A dominant performance by Stags’ reserves saw them record a 1-0 win over Grimsby Town in Tuesday afternoon’s Central League match at the RH Academy.
The game took place at Stags’ new training facility, which is set to be officially opened soon, with forward Tom Fielding scoring the only goal of the game with a well taken left-footed finish in the first half.
Mansfield dominated possession throughout, and limited the Mariners to very few chances in the match.
The Stags started brightly, and in the sixth minute Graham was picked out by midfielder Keaton Ward, but his effort was straight at Grimsby goalkeeper Ollie Battersby.
The visitors constructed their first chance two minutes later, however Grimsby forward Conley Poynter failed to keep his effort on target.
The Stags’ early pressure continued, and Graham did well to find Fielding whose powerful effort was fired over the bar.
Mansfield found their opening goal just before the half hour mark, with Fielding controlling the ball excellently, finding space for his shot and placing it into the bottom left corner to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Grimsby responded almost immediately, with a cross by Joe Starbuck finding its way to striker Brandon Buckle, whose effort was well blocked by the home defence.
Despite this, it was Mansfield who continued to dominate, and some fantastic build up play in the final third ended with a strike by Paul Anderson, who fired over the bar with his effort from just outside the area.
On minute 41, a dangerous corner by the Stags was headed back across the area for Graham, whose audacious acrobatic effort flew just wide of the post.
Early in the second half, Jason Law went on an impressive run into the box before finding Anderson, but agonisingly for the Stags, the chance petered out of play.
The visitors had their biggest chance of the game so far five minutes later, with Starbuck finding substitute Rumarn Burrell, who delivered a dangerous ball narrowly avoiding Buckley’s head, landing at the feet of Conley Poynter who could not finish.
Minutes later, Anderson controlled in the area, turning well before being brought down by Mariners’ ‘keeper Ollie Battersby, yet referee Daniel Guest waved away any penalty appeals from the Stags’ players.
On the 70th minute mark, Anderson again played in a decent cross to Graham who headed just wide of the post as Mansfield continued to look for the all-important second goal.
Substitute Iyrwah Gooden saw the ball fall kindly to his feet inside the box, however his effort was struck over as the Stags ramped up the pressure on the away side.
Defender Aiden Walker played a superb ball through to Gooden in the closing stages, who forced a fantastic save out of Battersby.
At the other end, Burrell was released for Grimsby late on, however Stags’ ‘keeper Warren Squires was equal to his effort and got low to make an excellent save to keep the game at 1-0.
It was a magnificent defensive performance from the Stags, conceding few chances throughout the game and proving solid at the back to clinch the clean sheet.
Stags’ reserves are next in action when they face Notts County reserves in two weeks time on Tuesday 30 October.
STAGS’ XI: Squires, Blake, Wilder, Bircumshaw, Walker, Gibbens, Anderson, Ward (Healey 80’), Graham, Law, Fielding (Gooden 70’).
UNUSED SUBS: Marrs, Sinclair, King.
GRIMSBY XI: Battersby, Jamieson, Saunders, Painter (Derrick 83’), Pollock, Powles, Starbuck, Richardson, Jahoo (Burrell 46’), Buckley, Poynter (McPherson 78’).
UNUSED SUBS: Stead, Owoeye.
REFEREE: Daniel Guest.