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Report: Grimsby 1-1 Stags

19 August 2023

Mansfield Town earned a third successive point on the road as Rhys Oates’ second-half strike helped Stags earn a 1-1 draw at Blundell Park.

The 28-year-old climbed off the bench at the break to net his second goal of the season - his other against Grimsby in the Carabao Cup earlier this month.

Stags generated the better opportunities and should have claimed maximum points, given the chances created.

And despite a second-half onslaught, Grimsby held on at home.

It follows two 2-2 draws at Crewe on the opening day and Doncaster in midweek. 

Injury-hit Mansfield made four changes to the line-up.

Jordan Bowery, Calum Macdonald, George Maris and Will Swan were introduced for Alfie Kilgour - out for the season with a ruptured Achilles, Callum Johnson (hamstring strain), Aaron Lewis (calf strain) and Rhys Oates.

Defender George Williams was named on the bench for the first time in a competitive match after returning from a thigh injury.

Stags looked to stamp their mark early on in the game and inside the opening two minutes Grimsby goalkeeper Jake Eastwood had to be alert to race  outside his goal area to gather after George Maris had threaded a throughball to the advancing Will Swan.

But it was the hosts who broke the deadlock after six minutes with a thunderbolt strike.

Abobaker Eisa collected the ball midway through the visiting half and after taking a couple of touches, unleashed an unstoppable 28-yard sizzler into the top left-hand corner.

The goal aided Grimsby’s confidence and Harry Clifton was next to try his luck three minutes later as he turned on the right of the box to fire wide.

Stags’ first effort at goal came on 14 minutes when Jordan Bowery’s right flank throw managed to trickle into the box for Stephen Quinn to strike over the bar.

Eastwood was well behind Stags’ next effort as Maris hit straight into his grasp from 20 yards.

Mansfield began to gain the lion’s share of possession and Maris had a better chance on 28 minutes but fluffed his shot on the left of the box following Davis Keillor-Dunn’s well-weighted pass.

And Keillor-Dunn attempted to turn from architect to goalscorer when he rattled the bar on 35 minutes.

Akins found Keillor-Dunn and after showing neat footskills, he saw his dipping effort from the edge of the box smack back off the woodwork.

Two minutes later, Keillor-Dunn turned up the heat and embarked on a lung-bursting run through the middle before lashing low at goal, which Eastwood had to get fingertips on to turn behind.

It was becoming one-way traffic and Swan got in on the shooting act, seeing his effort blocked inside the box, with Maris unable to hit the target with a follow-up strike.

Stags’ goalkeeper Christy Pym produced a top save on 44 minutes when he sprang to his right to tip over Gavan Holohan’s powerful drive on the edge of the box.

At the break, Rhys Oates and Ollie Clarke replaced Baily Cargill and Stephen Quinn for the amber and blue.

Stags therefore had to reshuffle at the start of the second-half as Jordan Bowery partnered Aden Flint in the heart of defence, with Lucas Akins at right-back. Oates partnered Swan in attack.

Mansfield flew out of the traps and should have equalised  in the 54th minute.

Keillor-Dunn capitalised on a misplaced Grimsby header on halfway to dart forward and go one-on-one with Eastwood. But as the goalkeeper advanced, Keillor-Dunn prodded his attempt wide from 10 yards.

Oates made no mistake on 59 minutes and struck Stags level with an accomplished run and finish.

Bowery launched a superb long ball over the top and Oates sped away from the Grimsby defence to round the keeper on the edge of the area to tap into an empty goal and send the Stags’ fans into raptures.

On 66 minutes, Swan struck wide on the turn from 12 yards and Clarke saw his edge-of-the-box volley deflect behind for a corner five minutes later as Stags pressed for a winner.

Ten minutes later, Maris nodded over from near the penalty spot after Keillor-Dunn clipped in a hanging cross from the left.

Mansfield looked like the only team to snatch another goal and they went close again when Flint nodded against the post from Maris’ corner as Nigel Clough’s side sought an advantage. 

But after five minutes of stoppage time, Stags were made to settle for a point.

GRIMSBY: Eastwood, Rodgers, Waterfall, Eisa (Green 82), Holohan, Gnahoua (Pyke 63), Clifton, Amos, Mullarkey, Rose, Conteh (Hunt 82)

UNUSED SUBS: Cartwright, Efete, Vernam, Khouri

STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Cargill (Oates H/T) Macdonald, Reed, Maris, Quinn (Clarke H/T), Keillor-Dunn, Swan, Akins

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Cooper, Williams, Anderson, Abdullah

REFEREE: Will Finnie

ATTENDANCE: 7,100 (1,188 Stags’ fans)

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