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Season 15/16 Stagsnet Match Report
Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town  
3 - 1
 Hartlepool United
Green 24, 81, Yussuf 57.
 Adams OG 37
Attendance: 3031 (358 from Hartlepool)
Date: 21 November 2015


Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town roared back from a five game goal drought to beat Hartlepool United 3-1 this afternoon. Matt Green scored two of the goals to end his own run of eight games without a goal, and Adi Yussuf scored the other, an absolute screamer just two minutes after coming on as substitute. It was just what the Stags deserved for a dominant performance. Mansfield took the lead on 24 minutes, when Nathan Thomas put in a great cross from the left and Green scored from close range. The relief around the One Call Stadium was palpable. Hartlepool had earlier brought a great save from Brian Jensen who tipped a shot onto the crossbar, but were level out of the blue on 37 minutes when a free kick from the halfway line was headed away by Pearce, it hit Adams on the back and rebounded into the net. Mansfield were deservedly back in front on 57 minutes when Adi Yussuf fired into the top right corner of the net from 20 yards. The Stags sealed the game on 81 minutes with great play from Yussuf who slid the ball forward to Green and Green fired under the keeper from 6 yards. Several fine performances from Mansfield players, with Nathan Thomas in particular terrorising the Hartlepool defence, running at them time after time, getting in behind and putting in crosses. Yussuf changed the game with his goal and his assist for the third. At the back, Krystian Pearce had a terrific game, as did Ryan Tafazolli, and Blair Adams was very solid against the impressive Kal Naismith.

It’s a year to the day since Adam Murray took over as caretaker manager and he can celebrate it with his side sixth in the table. Quite a turnaround from last season. The Stags can now look forward to the visit of Exeter City on Tuesday.

Mansfield made five changes from the side that lost at Oldham in the FA Cup. Brian Jensen returned in place of Scott Shearer. Mitch Rose came in for Lee Collins at right back. Clements returned from suspension in midfield in place of McGuire. Lambe came back for Blair. And Westcarr came in for Jack Thomas. It started as a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Westcarr behind Green, though Westcarr and Lambe later changed places. There was news before the game that Nicky Hunt is out for two months with a hamstring injury, which leaves the squad short on defenders. In the absence of Hunt and Collins, Chapman was the new captain. Hartlepool included former Stags striker Rakish Bingham up front. Bingham had been on the bench last week.

It was a bitterly cold afternoon in Mansfield, but fine and dry. The pitch, as usual, was in excellent condition.

On 3 minutes, a Hartlepool free kick from 35 yards was wasted as Naismith sent it harmlessly over the bar. On 6 minutes, Bingham turned inside on the right, and Adams cleared for a throw.

Hartlepool were nearly in front on 10 minutes. A great cross from the left by Caroll, and Bingham flicked a left footed shot towards the roof of the net, but Jensen superbly turned it onto the bar.

Chapman brought the home fans to life on 14 minutes with a great ball out to Rose on the right, and Rose was brought down for a free kick. It should have been a booking. A minute later, Chapman’s corner from the right was met by Tafazolli, but he couldn’t direct his header goalwards. Soon afterwards, a great run down the left by Nathan Thomas and a lovely low cross but no-one could get onto it. Moments later Rose cut inside into the box from the right and opted to shoot with men unmarked, and his left footed shot was over the bar.

More great play from Nathan Thomas on 17 minutes, he curled the ball in, Green stretched for it but couldn’t quite get there. A good tackle by Chapman on 20 minutes. By now Westcarr had moved to right midfield, with Lambe behind Green.

On 22 minutes, another corner from Chapman, Rose had half a chance, the ball came out to Westcarr who scuffed a shot wide from 12 yards. It was a chance for Westcarr. A minute later, a good ball over the top from Chapman, Green tried to get to it, and the keeper came to the edge of his area to punch away.

The Stags were right on top, winning most of the 50/50 balls and deservedly went in front on 24 minutes.

Another great cross from the left from Nathan Thomas, Green got to it at the same time as keeper Carson and the ball squirted into the net off Green from close range. His first goal since Dagenham away.

Hartlepool could have equalised on 27 minutes. Naismith curled in a free kick from the left, and Bates couldn’t convert a free header inside the six yard box. Arguably Jensen should have come for it.

On 29 minutes, a free kick from Rose, and Nathan Thomas had a goalbound shot blocked. Moments later, another Nathan Thomas cross was through everyone and out the far side.

On 31 minutes, another good cross from the left, this time by Westcarr, and Green didn’t quite get there. At the other end two minutes later, Naismith sent a daisycutter well wide from 35 yards. A minute after that, a bit of head tennis in the Stags box and James Gray volleyed a yard over the bar.

A great recovering tackle from Clements after he gave the ball away on 35 minutes. Then a good tackle from Pearce.

Hartlepool were level with a fortunate goal on 37 minutes. A free kick from the halfway line from Jake Gray into the area, Pearce headed it away from behind Adams, it hit Adams on the back and rebounded wide of Jensen into the net. So an Adams OG (not a Pearce OG as widely reported in the press).

It deflated the Stags who had been completely on top and no more chances before the break.

Lots of crosses into the box from Mansfield in the first half, with Nathan Thomas superb. The Stags were playing a high pressing game pinning Hartlepool in for long spells, but Hartlepool were level at the break.

Half time 1-1

On 51 minutes, Chapman’s corner was flapped at by the keeper but went through everyone. A minute later, a shot from Green was blocked, and Chapman’s follow-up was deflected for a corner. From the corner, Tafazolli turned and shot but it was blocked.

On 54 minutes, another great run by Nathan Thomas down the left and his low powerful cross-shot flashed just past the right post with no-one able to get a touch.

Yussuf replaced Westcarr on 55 minutes. Westcarr had put in one good cross in the first half but had otherwise been quiet.

Within two minutes, Yussuf brought the house down with a screamer from 20 yards. Yussuf headed the ball down, the ball bounced off Bates and Yussuf pounced on the loose ball just outside the box hitting a right footed piledriver into the top right corner. His third goal of the season and all have been fine goals.

On 60 minutes, Clements played a ball forward, Green got in behind the defence but his ball in was blocked for a corner.

Yussuf was booked on 61 minutes for a flying challenge.

Collins replaced Lambe on 64 minutes. Lambe had had a decent game. Collins in at right back. Rose moved to right midfield.

On 66 minutes, a shot from Chapman from 40 yards was blocked. It was really travelling and in the right direction.

Another great run by Nathan Thomas and he was fouled by right back Harrison who was booked.

On 69 minutes Rose burst into the area and was about to shoot but was too slow and Jake Caroll put in a great last ditch challenge.

On 72 minutes, a good run into the area by Nathan Thomas, who went down, but the referee said no foul.

Blair replaced Nathan Thomas on 73 minutes. Thomas came off to a standing ovation for an outstanding performance. Full back, Harrison, already on a yellow card, must have breathed a sigh of relief.

Blair was straight into the action on 76 minutes with a good run down the left, and the ball was behind for a corner. From the corner, Tafazolli went down with a back injury after being clattered. When the ball finally went out of play, Tafazolli, who had stayed down, got some attention. When the game restarted Tafazolli was booked for coming back on too soon. Some confusion as to whether it was his fifth of the season. In fact it was not. The Opta stats (on Sky website, BBC etc) reported that Tafazolli was booked at Northampton, when it was in fact Hunt. So Tafazolli now has four bookings and needs to avoid a booking in the next 2 games before the cut-off of 30 November to avoid a suspension.

Bingham, who had been quiet all game, got in a good cross on 80 minutes, and Tafazolli did well to head away.

The Stags sealed the game on 81 minutes. Collins surged to the edge of the box, slipped the ball forward to Yussuf just inside the box. Yussuf turned and fed a lovely ball in for Green who just had the keeper to beat and slotted in under him from 6 yards. Good play from Collins, a great assist from Yussuf, and Green finished with aplomb.

Hartlepool were unfortunate on 83 minutes. Naismith’s free kick from 23 yards hit the top of the bar. Naismith, who has scored against us before for Accrington, and is now on loan from Portsmouth, had been easily Hartlepool’s best player. A minute later, cool defending from Pearce as he headed back to Jensen from a ball over the top. Then Fenwick shot straight at Jensen from 22 yards on 86 minutes. A minute later, a good clearance from Pearce after Naismith’s shot had been blocked. Then Pearce beat Bingham again at the back.

On 89 minutes, Yussuf pushed forward and his goalbound shot was blocked. A minute later, good play by Yussuf on the touchline. Yussuf looked very tired, having only been on for 35 minutes.

More good play by Yussuf on 90+2, as he beat two men on the byline but his cross was out for a throw. A minute later, a great run from Green and his shot was saved by the keeper. Great to see Greenie bursting forward and looking for his hat-trick.

So a thoroughly deserved victory for the Stags and an entertaining performance, highlighted by plenty of fantastic wing play. On to the Exeter game on Tuesday night. Come on Mansfield!

Man of the match: Nathan Thomas

Report by: Martin Shaw and Simon Chamberlain at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Line Up:
Jensen 7 Terrific save to turn early header on to the bar.
Rose 7 Good game at right back, pushing forward, and then switching to right wing. Missed a good chance.
Pearce 7.5 Very good. Some good tackles and clearances.
Tafazolli 7.5 Very good game.
Adams 7.5 Very solid against the impressive Naismith.
Lambe 7 Decent game.
Clements 7 One great recovering tackle after he lost the ball.
Chapman 7.5 Some good passes. A couple of shots at goal as he searches for his first goal of the season.
N.Thomas 9 Terrorised the Hartlepool defence, running at them time after time, getting in behind and putting in some great crosses.
Westcarr 6 One good cross. Scuffed one shot wide.
Green 8 Roared back with two goals.
Sub Line Up:
Yussuf (for Westcarr, 55) 8 Huge impact and changed the game with his goal and his assist for the third.
Collins (for Lambe, 64) - Slotted in well at right back.
Blair (for N.Thomas, 73) - Good pace down the left.
Subs not used: Shearer, J.Thomas, Fitzpatrick, McGuire.
Opposition Line Up:
(4-4-2): Carson; Harrison, Bates, Jackson, Caroll; Naismith, Gray, Magnay, Oyenuga (Oates 57); Bingham, Mandron (Fenwick 70). Subs not used: Walker, Bartlett, Featherstone, Jones, Smith.
David Coote

Season 15/16 Reports