Stags beaten by Mariners
Mansfield Town endured a difficult afternoon in North Lincolnshire as they succumbed to defeat against Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.
The Mariners went ahead through a fine strike from Frankie Artus and doubled their advantage when Greg Pearson fired home from the penalty spot on the cusp of half-time.
Joe Colbeck and Pearson added further goals for the hosts after the interval, before Matt Rhead netted a late consolation goal for the Stags.
Mansfield got proceedings underway and attacked the Pontoon End of the ground in the first period, but it was the North Lincolnshire hosts who created the first opportunity after only six minutes when Andy Cook arrowed a shot wide of Alan Marriott’s right-hand post from the edge of the area.
In wet and windy conditions, the Stags were penned back in their own half for several minutes early in the game and Gary Roberts was forced to clear a dangerous loose ball out of his own six-yard box moments later as the Mariners again pressed forward in search of an opener.
Despite the hosts enjoying plenty of early possession, it was Mansfield that nearly opened the scoring on 18 minutes.
Matt Green intercepted a poor attempted pass from Derek Niven in the middle and combined with Jake Speight and Roberts in a piece of quick counter-attacking football, before Speight ultimately fired into the side netting with a shot from an acute angle.
Two minutes later Green and Speight combined once more as Mansfield broke quickly out of defence to launch an attack after a poor left-sided corner by Artus. Speight picked up possession midway inside his own half and delivered a superbly floated through ball to his strike-partner who had galloped on ahead of him.
However, James McKeown was quick off his line and did enough to distract the Stags talisman as he unleashed a shot from the edge of the area that ultimately fell the wrong side of the woodwork.
Lindon Meikle hooked a cross into the arms of the Mariners shot-stopper as Mansfield began to generate momentum within their play, and at the opposite end Artus peeled off the shoulder of centre-back Luke Jones but hammered a poor effort well wide of the target.
Speight then flashed a near-post shot straight at McKeown after Meikle crossed from the right flank on the half hour mark, but five minutes later the Stags fell behind when Artus netted with a fine strike from the edge of the box.
The talented Mariners midfielder received a low pass from Niven after some good footwork from Colbeck on the right wing, and superbly looped an effort into the top corner of the net that gave Marriott absolutely no chance.
Roberts was then cautioned for a late lunge on Bradley Wood and on the stroke of half-time Grimsby inflicted further damage when Pearson added a second goal from the penalty spot.
The Mariners were awarded their spot-kick when Speight fouled mercurial playmaker Aswad Thomas inside the area and Pearson remained calm and composed to power home the resulting spot-kick and double the lead.
Three minutes after the interval, a free-kick from Roberts caught the wind and had to be tipped over the woodwork by a back-peddling McKeown, whilst Colbeck fired over at the other end after some fine work from Pearson.
Paul Cox then made two changes in quick succession with Rhead and Lee Beevers being introduced to the action in favour of Chris Clements and Speight respectively.
Mansfield pressed forward and McKeown kept out a low shot from Daniel as the Stags threatened to launch a comeback, before Grimsby added a third goal to further extend their advantage on the hour mark as Colbeck found space inside the box and hammered a shot into the goal via the under-side of the woodwork.
With the result of the game in little doubt by this stage, Jones almost claimed a consolation goal on 65 minutes. Roberts picked out the centre-back with a right-sided corner and the former Kidderminster man rose to highest to direct a header towards goal, which had to be cleared off the line by Nathan Pond.
Nevertheless, Grimsby inflicted more misery on Mansfield with 15 minutes remaining when Pearson claimed his second goal of the game. Artus delivered a corner towards the near post and the Mariners striker managed to ghost into free space and direct the ball into the net.
Only eight minutes from time Roberts received his second yellow card and was subsequently sent-off for a poorly timed challenge on Craig Disley, though the Stags did at least go home having found the net as Rhead headed home a cross from Briscoe to grab a consolation goal close to the full-time whistle.
Attendance: 3,397 (526 away supporters).