Mansfield Town’s worrying recent run of results continued on Saturday.
The Stags desperately need to find the back of the net, having now failed to score in four league games, plus an EFL Trophy game. The last time the Stags failed to score in five league and cup games was 11 months ago.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to newly-promoted Grimsby Town was the second consecutive 1-0 home defeat.
But there was no lack of chances created against Grimsby.
The Stags created nine presentable chances in the first half: Danny Rose, Benning, Green, Mitch Rose, Danny Rose again, then Green twice in a minute cutting in from the left, then Iacovitti and finally Pearce. None of the chances taken, and it was clear that it would probably be costly.
Click HERE to read the match report
Click HERE to read boss Adam Murray’s thoughts
Click HERE to see a slideshow of pictures from the game
In the middle of that and very much against the run of play, Grimsby took the lead from a penalty.
Omar Bogle played a one-two with Kayden Jackson and broke into the area.
As Bogle and Scott Shearer both went for the ball, Bogle was quicker to it than Shearer, nicked it away, going away from goal, and tumbled over Shearer.
They are given as penalties every time, and it was on Saturday. Clever play from Bogle.
A couple of people said to me Bogle was offside as Jackson played the ball to him but he wasn’t.
Shearer has to take a large part of the blame as he got his timing wrong on this occasion. Bogle converted the resulting penalty.
It was a good performance from Mansfield in the first half with those chances, and despite being a goal down, there was good applause from the home crowd at the break.
The Stags were camped in Grimsby’s half for long spells of the second half but failed to create so many clearcut chances, with Grimsby often having nine men behind the ball and crowding the Stags out.
It was such frustration for Mansfield at the final whistle.
Overall, the Stags had 10 corners to Grimsby’s three and a host of other free kicks into the box.
But Mansfield are desperately lacking confidence in the final third, too often hesitating and wanting to take an extra touch.
Despite the defeat there were some good performances.
Mitch Rose was my man of the match, with several good passes and a few efforts on target.
It was good to see Chris Clements back from injury as a substitute in the second half as Mansfield have missed him.
He wasn’t yet match fit on Saturday’s evidence as you’d expect, but that will have helped and he should be more up to speed for the next game. And the entire defence continued to look solid, as it has all season.
The Stags dropped into the bottom half of the table, three points outside the play-offs.
There was a huge police presence.
The crowd was smaller than I would have expected had the game kicked off at a sensible time, and there’s no doubt that the ludicrously early kick-off time of 12.15pm, on police advice, kept plenty of Stags fans away who would otherwise have come. And there are two more of these ridiculous kick-offs to come!