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Report: Stags 2-0 Grimsby

8 August 2023

Mansfield Town advanced into the second round of the Carabao Cup as strikers Lucas Akins and Rhys Oates found the net in an assured 2-0 victory over Grimsby.

Stags produced a top drawer display as they brushed aside their League Two rivals, and could have won by a bigger margin.

The amber and blue recorded 17 shots at goal and had Grimsby penned in their own half for large spells.

The Mariners did have opportunities of their own, but in truth, it was bread and butter stuff for Christy Pym in the home goal.

Manager Nigel Clough made two changes from the side that drew 2-2 at Crewe on the opening day of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.

The suspended Calum Macdonald was replaced by Jordan Bowery at left-back while new signing Aden Flint was introduced for Baily Cargill.

Stags began brightly and dominated from start to end.

Bowery struck against Toby Mullarkey early on from the left of the box and on the other side of the 18-yard area Louis Reed struck wide following a corner.

Grimsby then failed to capitalise on a counter attack which ended with Charles Vernam lashing a harmless low effort into the grasp of goalkeeper Christy Pym.

Stags turned up the heat and might have taken the lead after 11 minutes. Right-back Callum Johnson showed lovely footwork to beat his man on the channel before cutting infield to send a dangerous ball across the face of goal. And just as Quinn was set to tap home at the back post, Abo Eisa made a superb challenge to poke it away in the nick of time.

Stags came close again on 17 minutes when giant defender Aden Flint saw his header inside the goal area cleared off the line by Mariners’ skipper Luke Waterfall following Aaron Lewis’ corner.

And then a minute later Davis Keillor-Dunn threaded a defence splitting pass onto the boots of Rhys Oates, who after breaching the defence, struck high and wide.

Mansfield continued to pile on the pressure and Lucas Akins was next to try his luck, but missed the target from just inside the box, with Keillor-Dunn again the architect.

Stags were then awarded a spot kick after 27 minutes.

Goalkeeper Harvey Cartwright took a heavy touch from a backpass inside his box and as Oates looked to capitalise, the visiting stopper hauled him to the ground.

And Akins obliged from 12 yards by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way with a cool right-footed hit into the bottom right hand corner.

It was one-way traffic and Mansfield almost capped off what would have been a superb goal after half an hour.

Quinn started the move, lifting it down the left touch line for Keillor-Dunn. And the silky attacker found Oates on the inside left who picked out Akins, enabling him to drive forward before drawing a smart stop from Cartwright inside the box.

In a rare Grimsby attack, former Mansfield frontman Danny Rose produced a first save from Christy Pym, as he pushed behind the 29-year-old’s header following a free-kick from Vernam.

With four minutes of normal time remaining at the end of the first half, Cartwright had to get down low to deny Aaron Lewis’ low right-footed hit.

Grimsby skipper Waterfall headed directly towards Pym from a corner before Keillor-Dunn skied over from seven yards at the other end after Akins’ assist.

At the break, Hiram Boateng replaced Stephen Quinn in midfield.

Stags continued from where they left off and Akins had two opportunities inside the opening five minutes, one from a header and the other from the left of the box, but Cartwright was well behind both attempts.

On 52 minutes, Flint nodded wide from 12 yards courtesy of Boateng’s corner as Mansfield kept their foot on the accelerator.

Stags deservedly found a second goal on 55 minutes through rapid forward Rhys Oates.

Keillor-Dunn found space outside the area and used fine foot skills to get around Grimsby to find Oates who burst into the box to prod beyond Cartwright.

Mariners’ boss Paul Hurst made a double change but it did little to alter the flow of play, as Mansfield attacked mercilessly at the Grimsby goal.

Nigel Clough then introduced Baily Cargill for Aden Flint and George Maris at the expense of Aaron Lewis as the match ticked beyond the 64th minute.

Grimsby’s defence was again breached on 70 minutes, as Stags’ attacking prowess continued.

Keillor-Dunn received Maris’ pass to slip in Akins. But the forward’s vicious effort was blocked by Waterfall to spin behind for a corner.

In front of the visiting fans, substitute Evan Khouri could only nod into Pym’s palms at the back post following a hanging cross from the right.

Back at the other end, Cargill made a superb block before Grimsby’s Harvey Rodgers executed an equally important block as Akins squared for Oates whose shot to goal was prevented by Rodgers.

Oates then made way for Ollie Clarke on 77 minutes and 13 minutes later forward McKeal Abdullah made his home debut by replacing Louis Reed, before the referee wrapped up time following five minutes added on.

STAGS: Pym, Johnson, Flint (Cargill 64), Kilgour, Bowery, Reed (Abdullah 90), Lewis (Maris 64), Quinn (Boateng HT), Keillor-Dunn, Oates (Clarke 77), Akins

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Cooper, Hartigan

GRIMSBY: Cartwright, Glennon (Efete 73) Green, Rodgers, Waterfall, Eisa, Holohan, Vernam (Clifton 56), Gnahoua (Khouri 56), Mullarkey, Rose

UNUSED SUBS: Eastwood, Pyke, Amos, Hunt, Bramwell, Conteh

REFEREE: Scott Jackson

ATTENDANCE: 3,123 (512 Grimsby fans)

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