OPINION: Stags deserved nothing in Grimsby defeat

Mansfield Town's Ben Whiteman makes the pass - Photo by Chris Holloway
Mansfield Town's Ben Whiteman makes the pass - Photo by Chris Holloway

Mansfield Town were beaten in the league for the first time in 2017, putting in a poor performance to lose at Grimsby Town on Saturday.

There was a fantastic away following of over 1200, which gave the team tremendous support.

But sadly the team carried on from the poor showing against Accrington last Tuesday, and this time didn’t deserve anything from the game.

Grimsby produced what was, according to their experienced centre half Shaun Pearson, their best home performance of the season.

They were not outstanding by any means in my opinion but were the better side.

Everyone in the Stags side produced a five out of 10 performance, in my opinion, whilst no-one was abysmal.

Ironically the only exception was Hayden White, who was my man of the match, despite letting himself down by getting sent-off. He was involved in Mansfield’s best moments going forward, including one great cross for Coulthirst, and he generally defended well.

He was sent off for two yellows, the first was a bad foul, the second was for something he said and that was irresponsible when he was already on a yellow.

The first half was very even, but Grimsby led at the break with Chris Clements scoring against his former club as he bundled the goalwards from close range and Jake Kean couldn’t stop it going over the line.

Actually Kean could have done better and a firmer hand would have kept it out.

Clements celebrated right in front of the Stags fans by pointing to the name on the back of his shirt.

Clements sent me a note on Sunday after reading my match report on Stagsnet, to explain that this was in response to being booed before and at the start of the game, which he was surprised about.

We had chatted to Micky Moore before the game. He was formerly a coach at Mansfield and is now assistant manager at Grimsby.

He had told us that Clements needs to bring more consistency to his game, but everyone knows he has enough quality when he is on his game.

Grimsby doubled their lead with a brilliant goal from Calum Dyson, on loan from Everton and netting his first senior goal, as he pushed forward down the right, cut inside Rhys Bennett who slipped over, along the edge of the area and fired a great left-footed shot into the bottom left corner. It was a superb individual goal, though Bennett should have done better.

Steve Evans was sent to the stand on 70 minutes.

He came and sat a few seats to the left of the press box and was getting verbally abused by the home fans around him.

Moments later, Mansfield conceded a penalty as Mal Benning tripped Bolarinwa in the area, a clear penalty, and unnecessary from Benning.

White said something to the referee before the penalty was taken and he was shown a second yellow card and a red card.

None of the Mansfield media had seen the red card at the time, as our attention was diverted to Steve Evans over our left shoulder as he was left totally exposed in amongst the home fans and Michael Merriman appeared from the touchline to be with him. There were no stewards to be seen anywhere.

Dyson converted the penalty and, seconds later with Evans and Merriman surrounded by home fans trying to get at Evans, they disappeared down the stairway with some fans going after him. Evans said afterwards he went to the dressing room as the game ended in a 3-0 defeat for the Stags.

There was not enough quality from Mansfield going forward.

The best chances were a couple of Matt Green headers straight at the keeper, and a volley that he miscued, plus a header from Shaq Coulthirst that was saved on the line by the keeper.

Green was isolated on his own up front with Alfie Potter ineffectual floating behind him.

Ben Whiteman, so outstanding in his first few games, had another quiet game as he did on Tuesday against Accrington. But everyone was poor in the Stags team, apart from White.

Mansfield remain in seventh place and in the play-off places, though could be overtaken by either Colchester or Wycombe who play each other on Tuesday.

The gap to third place is nine points with 14 games to go and third place looks unattainable.

The Stags have had a great 2017 but need to bounce back against Newport on Saturday.