keith Stroud
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