STAGS GIVE IT AWAY IN DEFEAT AT HARTLEPOOL
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Hartlepool United 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Walker pen 47
Attendance: 4,166 (317 from Mansfield)
Date: 21 March 2015
Martin Shaw at Victoria Park
Mansfield Town brought defeat on themselves in a frustrating afternoon at Hartlepool. In a very tight game, Hartlepool rarely looked like scoring but were gifted a penalty on 47 minutes that was to prove the only goal of the game. It was a personal disaster for Lee Beevers, goalscorer and my man of the match on Tuesday, who went from hero to zero. It started with a poor clearance from Beevers straight into Nicky Feathersone, Featherstone broke forward and got goalside of Beevers in the box on the left, and Beevers unnecessarily brought him down for what looked a clear penalty to me despite protests from the Stags players. Brad Walker sent Pidgeley the wrong way from the spot. 12 minutes later a very high kick from Junior Brown, with his studs going into the face Brad Walker, gave the referee no choice but to issue a red card. It was a bad mistake from Brown in my opinion, even though he didn’t mean to injure the player. Even down to 10 men, it was the Stags who came closest to scoring with Kee’s low free kick from 20 yards well saved by Scott Flinders on 74 minutes, and then Clements bringing an ever better save from the keeper with a terrific shot from the edge of the box that Flinders beat away. Stags boss Adam Murray had thrown 4 men up front, leaving just 3 at the back and 2 in midfield but the Stags couldn’t force the equaliser and Hartlepool hung on for a massive win that moves them within a point of safety (goal difference aside). The Stags remain 8 points above the relegation zone with 8 games left: 8 points above Cheltenham and Tranmere, 7 above York, and 9 above Hartlepool. Very frustrating but no panic for the Stags, who have taken 17 points from 11 games, and have a point more than the corresponding stage last season. But it goes without saying that next Saturday’s game at home to York is a big one. Come on Mansfield!
Report in the match centre
Hartlepool United 1 Mansfield Town 0: Match report
By Sarah Clapson, Nottingham Post
A second half Brad Walker penalty condemned Mansfield Town to a 1-0 defeat at Hartlepool United.
Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/Hartlepool-United-1-Mansfield-Town-0-Match-report/story-26210364-detail/story.html#ixzz3V3FKTB6h
There was little to choose between the two teams at half-time, but Pools came out fired up for the second half and took the lead a minute later.
Junior Brown's dismissal on the hour left Mansfield with a mountain to climb.
They still put up a fight, but there was no way through as the home side furthered their hopes of completing a great escape.
Little more than 24 hours after signing, there was a debut for winger Terry Hawkridge as Stags boss Adam Murray made three changes to his starting line-up.
Former Carlton Town midfielder Hawkridge, who joined on loan from Scunthorpe United, replaced Reggie Lambe, while defender Michael Raynes made his comeback from a hamstring injury and Simon Heslop was included in the XI. Ryan Tafazolli and Vadaine Oliver were the other players to miss out.
A scrappy first half saw neither side really able to take control of the game, with only one shot on target.
The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession but couldn't quite get the better of the Pools back four, while some sloppy play allowed their opponents the opportunity to break forward.
The best chance fell to Mansfield on the 20 minute mark, when good work by Chris Clements earned a corner. The midfielder took it and Raynes wasn't too far away with a header.
The defender was considerably closer at least, than Junior Brown, who headed a Lee Beevers cross well wide in the second minute.
But it was Clements who was the only man to summon a goalbound shot in the first 45 minutes, though his tame, scruffy strike from 20 yards trickled straight into the hands of Scott Flinders.
The goalkeeper's opposite number, Lenny Pidgeley had even less to do before the break.
A good run by Walker was cut out by Raynes following a slip from Martin Riley, while the Stags stopper comfortably caught a header from Ryan Bird, despite coming under pressure.
That all happened before the ten minute mark, and there was little further action in the penalty box - a 30-yard volley from Aaron Tshibola about as close as the hosts came.
It didn't take long for Hartlepool to change that in the second half though.
They started the brighter of the two sides and went ahead in the 46th minute.
Referee Darren Handley had little option but to point to the spot when Beevers brought down Nicky Featherstone and Walker thumped home the resulting penalty.
Pools' tails were up as a result, and they began to apply a spell of pressure; Jordan Jones curling a shot over.
And the task got even tougher for Mansfield when they were reduced to ten men with half an hour still to play.
Brown was shown a straight red card for a late, high challenge which saw his boot fly straight into Walker's face.
The visitors however, galvanised themselves and had chances to draw level.
Billy Kee drew Flinders into action with a free-kick after the front man was fouled by David Mirfin on the edge of the area. The Pools keeper though, got everything behind it.
A Lambe shot on the turn after some pinball inside the area also required thwarting, before Flinders showed great reactions to stop a fierce strike from Clements from range.
Try as they might though, the Stags didn't have the cutting edge to make it count.
HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Austin, Harrison (J Jones 33), Mirfin, D Jones, Duckworth, Featherstone, Walker (Hawkins 90+3), Tshibola, Franks, Bird. Subs not used: Maxted, Harewood, Nelson-Addy, Richards, Smith.
MANSFIELD: Pidgeley, Beevers (Bingham 72), Riley, Raynes, Elder, Brown, Heslop (Oliver 50), Clements, McGuire, Hawkridge (Lambe 53), Kee. Subs not used: Studer, Sutton, Rhead, Ravenhill.
ATTENDANCE: 4,166 (317 away).
Hartlepool United 1 Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk, by freelance Sports Reporter
Mansfield went down to another away defeat - number 13 of the season - at bottom of the table Hartlepool, thanks to Brad Walker’s penalty early in the second half.
The Stags played the last half hour with ten men when Junior Brown was red-carded, and while they pressed late on they could not match Pools for effort and commitment.
Hartlepool had the two early chances in the game, but the Stags were not troubled.
Ryan Bird broke away on the right side, a quick burst of speed taking him past Simon Heslop and he tried to feed Jon Franks in the area, but some smart covering from Michael Raynes diverted the ball for a corner.
Then Franks crossed, Bird headed at goal and, while the ball floated high up towards the top corner, keeper Lennny Pidgeley gathered under pressure.
The Stags first chance came on 19 minutes, Raynes heading a corner wide from ten yards.
Pools were forced into a change when Scott Harrison, dominant at centre-half, went off after taking a blow to the head and the Stags then enjoyed their most productive spell, moving the ball around well.
On half-time, Pools midfielder Aaron Tshibola fizzed a volley wide of the post, but three minutes into the second-half the Stags trailed.
Nicky Featherstone made the most of a kind bounce to progress into the area and was bundled over by Martin Riley (correction by Martin - it was Beevers).
Referee Darren Handley had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Walker sent Pidgeley the wrong way from 12 yards.
And it got worse for the Stags on the hour mark. Junior Brown challenged Walker for a high ball and managed to plant his studs into the scorer’s face. No malice intended, but Mr Handley sent him off.
However the Stags pressed for a leveller and were three times denied in quick succession by Pools’ keeper Scott Flinders.
First he saved a low Billy Kee free-kick that was curled low around the wall, before stopping a shot from substitute Reggie Lambe after a frantic goalmouth scramble.
The inspired keeper saved his best for last however, diving high to his right to paw away a stunning Chris Clements shot from 30 yards out.
Three In A Row For Pools
report from hartlepoolunited.co.uk
Pools made it the perfect week by beating Mansfield Town 1-0 at The Vic, making it three wins in a row.
Brad Walker scored the only goal of the game and Ronnie Moore’s side now sit just one point below two teams at the bottom of League Two.
Read more at http://www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk/news/article/three-in-a-row-for-pools-2349946.aspx#SA5tOtgfbD1EK0ae.99
The game started out at a fast pace, with clear intention from both sides but the high tempo did not last in what turned out to be a scrappy first half.
On six minutes Ryan Bird intercepted a pass to burst forward into the box but as he sent the ball square for strike partner Jonathan Franks, Lee Beevers intercepted to clear the ball.
Jonathan Franks crossed in from the right in Pools’ next attack where Bird was waiting to head at goal but Mansfield keeper Lenny Pidgeley was able to claim, despite pressure from Aaron Tshibola.
With the visitors attacking, Scott Harrison rose to power a typically forceful header clear - but this time he clashed heads with his opponent and went down. After some treatment and a change of shirt, the big defender tried to continue but was forced to concede ten minutes later when he was forced off looking shaky.
By this point Mansfield were looking the more composed of the two teams and Pools were having to carry out the majority of their work at the back.
For a spell, this stop-start fixture largely involved Pools sending the ball back upfield and Mansfield quickly returning it on the attack.
The visitors were seeing more of the ball but rarely threatened to break through the back line to test Scott Flinders in goal. A scuffed effort from Chris Clements on the edge of the area which rolled into Flinders’ arms was as close as they came in the first half.
A Michael Duckworth freekick just before the break was headed back into the mix by David Mirfin who picked out Aaron Tshibola. He tried a powerful drive through the box but his effort went wide.
Half time gave Pools a chance to re-group and to come out and take the game to Mansfield in the second 45.
Within a minute of the re-start, Pools had a great chance to go ahead; brilliant determination from Nicky Featherstone saw the midfielder block an attempted clearance just over the half-way line. With the ball cannoning off Featherstone, he gave chase to win the loose ball and push into the box where he was tripped by the defender.
The referee pointed to the spot and Brad Walker stepped up to calmly slot home, giving Pools the lead in a so-far tense encounter.
The goal gave Pools the belief they needed to push on and Ronnie Moore’s side started to look much more likely going forward.
Junior Brown was sent off for the visitors after a high challenge saw his boot connect with Brad Walker’s face. The referee was quick to produce the card and Mansfield were reduced to ten men.
Pools had a chance to quickly take advantage of the extra man as Franks pushed forward down the right to cross into the box for Bird but his final strike went over the bar.
As can be the case with a team down to ten men, Mansfield Town saw plenty of the ball and continued to test the Pools back line.
It it was an improved Pools in this second half and they to showed more going forward, with Jordan Jones bright down the left and Franks offering an option down the other wing.
The visitors won a freekick on 74 minutes right on the edge of the box to give Pools something to deal with but, while Billy Kee’s strike beat the wall, it didn’t beat Flinders and the keeper got down to hold the shot.
Flinders was back in action just minutes later as Pools faced more pressure - this time the Pools stopper pulled off a great save to deny Chris Clements an equaliser.
Nicky Featherstone was in great form for Pools again this afternoon and he linked up well with the front three, in particular Jordan Jones down the left to relieve the pressure for Pools as the visitors looked to draw level.
But Moore’s side battled hard right into the five minutes of added time and fought for the three points up to the final whistle.
Pools now lie just one point adrift at the bottom of the league, with Cambridge United next up at The Vic next Saturday.
Full Time: Pools 1 Mansfield Town 0
Attendance: 4166 (317 Mansfield Town)
Booked: Tshibola (33)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Harrison (J Jones 33), Mirfin, D Jones, Duckworth, Featherstone, Tshibola, Walker (Hawkins 90), Franks, Bird.
Subs Not Used: Maxted, Richards, Nelson-Addy, Harewood, Smith.
Mansfield Town: Pidgeley, Riley, McGuire, Heslop (Oliver 50), Beevers (Bingham 71), Brown, Elder, Clements, Kee, Raynes, Hawkridge (Lambe 53).
Subs Not Used: Studer, Sutton, Rhead, Ravenhill.
Three wins in a week for Pools
thenorthernecho.co.uk, by Nick Loughlin
THE Great Escape could well be on for Hartlepool United after a third successive win.
Pools, after seeing off Mansfield at a raucous Victoria Park, are only a point from safety at the bottom of the Football League.
Defeats for Tranmere and Cheltenham and draws for York and Carlisle mean the gap is as close as it ever has been.
And, with a home game to come with Cambridge next weekend, could Pools be off the bottom in a week?
They beat ten-man Mansfield thanks to Brad Walker’s second-half penalty - their third win in seven days without conceding a goal.
Amid a tame first-half, chances for both sides were rare. But Pools took the game to the Stags at the start of the second period.
Nicky Featherstone was bundled over in the area by Lee Beevers and Walker made no mistake from 12 yards.
The Stags were down in numbers when Junior Brown challenged Walker for a high ball, but planted his studs into the goalscorers head. And, while there was no malice intended, referee Darren Handley had little choice.
The Stags switched to a 3-2-4 formation and pressed Pools back.
Goalkeeper Scott Flinders saved low from Billy Kee, before diving high to his right to push out a stinging Chris Clements drive from distance.
Pools boss Ronnie Moore said: “It’s been a massive week and we said that all along we do our part, others will falter and others are starting to feel the pressure now.
“We have closed the gap, we normally give hope and take it away again, but nothing but praise for the way they have done their job.
“It’s one point and the fans stayed with us, they were loyal and they want it as much as anyone.’’
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Harrison (J Jones 33), Mirfin, D Jones; Duckworth, Tshibola, Featherstone, Walker (Hawkins 90), Austin; Bird, Franks. Subs: Maxted (gk), Harewood, Nelson-Aaddy, Richards, Smith
MANSFIELD: Pidgley; Beevers (Bingham 72), Raynes, Riley, Heslop; McGuire; Hawkridge (Lambe 53), Clements, Heslop (Oliver 50), Brown; Kee. Subs: Studer (gk), Sutton, Rhead, Ravenhill.
Referee: Darren Handley
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