STAGS GRIND OUT 1-0 WIN IN TOUGH CONTEST
Grimsby Town 0 - 1 Mansfield Town
Attendance: 871 (79 from Mansfield)
Date: 25 July 2014
Martin Shaw at Blundell Park
Mansfield Town faced a very different challenge in the latest pre-season friendly at Blundell Park. This was a hard-fought, tough tackling, rumbustious game, much more like we will face in League Two this season than the games at the One Call Stadium so far against teams from higher divisions. And whilst results don’t count for much in pre-season, it was still encouraging that Mansfield came out of it with a 1-0 victory. The first half was an even affair with chances for either side though the Stags shaded it: Grimsby came very close to scoring when Paddy McLaughlin headed against the inside of the post and it rolled along the line and out. The Stags could have been ahead through a clever lob from Ollie Palmer, and a free header from a corner by Matt Rhead, but did take the lead on 43 minutes when Ollie Palmer’s shot from a tight angle squirmed under Grimsby keeper James McKeown straight into the path of Matt Rhead who slotted home from 3 yards. The second half saw Mansfield change 7 of the team, and there were fewer chances as Mansfield ground out the victory and overall it was an encouraging performance. New goalkeeper signing Sascha Studer impressed in goal with safe handling, some decisive punching, and one terrific save, one handed down to his left. The first half strike-pairing of Rhead and Palmer could have had three goals between them but did get one. Liam Hearn got another half an hour under his belt and didn’t get much service but did have a couple of shots blocked. Hearn got a nice reception from the home fans on his return from injury, having previously been at Grimsby. In midfield there was plenty of tough tackling from McGuire and Murray who treated this as anything but a pre-season friendly. The defence looked ok and Tafazolli got 45 minutes under his belt, back from injury, and there was relief when he went down in the first half and bashed the turf in frustration giving the appearance that he was badly hurt, but he returned after some attention from the physio and looked fine after that. No return for Luke Jones in defence, probably he will get some time against Lincoln. Beevers had a very good half and even added a string to his bow with a fine corner that created a chance for Rhead. Marsden continued to not look out of place at right wing-back in the second half. Amari’i Bell played the second 45 minutes at left wing-back and put in his best performance to date with some good defending including a clearance off the line and one great challenge, and also created a shot for himself. The trialist left wing-back, who had played the first three pre-season games, got another 45 minutes, and looked pretty decent. The other trialist to play was trialist midfielder who came on for the last 12 minutes against Leeds - he looked strong and powerful here but didn’t impress hugely.
Pre-season: Grimsby Town 0 Mansfield Town 1 - 25th July 2014
chad.co.uk report by Stephen Thirkill
A tap-in from last season’s player of the year Matt Rhead was enough to earn Mansfield Town a hardfought 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town.
Rhead had one of the simplest finishes of his career as he poked home into an empty net after Ollie Palmer’s effort smacked the post and fell into his path on 44 minutes.
It was the second successive clean sheet for Stags who, at times, rode their luck defensively with Paddy McLaughlan hitting the inside of the post moments before Rhead broke the deadlock.
New goalkeeper Sascha Studer looked impressive on his first official start for Stags and commanded his box well with a range of impressive catches and punches and a superb one-handed save in the closing stages.
It was an excellent workout for Mansfield, who gave starts to two trialists, including to the left wing-back who has started the last three friendlies.
Hot-shot striker Liam Hearn returned to his former stomping ground with a 30 minutes cameo appearance off the bench as he continues to build up his fitness levels.
The result means Stags have now conceded just four goals in their first four pre-season games as they look to build on the solid foundations they have laid.
Sascha Studer made his first official start for Mansfield Town after joining the club on Thursday following his successful trial.
Ryan Tafazolli returned from injury to earn a place in the defence alongside Sutton and Riley, while Liam Hearn again started on the bench despite his superb brace against Leeds.
Former Mansfield favourites Craig Disley and Nathan Arnold featured in the Grimsby Town line up.
Scott Brown registered the first shot on goal for Grimsby with a long range effort which was comfortably held by Studer on nine minutes.
Ollie Palmer came close to beating James McKeown in the Grimsby goal with a cheeky chip from a tight angle on 19 minutes.
Midfielder Fergus Bell then forced another decent save out of McKeown from a narrow angle two minutes later as Mansfield enjoyed a good spell of pressure.
Studer got down well to turn away Paddy McLaughlan’s well-hit effort on 25 minutes at the expense of a corner.
Martin Riley had to be alert on 32 minutes to block the goal-bound effort of one of Grimsby’s trialist midfielders after the home side broke at pace.
The Conference side’s trialist centre forward was unable to nod home from eight yards out on 40 minutes as Studer held comfortably.
Mansfield were breathing a huge sigh of relief a minute later when McLaughlan cracked a fierce effort against the inside of the post with Studer rooted to the spot.
Big Matt Rhead was unable to get enough contact on his header on 43 minutes when he pulled away from his marker to connect with Lee Beevers’ corner.
But a minute later Rhead put Stags ahead with one of the easiest finishes of his career when he tapped home from two yards after Ollie Palmer’s shot smacked against the post and fell into his path.
Mansfield made seven changes at the start of the second half, with Fisher replacing Palmer in attack, while Dempster, Marsden, Clements, Murray, A. Bell and Heslop also entered the action.
Studer alertly came off his line well to punch Ross Hannah’s dangerous cross away to safety on 53 minutes as the home side found space in the right-back area.
Grimsby were close to the equaliser on 62 minutes when Jack Mackreth burst past the Mansfield back three, before his cut-back ran agonisingly along the six yard box to safety.
Ross Hannah fired a 25 yard free-kick high over the bar following a foul by Adam Murray on 74 minutes.
The agile Studer produced a superb one-handed save in the 81st minute to keep his side ahead after the Mansfield defence failed to react to a corner.
Moments later A’amari Bell cleared off the line as Grimsby pushed without success during the closing stages.
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Bignot, Thomas, Brown, Doig, Magnay, Mackreth (Arnold 69 mins), A. Trialist 1, A Trialist, John Paul Pittman (Neilson72 mins), Paddy McLaughlan. Subs: Pearson, Bastock. Disley, Hannah, John-Lewis, Humble, Walker.
Mansfield Town: Studer, Tafazolli, Riley, Sutton, Beevers, Trialist 1, McGuire, Trialist 2, F. Bell, Rhead, Palmer. Second half subs: Marsden, Murray, Dempster, A. Bell, Fisher, Clements, Thomas, Heslop, Hearn.
Referee: K. Evans.
Grimsby Town v Mansfield: Positive signs for Mariners despite narrow Stags defeat
By Grimsby Telegraph
ENCOURAGING is the most apt word to describe Grimsby Town's 1-0 home defeat to Mansfield last night.
Read more at http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/Positive-signs-Mariners-despite-narrow-Stags/story-21941928-detail/story.html?#QwZ6JuY9IhltpOfY.99
While Tuesday's loss to Doncaster Rovers was disjointed and lacked fluidity, the Mariners' preparations took a healthy step forward against the League Two Stags.
All three of Grimsby Town's trialists had another opportunity to shine - the last chance for Craig Clay and Joe Ironside according to boss Paul Hurst.
Striker Jon-Paul Pittman, meanwhile, aimed to build on his encouraging first outing against Doncaster Rovers.
Former Mariner Liam Hearn began on the bench for the away side, despite his brace earlier in the week against Leeds.
It was a quiet start - on and off the pitch - with a disappointing crowd having nothing to cheer until the ninth minute when Scott Brown tested Stags keeper Sascha Studer with a 25-yarder.
The hosts went close five minutes later when Paul Bignot's high cross was fumbled by Studer, and Paddy McLaughlin fired straight at the keeper.
Mansfield forced James McKeown into his first real action in the 19th minute, as Matt Rhead's flick-on found Ollie Palmer, and the striker kept Town's stopper honest with his angled lob.
McKeown was in action again moments later, making a decent low stop at his near post from Fergus Bell's drive.
A typical pre-season affair was almost brought to life with a moment of real quality in the 25th minute.
McLaughlin latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the visitors' box before buying himself space with a clever flick and forcing Studer into a fine low save with his left-foot volley.
The lull returned until shortly after the half-hour mark when Clay saw his drive deflected a inch or two over the Stags' bar.
Ironside's header, five minutes before the break, was relatively simple for Studer, but McLaughlin's headed effort seconds later had the keeper beaten all ends up before crashing off the left-hand upright.
Rhead headed a corner wide at the other end as the game continued to warm up - and it was the same man who opened the scoring before the break.
Palmer wriggled clear on the right flank and saw his shot half-stopped by McKeown, allowing the burly striker to tap home from close range.
Despite that blow, the Mariners had looked far more organised than in the defeat to Doncaster - and forced the game's best chances.
All three trialists were withdrawn at the break as the Town line-up suddenly looked suspiciously like the team which could start the Conference opener at Bristol Rovers.
One of the new arrivals, Lenell John-Lewis, came close to nodding home Thomas' fine cross from the left as Town immediately looked more threatening going forward.
There was just over an hour gone when the Mariners put together their best move of the game with Aswad Thomas, McLaughlin, John-Lewis, and Jack Mackreth all involved, but Ross Hannah was unable to reach the latter's cross.
Hearn replaced Rhead in the 64th minute to a hero's reception from the Blundell Park faithful.
And into the last 20 minutes, Hannah laced a free-kick over, before Carl Magnay was denied by Studer's stop, Hannah was unable to convert the rebound, and Craig Disley planted a header wide.
That was pretty much that, however, as the Mariners finished with greater possession and more clear-cut opportunities following a decent work-out.
TOWN: McKeown, Bignot, Magnay, Doig, Thomas, Mackreth (Arnold 69), Clay (Disley 46), Brown, McLaughlin (Neilson 71), Pittman (John-Lewis 46), Ironside (Hannah 46). Not used: Pearson, Bastock, Humble, Walker, Winfarrah, Nsiala.
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