Bishop checkmates Mariners in New Year’s clash

A solitary goal from veteran midfielder Neal Bishop was enough to earn Mansfield Town the spoils in their New Year’s Day clash with the Mariners at Blundell Park.

The Stags’ central midfielder powering home a header from a corner on 21 minutes enough to end Grimsby’s recent winning run.

Again the home side were patched up at the back. Saturday’s dismissal of Alex Whitmore meant manager Michael Jolley started the game with no fit senior centre-halves.

Mitch Rose was drafted in at right-back, with Reece Hall-Johnson and Luke Hendrie taking up the two berths in the middle and Andrew Fox in his customary position on the left side of defence.

But the Mariners were undeterred on a blustery day by the East Coast and they came close to opening the scoring on eight minutes when Wes Thomas got in behind the defence, poked the ball beyond Stags’ stopper Conrad Logan, only for Krystian Pearce to hook the ball away.

Then came the big talking point of the match as Bishop appeared to haul back Eliott Embleton in an off-the-ball incident. The referee gave the former Scunthorpe man a telling-off but no further action was taken – it would soon come back to haunt the Mariners.

The Stags soon took control though and, on 21 minutes, James McKeown was forced into an excellent parry to deny CJ Hamilton the opening goal.

From the corner, the visitors did take the lead though; Bishop stealing a yard and thumping a header home from inside the area.

The hosts responded well with Harry Clifton hitting the side netting on the volley but Mansfield were always a threat on the break and Tyler Walker flashed an effort just wide ten minutes before the interval.

Jolley was forced into another defensive change at the break as Fox was taken ill and replaced by Martyn Woolford.

The Mariners rallied and Logan was called into action twice in as many minutes, pulling off excellent saves to keep out the dangerous Embleton.

Ahkeem Rose and Charles Vernam were thrown on in place of Ben Pringle and Harry Cardwell, as the home side pushed for an equaliser but it was Walker who went close again when he forced another top-drawer save out of McKeown.

The Mariners had one final chance when Vernam burst into the box. The former Derby man went down under pressure but the penalty appeals were waved away by the referee.

Mariners | McKeown; M Rose, Hall-Johnson, Hendrie, Fox (Woolford); Embleton, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Pringle (A Rose); Thomas, Cardwell (Vernam). Subs not used: Russell, Welsh, Cook, Pollock

Stags | Logan; Preston, Pearce, Sweeney, White; Mellis, Bishop, Benning; Walker, Rose (Elsnik), Hamilton. Subs not used: Law, Kean, Atkinson, Khan, Butcher, Graham

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