Mansfield Too Good For Grimsby

Mansfield Town 2-0 Grimsby Town (EFL League Two) 26.12.23

Another win, and another clean sheet, as back-to-back 2-0 wins for Nigel Clough and his Mansfield Town side keeps them in the hunt, in third place, in Sky Bet EFL League Two, affording the Stags faithful continued, festive cheer.

It’s also four successive games in which Mansfield have netted in the first half, this time both goals arriving in the forty-five, and proving the undoing of the visiting Mariners, Davis Keillor-Dunn having been pushed more slightly forward, and netted what was his thirteenth goal of the season.

Fellow Stags midfielder, George Maris, added the killer second for the hosts, deep into first half stoppage time, Clough’s side keeping up their relentless march for top spot.

Not for the first time in recent seasons, the Stags had numerous chances throughout the contest, the game perhaps unfortunate to have just the two goals, especially from the hosts’ perspective; both sides created early opportunities with the visitors seeing efforts from Rekeil Pyke, saved by Christy Pym, and Arthur Gnahoua hitting the upright, in the opening ten minutes alone.

The opener though, it came the way of the free-flowing hosts, just before the twenty-minute mark, Maris beating his marker to the ball and playing a perfect, slide-rule pass, through to Keillor-Dunn, the mercurial attacking midfielder then cut inside from the right, and drilled a left-footed, deflected effort, into Harvey Cartwright’s net.

The visitors would again rattle Pym’s crossbar, this time just after the half hour mark when Kieran Green’s shot ricochets back, and Pym denies Gnahoua, on the rebound, with his legs; the hosts though, they weren’t done themselves and, despite effort from Lucas Akins and Maris, probed for the second goal.

That eventually arrived in the fifth minute of first half stoppage time, Maris on a charge forward before unleashing a 25-yarder into the bottom corner of Cartwright’s goal, for his sixth of the season, and in doing so, afforded the Stags a two-goal cushion at the break.

Into the second half and the Stags continued their relentless push for more goals; Keillor-Dunn twice being thwarted by Cartwright within fifteen of the restart, his second effort producing a fine, fingertip save from the visiting shot-stopper.

With fifteen left on the clock, and the hosts searching a third, it would be they who would find the woodwork, Ollie Clarke, on for Stephen Quinn minutes earlier, seeing his chested down, left-footed volley, shave Cartwright’s crossbar; he again coming to the Mariners rescue as the game ticked into the final ten minutes to prevent Stephen McLaughlin’s header going in.

Cartwright was been with four minutes of normal time remaining, however, the offside flag meant it didn’t count after Will Swan squared for Akins, the provider deemed to have been in an offside position at the time.

It mattered not however, the Stage collecting a second successive 2-0 win over the festive period, much to the delight of the home support, ahead of this Friday (29 December, 19:45) night’s home game with fifth bottom, Doncaster Rovers.

With thirteen goals, and five assists to his name, it’s been a very productive, first half of the season for Keillor-Dunn as the Stags go into the Doncaster game, one which marks the half-way point of the season, sitting third in the table.

A tight top-four sees Stockport County sitting in first on 50 points, Wrexham second on 46, Mansfield third with 45, and Barrow in fourth on 44, Clough’s side with a game in hand on Wrexham and Barrow, and two in hand on the leaders – the New Year is shaping up to be an interesting one indeed.

Stags: Christy Pym, Calum Johnson (Stephen McLaughlin, 46), Aden Flint, Baily Cargill, Jordan Bowery, Louis Reed (George Williams, 85), Lewis Brunt, George Maris (Rhys Oates, 69), Stephen Quinn (Ollie Clarke, 69), Davis Keillor-Dunn (Will Swan, 85), Lucas Akins.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @mansfieldtownfc a second 2-0 win over Xmas has Mansfield now five points off top.

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