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Match Reports

Reserves report: Grimsby Town 1-2 Stags

5 March 2019

Stags' reserves recorded a 2-1 win over Grimsby Town in Tuesday afternoon's Central League clash at Blundell Park.

Midfielder Otis Khan opened the scoring with a well-taken finish in the first-half, before Charles Vernam equalised for the Mariners shortly after the restart.

Jason Law, who played at left wing-back in Tuesday's clash, found the winning goal with a confident finish to the far post.

Stags named a mixed lineup for the clash, which included senior names such as Otis Khan, Alex MacDonald and Conrad Logan.

Academy defender Jamie Chisholm also made his debut for Mansfield's second string at the heart of a back-three.

Depsite some positive play in the opening stages from Mansfield, it was the visitors who crafted the first opportunity of the encounter, yet Ahkeem Rose's delivery had too much purchase on it.

Vernam tested Logan for the first time in the tenth minute with his strike from range, yet the Stags' custodian was able to tip the effort round the post.

Tom Fielding and Khan linked up superbly as Mansfield launched a swift counter-attack, although the former sliced his delivery behind for a goal kick.

Zayn Hakeem showed good strength to hold off his marker and lay the ball off to Khan, who ran onto the pass and fired just wide of the mark.

It then took a superb save from Trialist in the Grimsby goal to keep the scores level. Hakeem met Law's cross with aplomb, and must have wondered how the Mariners' stopper kept the close range effort out.

Alistair Smith then charged upfield with possession, and rolled a shot just wide while under immense pressure from a number of Grimsby shirts.

Khan fancied his chances once again from range, although Trialist was positioned well and tipped his effort wide of the mark.

After an inch-perfect pass from Fielding to find Law, the wing-back was dispossessed as he advanced into the Grimsby area.

Following a number of Mansfield chances, the hosts carved out an opportunity of their own. Brandon Buckley advanced onto a low cross from the right, and from close range was expertly denied by Logan.

Hakeem once again demonstrated excellent hold-up play before laying the ball to MacDonald, yet the midfielder could not keep his effort down.

MacDonald was at the heart of the action once again as he found Iyrwah Gooden in space on the right-hand side. The winger's subsequent cross narrowly missed the head of Fielding by a matter of centimetres.

Mansfield were rewarded for their first-half dominance with a goal just two minutes before the interval. Hakeem's deft flick-on released Khan, who remained composed to roll the ball home to the far corner.

The hosts created the first big chance of the second-half minutes after the restart, and it took some excellent defending by Henri Wilder to block Harry Cardwell's goal-bound effort.

However, the Mariners' next opportunity resulted in the equaliser. A passback from Wilder was well-anticipated by Vernam, who then advanced and produced a confident finish.

The Stags looked to immediately regain the lead through Khan, yet the midfielder's venomous effort was straight at Trialist after some quick feet.

Logan produced another excellent save at his near post to keep out Cardwell's powerful effort from just inside the area.

Following a scrappy period of play, the Stags produced a moment of quality to retake the lead. A series of passes concluded with Aiden Walker, whose cross went all the way to Law at the back post. Mansfield's No.11 took a touch, before calmly finishing back across goal for 2-1.

The Mariners had a chance to equalise for the second time when the ball fell to Cardwell, yet the forward blasted his effort over the crossbar.

MacDonald nearly found the far corner with a delicate chip, before Khan's volley was bravely blocked by Alex Whitmore moments later.

The final big chance of the game fell to Grimsby's Ahkeem Rose, who saw his accurate strike batted away by Logan.

Overall, it was a deserved victory for the Stags, who were especially impressive in the first-half. Mansfield's second string are next in action against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday 19 March in the Central League.

STAGS' XI: Logan, A. Walker, Wilder, Chisholm, Law, MacDonald, Smith, Fielding (Knowles 73'), Khan, Gooden, Hakeem.

UNUSED SUBS: Marrs, Ward, Bircumshaw, Sinclair.

GRIMSBY XI: Trialist, Jamieson (Starbuck 65'), Grayson, Curran, Whitmore, Pollock, Buckley (Burell 76'), Richardson, Vernam, Cardwell, Rose.

UNUSED SUBS: Saunders, McPherson, Powles.

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