STAGS GIFT THE POINTS TO OUT-OF-FORM GRIMSBY
Blue Square Bet Premier
Mansfield Town 0 - 2 Grimsby Town
Coulson 44, I'Anson 82.
Attendance: 1,787 (226 from Grimsby)
Date: 19 April 2011
Martin Shaw at Field Mill
Grimsby Town, who were in a terrible run of form, were gifted three points at Field Mill on Tuesday night through some awful hesitant defending by Mansfield and two goalkeeping errors by David Grof that were both punished. Going forward, the Stags lacked invention and got steadily worse after a reasonable opening half hour.
Stagsnet player ratings in the Match Centre.
Mansfield slip to defeat to show there is plenty left to rectify on the pitch
Evening Post report by Matt Halfpenny
GIVEN that it was at Blundell Park that Mansfield Town were beaten 7-2 back on New Year's Day, it was fitting that tonight's return clash saw the Stags unveil their own 'Magnificent Seven'.
Chairman John Radford used the platform of the club's matchday programme to announce he has been joined by a quintet of executive directors on a new-look board, that also features current chief executive Steve Barker, designed to drive the club forward.
The well-known faces of Andrew Saunders, Steve Hymas, and Steve Middleton have stepped up from the non-executive roles they adopted when selling the club to Radford in September to become involved on the front-line once more.
And new to many fans will be the names of Mark Hawkins, a childhood friend and associate of Radford's and Darren Bland, current vice-president and local businessmen.
All have pledged five-figure sums and it is hoped the expertise of the six will help the club run 'as a viable and sustained business for decades to come'.
Yet while things are gradually looking a little rosier off the pitch, what Mansfield served up on the pitch against Grimsby only went to show they still have plenty of issues to address on it.
Grimsby came into the match having not won any of their first six games under the charge of new joint bosses Paul Hurst and Rob Scott, which had seen them drop below the Stags in the table.
Even so, they were still able to complete a league double over Duncan Russell's men, who slipped to an eighth Field Mill league defeat this season.
It saw the Mariners leapfrog Mansfield in the Blue Square Bet Premier table and, in truth, they had few problems in doing so.
In the first period, Mansfield played some encouraging stuff, if lacking a killer ball to make their efforts worthwhile.
But after the restart, there was little to suggest they would pull back Michael Coulson's opener on the stroke of half-time, which was backed up late on by Charlie I'Anson's strike.
Grimsby had the first sight of goal when Lee Peacock, the Stags' former record signing when he joined from Carlisle for £150,000 back in 1997, lobbed straight into the arms of David Grof from distance.
Mansfield's response saw Kyle Nix feed Paul Connor on the edge of the box whose shot on the turn was comfortably held by Kenny Arthur.
The Stags almost forged in front in the 11th minute after a slick break down the right that saw Conor Higginson race away and play a perfect first-time pass in for Louis Briscoe, whose goalbound effort was smartly turned aside by Arthur.
Mansfield – fielding four changes from the side who drew 0-0 with Luton on Saturday – were on top in terms of possession and territory, but were largely struggling to make it count.
And midway through the half, they were almost punished when Peacock found space on the left and would have picked out Andi Thanoj for a tap-in, until the timely, late intervention of Mark Preece.
The Mariners went close again when Coulson raced away through the inside right-channel, only to have his attempted finish blocked by Grof.
Another chance for the visitors came and went when Alan Connell turned a right-wing cross into Peacock's path, but he side-footed wide from eight yards.
At the other end, Paul Connor dinked the ball into Higginson's path, but he was blocked off as he shaped to pull the trigger.
However, it was the Mariners who went in front a minute from the break.
Thanoj advanced down the left before centring to the far post where Coulson rose highest to nod home from the tightest of angles.
There was almost an instant response from Mansfield, only for Arthur to deny Briscoe after Nix and Connor had combined.
It could have been 2-0 to Grimsby as Michael Leary got goalside in first half stoppage time, but Grof blocked his low finish with his legs.
It was Grimsby who started the second period the stronger and Peacock was not too far over with a looping header after the home defence failed to deal with a long throw.
The Stags had two good chances in a matter of seconds as first Murray picked out Higgnison, whose half-volley was pushed away by Arthur.
But Grimsby continued to look the better side after the break as first Michael Cummins blasted wide and then Peacock headed wide.
Bad defending from first Stonehouse and then Steve Foster enabled Leary a clear sight of goal, but his shot was palmed away by Grof.
However, the keeper was culpable as Grimsby doubled their lead from the left-wing corner when he came but did not claim, allowing I'Anson to mark his debut with a headed goal.
Just like in North Lincolnshire, the Stags suddenly froze with Connell hitting the right-hand post and then Peacock also shooting over when he should have netted.
It meant, in the end, Mansfield got exactly what they deserved.
As has been the case all season, frustrating Mansfield remain unable to find any kind of consistency or momentum.
With the 'Magnificent Seven' now in place, supporters can only hope they can say different of their team this time next year
Match facts: Mansfield Town v Grimsby Town
Mansfield: Grof, Silk, Foster, Preece, Stonehouse, Briscoe, Nix, Murray, Smith, Connor, Higginson (Medley 66). Subs not used: Collett, Istead, Spence, Mitchley.
Grimsby: Arthur, Bore, Garner, I'Anson, Wood, Cummins, Leary, Thanoj, Coulson (Southwell 89), Peacock, Connell. Subs not used: Hudson, Watt, Atkinson, Mulready.
Referee: Declan Ford (Leicestershire).
Attendance: 1,787 (226 visitors).
Grimsby 2: Coulson (44), I'Anson (82).
Shots on target: Mansfield 6 Grimsby 7.
Shots off target: Mansfield 1 Grimsby 7.
Fouls: Mansfield 7 Grimsby 10.
Corners: Mansfield 8 Grimsby 2.
Offsides: Mansfield 2 Grimsby 5.
Grimsby 1 (Garner, 42, foul on Murray).
Sendings off: Mansfield 0 Grimsby 0.
Mansfield's man of the match: Conor Higginson. A reflection of how poor Mansfield were in the second half is that the teenager, substituted half way through it, gets the nod. Was bright in the first 45 minutes and came as close to anyone to scoring for the Stags
Mansfield Town 0 Grimsby Town 2, Tuesday 19th April
STAGS slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Grimsby on Tuesday night after their struggling attack once again drew a blank.
Classic sucker-punch goals from Michael Coulson on 35 minutes and l'Anson on 82 minutes earned the visitors all three points in what was another poor second half showing from Mansfield Town.
And, although the fixture was a meaningless game in terms of league positions, the defeat will come as a bitter blow to Duncan Russell's men who had hoped to avenge their 7-2 thrashing at Blundell Park and build momentum going into the FA Trophy final.
For a full match report, plus news of a new board of directors at Field Mill, see this week's Chad
REPORT: Dream debut for I'Anson as Mariners' young guns beat Mansfield
Grimsby Telegraph report
TEENAGE Grimsby Town debutant Charlie I'Anson had a night to remember as he marked his senior debut with a goal to seal a first victory for bosses Rob Scott and Paul Hurst at the seventh time of asking.
The 17-year-old was the surprise inclusion from the start for Town but put in a sterling performance that ended with a dream goal seven minutes from time.
That doubled the lead given to Town at the end of a scrappy first-half by Michael Coulson after a much-improved display at Wembley-bound Mansfield Town gave them a fully deserved three points.
It completed a league double over the Stags and, despite the points counting little as far as league matters are concerned, the new managers will be encouraged – not least by the opportunity taken by I'Anson to impress. The young guns certainly fired a warning they are ready for action.
With a raft of injuries, changes were expected to a Town team now mathematically out of play-off contention but no-one could have predicted the starting line-up.
Five changes included a recall for first-choice goalkeeper Kenny Arthur as well as Michael Leary and Micky Cummins.
But the big news was the senior debut for Youth team captain I'Anson at the heart of the defence, particularly with Rob Atkinson dropping to the bench to make way.
The Luton-born defender was joined in the starting XI by Andi Thanoj, while two more teenagers were on the bench in the shape of right winger Dayle Southwell and Youth top scorer Sam Mulready.
Bosses Rob Scott and Paul Hurst are clearly keen to assess what they have at the club at all levels as they look to prepare for 2011/12 in earnest.
The Stags welcomed back striker Paul Connor after his three-match ban, while midfielder Adam Murray also returned to a side that included former Town trialist Kyle Nix.
After a quiet opening 10 minutes, Mansfield had the first opportunity and it took a fine save from the recalled Arthur to keep the scoreline goalless.
I'Anson was unlucky to slip in midfield and Conor Higginson raced away down the right flank before a perfect cross in front of Louis Briscoe, but the Stags top scorer saw his first-time shot pushed behind by Town's Scottish stopper.
The Stags went on to press Town back, but they stood strong and chances were few and far between for the FA Trophy finalists.
It was far from the level of entertainment the Town fans were treated to on New Year's Day in the 7-2 triumph over the Stags.
But Town, mainly through skipper Lee Peacock, did have moments going forward without testing home stopper David Grof – the final pass cut out more often than not.
Then, came the Mariners' best chance of the game thus far; a great slide-rule pass from Alan Connell setting Coulson clear but keeper Grof narrowed the angle and after Coulson turned back on his left foot, his effort was blocked.
Town tried to utilise the pace of Coulson as regularly as they could but the offside flag halted him several times.
At the other end, Briscoe was the main threat but the backline kept their concentration; I'Anson putting in a confident display beyond his years and ex-Stag Scott Garner shining too.
Ten minutes before the interval and another great chance for Town; Peacock flicking a cross to Connell before a quick-fire return but the captain side-footed his shot the wrong side of the near post.
It was a rare moment of quality in the game with both teams struggling to break the other down; wayward final passes a big problem for the hosts in particular.
Garner was possibly fortunate to stay on the pitch three minutes before half-time when his heavy first-touch saw the ball run away and he clumsily stretched to reach it and connected with the thigh of Murray instead; a yellow card could so easily have been red.
With just a minute of the half remaining, Town took the lead through Coulson; but in a rather unlikely manner – via a towering back-post header.
Thanoj did superbly well to reach the by-line on the left and send a fine deep cross over that Coulson rose to meet and nod home in between Grof and his near post.
Mansfield almost hit back immediately when Briscoe found room to shoot in the box but Arthur saved well and then gathered at the second attempt.
Michael Leary also had a good angled effort saved as the half ended with more action in two minutes than the previous 43.
The second half started with Town on the attack; Connell trying a left-footed lob that ended up comfortable for Grof.
He had another chance on 57 minutes but his looping header from eight yards was too high.
Arthur was hardly called upon but kept his concentration well to push behind an effort from Higginson two minutes later after a rare lapse by the backline in front of him.
It was Town now in the ascendancy and they could have had another after a lengthy spell of possession ended with a Cummins effort curling wide.
Domination achieved, Town desperately needed a second to reflect that and ease the obvious nerves jangling among the 226 Town followers.
And it came with seven minutes to go and what a moment it was for I'Anson.
After Leary had been unlucky to see a powerful effort turned behind for a corner, the set-piece from Connell sailed over everyone all the way to the back post where I'Anson gleefully headed into the empty net.
Town deserved the comfort of a two-goal margin and it could even have been three within seconds of the restart but Connell's effort from 12 yards came back off the post.
It didn't matter as Town had enough in the bank to see out the final stages and break the bosses' duck at last
Latest | April 2011