Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
Mansfield 1 Grimsby 2
By: Rob Sedgwick
GRIMSBY bounced back from their defeat at Darlington last week with a 2-1 win at Mansfield. Three additional points has boosted their outside chance of reaching the play-offs and lifts them to ninth position.
Alan Buckley made just one change to his side, bringing in Danny North into the starting XI and giving Peter Till a free role behind the front two in a 3-4-1-2 formation. Phil Barnes was also made captain - I've lost count of how many skippers we have had this season....I wonder who will lead the team out at Wembley and hopefully lift the trophy!
Town I presume won the toss as they elected to play with a strong wind at their backs in the first half.
Wind-assisted or not, Town made a stirring start to the game, playing their now customary rapid passing game, which always looks fantastic, and dangerous, when the players make it click.
In only the second minute Bolland rounded off a good move with a fiercely struck shot which the 'keeper tipped around the post. Danny North also failed to make the most of a couple of early openings.
Phil Barnes's first action of the game came when he dashed off the line to pluck the ball from the feet of dangerman Michael Boulding's feet.
Town though were purring at the other end and their slick passing almost was rewarded when a sequence of passes culminated with Martin Butler about to strike the ball goalwards from close range. With the Town fans' arms half way up in the air, a superb last ditch Mansfield tackle prevented him from pulling the trigger.
Rob Atkinson and Nick Fenton were at their imperious best at the other end and the former was needed to make a diving header to clear the ball for a corner on 25.
Atkinson almost scored at the other end when he didn't quite get enough on a Clarke cross, his glancing header whipping just wide of the goal.
The Town fans started chanting "we're going to score in a minute" and they weren't too far wrong.
Grimsby took a deserved lead on the half hour. A ball which Mansfield failed to clear fell to Peter Till on the edge of the box. Till drilled a low shot across the goal which crept into the bottom corner of the goal.
Town were good value for their lead at half time. Mansfield looked low in confidence, their defence was shaky and they didn't look particularly like scoring. The Town fans at half time busily projected what the league table might look like at 4:50, with of course three points for us a foregone conclusion.
It was to change early in the second half. Hunt replaced North, with Town reverting to a 5 man midfield. Mansfield, with the wind at their backs, took the game to Town and the Mariners were rattled.
Town's marking left a lot to be desired when Arnold was presented with the ball on the edge of the box. He turned and crisply drove the ball past Barnes to level the game. It was an excellent strike, who says Boulding is their only finisher?!
Within a minute Arnold should have scored again in an extraordinary passage of play when Boshell twice cleared the ball off the line, the first time when it bounced down off the underside of the bar onto him. Barnes made a good save from a third attempt on goal within the space of a few seconds.
Town's defence again failed to pick up Arnold when he received the ball close to the Town goal but his effort went hopelessly wide from a good position.
Alan Buckley reacted to the turnaround in fortunes by bringing on Bennett to bolster the defence and Jones to strengthen the attack.
Fenton was booked for holding a player on the edge of the box shortly after a bizarre incident when the referee apparently allowed Mansfield to take a throw-in twice (it didn't work out the first time).
The game at this stage was evenly poised and looked like whoever got the next goal would stand a good chance of winning. Fortunately it was Grimsby who broke Mansfield's hearts and once again it was the impressive Peter Till at the heart of it.
Till conjured a goal from nothing, making a surging run into the box, skipping past two or three defenders and chipping the ball to Boshell who riffled it in the net,
Shortly after his goal there was a wonderful Ronaldo-esque cameo from Till when a sublime turn from the Town playmaker comprehensively skinned a Mansfield defender.
Town made their fans sweat in the last few minutes of play (what's new?) with a couple of chances to Mansfield and late corners to them, but in the end they ran out deserved winners. Apart from the spell at the start of the second half Town were the better side, although in Mansfield's purple patch they came very close to going 2-1 up.
Man of the Match was Peter Till, a virtuoso performance playing behind the forward line. Town's pin-up boy scored one goal, created another from nothing, and even the home fans were talking about him as they drifted out of the way ground to go home and contemplate life in the Conference or whatever it is called now
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