Mansfield Town‘s nine match unbeaten league sequence came to an end after a 3-0 defeat at Grimsby Town this afternoon.
And the Stags finished the game with ten men after Hayden White received his second yellow card shortly after Grimsby’s third goal in the 73rd minute.
Former Stags’ midfielder Chris Clements netted the Mariners’ first with a scrappy goal. And after Calum Dyson’s solo effort gave Grimsby a second, the forward followed it up with a spot-kick to seal the win.
Stags did have chances to scribe their name onto the scorecard, particularly with three good openings in the first half, but Grimsby were more clinical with their finishing and it proved the difference.
Mansfield midfielder Alfie Potter was drafted into the line-up along with frontman Matt Green following the Stags’ pulsating 4-4 draw at home to Accrington Stanley in mid-week.
It meant that midfielder Joel Byrom and frontman Danny Rose had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench.
In the fifth minute, Chris Clements, transferred to Blundell Park in January for an undisclosed fee, directed a 25-yard free-kick straight into the hands of goalkeeper Jake Kean.
Two minutes later, in-form Stags’ midfielder Ben Whiteman drifted beyond Clements to clip a ball into the area, where Green could only head at James McKeown, the Grimsby goalkeeper, from 12 yards.
In the 13th minute, Grimsby’s Sam Jones fired a low shot wide of the post from the edge of the Mansfield box.
Stags then had to hack away inside their goal area from a Grimsby corner, before Zak Mills’ blistering effort flew off target from outside the box.
At the other end, diminutive midfielder Alfie Potter did well to release Alex MacDonald on the left of the Grimsby area, but the shot from the ex-Oxford man was blocked by a Grimsby defender.
MacDonald then turned provider in the 26th minute. Crossing from the right flank into the Grimsby area, Green rose to head goalwards, but it lacked the power to seriously test McKeown.
Grimsby’s Zak Mills glided into the Stags box before pulling it back to Calum Dyson, whose wild effort was only ever heading one way.
Stags broke forward as the clock ticked over the 30th minute. Potter scurried forward to slip it to the advancing Mal Benning on the left flank, and after sweeping it slightly too high into the box, a rising Matt Green couldn’t get enough direction on his header.
Three minutes later, Grimsby sent a shot through the Stags’ penalty box, which resulted in the ball hitting an unbeknowing Rhys Bennett on the arm. But after the referee rightly waved away the protests, Jamie Osbourne slammed a daisy-cutting shot which Kean denied by getting down low, enabling Stags to smash clear.
Grimsby then took the lead with the most bizarre of goals in the 40th minute.
From a free-kick 30 yards out, Clements turned to send it to the far side of the Stags’ box and after Mansfield twice failed to head awayinto safety, Clements found Tom Bolarinwa to head it back to the midfielder inside the goal area. And as Clements hooked it forward, Kean got a hand to it, but it wasn’t enough to prevent it from agonisingly crossing the line.
Green should have done better for Mansfield on 42 minutes. Coulthirst delivered superbly from the left side, but Green’s connection was found wanting and McKeown was allowed to claim with ease.
In the last minute of the first half, Kean was well behind a tame try by Gunning from 25 yards in the last noteworthy attack of the period.
Stags were almost undone eight minutes into the second half. A through ball from the Grimsby midfield was raced towards by Gunning, and as Kean came out of his goal, he mis-timed his intended clearance. But Rhys Bennett was covering and the eventual forward attempt by Gunning was dealt with by Benning.
Two minutes later, Hayden White delivered from the right flank and Shaq Coulthirst’s header sent McKeown climbing to his right to make the stop.
Coulthirst had another attempt denied with a header in the 57th minute, but it was straight at McKeown.
Matt Green then left the field to be replaced by Yoann Arquin and Alfie Potter made way for Joel Byrom as the game entered the hour.
But a minute later, Grimsby doubled their advantage.
Dyson picked up the ball for Grimsby on the right-flank and the Stags’ defence were simply bystanders as he skipped beyond them to cut into the box and plant a left-footed drive beyond Kean.
With 22 minutes of normal time remaining, CJ Hamilton replaced Alex MacDonald.
Stags’ boss Steve Evans was then sent to the stands in the 70th minute by referee Seb Stockbridge.
Moments later, McKeown had to claw away a Rhys Bennett header from underneath the angle of crossbar and post as Stags tried to claw a way back into the contest.
Grimsby won a penalty in the 72nd minute to put the outcome beyond doubt. Benning upended Bolarinwa inside the box and Dyson stepped up from 12 yards to send it down the middle.
In the aftermath, Stags’ right-back Hayden White received a second-yellow card, after previously being booked early in the first half.
CJ Hamilton lost possession for the Stags in the 80th minute, but Bolarinwa progressed towards goal only to power over.
Arquin forced a corner in the 87th minute with a deflected shot in Stags' penultimate chance of the match
Moments later, ex-Mansfield frontman Adi Yussuf entered the fray for Grimsby , coming on for Tom Bolarinwa.
In time added on, Coulthirst showed great trickery on the left before knocking it into the centre. But Arquin mis-cued from seven yards, and his effort aptly summed up Stags’ afternoon in North East Lincolnshire.
GRIMSBY: McKeown, Mills, Pearson, Collins, Andrew, Bolarinwa (Yussuf 88), Gunning (Comley 83), Osbourne (Maxwell 83), Clements, Jones, Dyson
UNUSED SUBS: Davis, Disley, Boyce, Asante
STAGS: Kean, White, Pearce, Bennett, Benning, Lee Collins, Potter (Byrom 60), Whiteman, MacDonald (Hamilton 68), Coulthirst, Green (Arquin 60)
UNUSED SUBS: Shearer, Lewis Collins, McGuire, Rose
REFEREE: Seb Stockbridge
ATTENDANCE: 5,550 (1,246 Stags’ fans)