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Goalmatch action
Goalmatch action

Cartwright Stops a Rout

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 26/12/2023

GRIMSBY were well beaten at Mansfield where they lost 2-0 in the early Boxing Day game. The Mariners created all their best chances in the first half but were 2-0 down at the break. Mansfield created many good openings after the break and could have won by a much greater margin.

Harvey Cartwright was the man of the match for a string of top saves in the second half that at least gave Grimsby hope of salvaging something from the game if only they could score. Unfortunately, the Mariners created almost nothing in the second half of the match.

Three changes were made after the defeat by Harrogate. Efete, Green and Pyke came in for Mullarkey, Hunt and Eisa. Pyke drew two saves from Pym early in the game as the Mariners started strongly against tough opposition. Gnahoua then hit the post, but the Mansfield found their rhythm and started to dominate proceedings. The Mariners gave the ball away for the first goal but were unfortunate to go behind when a deflected shot by Keillor-Dunn wrong-footed Cartwright.

Town carried on to try to play the ball out from the back and occasionally got caught. Efete was guilty on one occasion and Akins almost scored from a back flick.

The injured Pyke was replaced by Eisa. Mansfield continued to carve out regular chances but Town almost scored near the end of the first half when Green hit the bar and then Pym saved again with his feet from Gnahoua's rebound attempt.

With the first half looking like it would end 1-0 Grimsby switched off and allowed Maris the space to advance and fire a low shot past Cartwright.

The second half was a string of attempts by Mansfield and numerous saves by Cartwright, many from close range. Substitute Clarke also hit the bar with a volley. The Stags had an incredible 39 shots on goal during the game and won 15 corners - way more than Premier League Brighton managed in the one-sided FA Cup game last season.

The gulf between the sides was evident and worrying. The new style of play introduced by the manager started well, but on the evidence of the last two games, it is proving easy for other sides to counter. The Mariners' next two games are against Salford (Friday, away) and Walsall (Monday, home), both teams around them in the table. Town need points from these games to avoid getting drawn into the battle at the foot of the table.

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