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Match Reports

Match report: Stags 2-1 Grimsby Town

6 November 2018

A second-half brace from Tyler Walker helped Mansfield Town secure a 2-1 comeback victory over Grimsby Town at One Call Stadium.

In the first of four consecutive home matches for the Stags, things started poorly as the Mariners took a one-goal lead into the break, courtesy of an unfortunate own goal by Mal Benning.

But the hosts weren’t to be disheartened as Walker netted yet another brace to give his side all three points under the floodlights.

Stags’ boss David Flitcroft made just one alteration from the starting line-up that drew at Cheltenham as he welcomed back Ryan Sweeney in place of Hayden White.

It was a relatively even start at One Call Stadium but the first clear-cut opportunity of the evening fell the way of Stags’ striker, Danny Rose.

After Walker had initially brought the ball under his control, it took a hefty deflection into his teammate’s path – who could only strike the ball against the leg of James McKeown.

Walker then had a chance of his own when Rose found the on-loan forward free inside the area. However, his first touch was slightly too heavy as it allowed the Grimsby ‘keeper to smother.

Moments later, Mal Benning’s loose pass was intercepted by Ben Pringle, but Matt Preston was on hand to expertly block his goal-bound effort.

CJ Hamilton then looked to find Rose in the middle but saw his delivery fall into the palms of McKeown.

The 20 minute mark signalled another chance for the hosts. Walker, in a crowded penalty area, met Timi Elsnik’s cross to hook the ball just wide of the target.

Flitcroft’s side were in the ascendancy as they attacked once more. Elsnik won the ball back in the middle of park before feeding Jacob Mellis to force a near-post save from McKeown; his third inside half an hour.

Soon after, Wes Thomas directed a header towards goal following a set-piece only to see it blocked by one of his own teammates.

And the Mariners’ striker was almost on the end of another teasing cross – although he was unable to stretch far enough as it rolled past everyone. But he was not to be put off as he was the catalyst for breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute.

Thomas cut in from the left flank, before firing a low effort that ricocheted against the ankle of Bobby Olejnik and led to Benning inadvertently turning it home from point-blank range.

This duly sparked the hosts back into life, though, as they sought after the all-important second goal.

Elsnik fired towards goal, forcing another fine save out of McKeown, before Hamilton’s cross was cut out just inches in front of Walker’s outstretched boot.

Seconds before the half-time whistle, Sweeney rose highest in the middle and watched his effort deflect behind for a corner.

Flitcroft opted for a double change at the break in a bid to turn the game around. Craig Davies and White were introduced in place of Preston and Elsnik.

And it almost paid off just three minutes into the second half. Davies found himself free but had to check back before deciding to pass; a pass that was eventually intercepted.

The noise levels gradually rose inside One Call Stadium but peaked to its upmost on 50 minutes.

Benning had time and space to pick out Walker in the middle, who duly volleyed the ball home from close range to put the Stags on level terms via an emphatic finish.

On the hour mark, Davies strolled behind the Grimsby defence for the second time, only to curl his effort wide of the mark from 14 yards.

Walker then tried his luck from distance but was unfortunate as the seemingly on-target effort struck Danny Collins to earn his side a corner.

Hamilton momentarily turned on the afterburners down the left-flank as he soared past Reece Hall-Johnson. The winger then tried to dig out a cross but it sailed over everybody and out the near side.

The game had somewhat slowed in terms of its pace as it came into the final 15 minutes of play – but this had no after effects on what was to come.

Hamilton utilised his speed once more, and was this time able to find a teammate in the middle. The ball dropped to Walker at the far post who, yet again, volleyed home to chalk up back-to-back braces.

His fifth goal in only three games put Mansfield on top with only eight minutes left to play.

The in-form frontman almost had his hat-trick five minutes later, too. He rifled an impressive strike towards McKeown’s goal but the Grimsby ‘keeper got down well to deny him.

It seemed to be déjà vu when Hamilton danced past several players on the far side. He skipped away brilliantly before having his effort saved from a relatively tight angle.

Walker then curled a delightful ball into the mix – one which substitute Jordan Graham almost turned home via a deft, clever flick.

Mansfield nullified any late threat from the away side to claim all three points in their latest Sky Bet League Two outing – subsequently sneaking into the play-offs as a result.

The Stags are next in action on Sunday, rather than Saturday, where they turn towards FA Cup action and welcome Charlton Athletic to the East Midlands.

STAGS XI: Olejnik (GK), Benning, Preston (White 46’), Pearce ©, Bishop, Mellis, Sweeney, Walker, Elsnik (Davies 46’), Hamilton, Rose (Graham 80’).

SUBS NOT USED: Logan (GK), Atkinson, Butcher, Smith.

GRIMSBY XI: McKeown (GK), Hall-Johnson, Collins ©, Hessenthaler, M. Rose, Cook (Vernam 71’), Famewo, Woolford (A. Rose 84’), Hendrie, Pringle (Embleton 63’), Thomas.

SUBS NOT USED: Russell (GK), Dixon, Welsh, Clifton.

REFEREE: Keith Stroud.
ASSISTANTS: Nick Greenhalgh & James Mainwaring.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Geoff Eltringham.

ATTENDANCE: 4,118 (544 away).


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