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Is the squad strong enough to challenge for promotion?

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Newey: Howler
Newey: Howler

Mansfield 2 Grimsby 1

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 14/02/2006

TOWN lost at Mansfield tonight in what was a poor performance by the Mariners. Grimsby gifted two goals to the Stags in a woeful first half display. Town only really threatened when Mansfield's Jelleyman was sent off in the final 20 minutes, but Grimsby could only grab a solitary goal.

Town started brightly and played with some confidence for the first 15 minutes. Their world fell apart, however, when Tom Newey dwelt too long on the ball and was dispossessed. The mistake left Town's defence hopelessly out of position and the ball was crossed to Barker who slotted in from close range.

Mansfield were visibly lifted by the goal and Mildenhall made a couple of saves to keep the Mariners in the game, before the Town 'keeper made an uncharacteristic error which gave Grimsby a mountain to climb.

Mansfield's midfielder Coke fired in a low shot from about 20 yards which should have been a routine save. Mildenhall, however, somehow let Coke's shot go under his body, and despite a frantic effort to claw it back from behind the line, the goal was given by the officials.

A late chip by Woodhouse which shaved the top of the bar was Grimsby's best effort on goal in the first half.

Nothing of any note at all happened in a dire second half until Jelleyman was sent off with about 18 minutes left for a second bookable offence.

Town brought on three substitutes, somewhat belatedly, and threw everything they had at Mansfield. Gary Jones missed an open goal from a distance of 1 yard, before Woodhouse finally drilled the ball in from about 20 yards to give a large away contingent hope.

With Grimsby piling forward and 4 minutes injury time played, Town could not quite get the second goal they needed, although they went close more than once. A Reddy overhead kick which was brilliantly saved by Pressman and a Rob Jones header that flew just past the post were their best chances.

Basic errors cost Grimsby the game, although other results have largely gone their way at the top of League Two to minimise the damage - for now.

Town head to play-off outsiders Rochdale on Saturday for what could prove another tricky fixture. They will be without Gary Croft, who picked up his fifth booking of the season tonight and will be suspended at Spotland.

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