Hartlepool United 2-2 Mansfield Town (EFL League Two) 29.03.22
It was a point gained but two dropped last night as Mansfield threw away an early two goal lead to share the spoils in the North East.
Manager Nigel Clough saying after “Apart from the start of the game and the five minutes before half-time, I thought we played exceptionally well tonight.
He continued “The mad five minutes before half-time has obviously cost us, but also the amount of chances we created in the second half, we failed to finish one.”
The Stags took the lead through, in form, George Lapslie who after his winning goal against Oldham at the weekend earned himself a starting place and he repaid his Manager’s faith with a fine finish on 21 minutes after neat play by Akins and Bowery.
Four minutes later, Mansfield doubled their advantage through James Perch, scoring his first goal since serious injury saw him miss the majority of the last campaign along with the start of this season, Perch looping a header over Killip after Lapslie crossed into the former Forest and Newcastle man at the back post.
Akins could have made it three on the half hour but for the goalkeeper first pushing away his attempt at goal before claiming the rebound after the Stags star headed it straight back to him, then on 41 Hartlepool reduced the deficit when eighteen year-old Joe Grey pulled one back.
Jamie Sterry’s shot originally saved by Bishop with Grey sliding home the rebound.
Two minutes later it was all square, Luke Molyneux smashing home from the edge of the box to bring back the score to stalemate before half time.
The second half was less dramatic, Stirk firing over for Mansfield on 48 whilst at the other end, Bishop denied Fletcher from 20 yards on the hour.
A minute later the Stags might have had a legitimate penalty claim as Hewitt was bundled over inside the box but the Referee Trevor Kettle instead opted to award the home side a free kick.
Further chances for Quinn, who struck a first time shot wide, then Oates, who after coming on as sub, raced past his former clubs defence to narrowly strike a left footed shot off target, but the biggest chance of the second half falling to Hartlepool in the final minute of injury time when White clean through put his effort wide, to the relief of the yellows small travelling army.
A point gained with Mansfield now eighth, a place below the playoffs but level on points with Port Vale, Newport, Bristol Rovers and Tranmere who all occupy those four important places, two points dropped however, as a win would have taken them to fourth and just a point behind third placed Northampton Town, who they host on Saturday, in the automatic places.
Hartlepool United: Killip, Sterry, Byrne, Odusina, Ferguson, Featherstone, Morris (Shelton 79), Fletcher (Crawford 79), Molyneux (White 53), Grey, Bogle.
Mansfield Town: Bishop, Hewitt, O‘Toole, Hawkins, Perch, Stirk, Quinn (Oates 67), Lapslie, Murphy (Law 24), Bowery (McLaughlin 90), Akins.
Venue: Victoria Park 4,577
*Main image @mansfieldtownfc George Lapslie in action scored his second goal in as many matches.