AFC Mansfield secured another three points in their quest for promotion with a disciplined away performance at Grimsby Borough on Saturday.
A solitary second-half goal from Danny Patterson secured a vital win against a rejuvenated Grimsby Borough side with new management and a host of new signings.
The home side looked very different from the one that took a 6-0 beating at The Forest Town Arena earlier in the season. In their ranks was ex Bulls player Lee Briggs playing at centre-half who took Grimsby’s man-of-the-match award.
The Bulls dominated the first-half but with home keeper Scott Drury in inspired form they had little to show for it. Drury was brave and efficient in dealing with a host of crosses from the visitors. Even when Craig Mitchell headed goalwards on 15 minutes Drury was alert to save down to his right.
Jake Park headed over from a Patterson cross on 20 minutes, before the home side were dealt a blow when player/manager Danny Barrett limped off with an injury on 25 minutes.
Park thought he had scored on 35 minutes but that man Drury saved with his legs with Briggs hooking the ball away to safety to keep the scores level going into the break.
The breakthrough came on 52 minutes and was to be the only goal of the game. For once Drury could not get to Luke Jeffs cross which found Park on the right of the box. Park then laid the ball back to Patterson who hit a superb curling shot from just outside the area that hit the far corner with Drury at last beaten.
Grant Allott’s header shaved the post on 65 minutes from a Danny Naylor free-kick while at the other end Jack Debnam managed just once to get behind the resolute AFC defence but fired wide when faced with Jason White to beat.
Grimsby Borough were restricted to a couple of long range efforts which White dealt with easily and Drury continued to command his box as the game drew to a finish. The home side to their credit never gave up and made the final ten minutes a little nervy for The Bulls.
AFC Mansfield await the visit next Saturday of Hull United to The Forest Town Arena in a vital game on the road to promotion.
Manager Rudy Funk said after the game: “We never looked like conceding with Jason White keeping his 12th clean sheet this season and our defence snuffed out everything Grimsby had to offer.
“In fairness they will cause teams problems and look a far better side than they did at the start of the season”.
AFC Mansfield: White, Paling, Jeffs, Allott, Timons (C), Naylor, Patterson, Buxton, Park (O’Malley 86), Mitchell, Ghaichem (Williams R 80). Subs not used: Williams D, Spencer, Swindells.
MOTM: Luke Jeffs