Mansfield Town’s fine form came to an end yesterday afternoon as struggling Hartlepool United romped to a 4-1 victory at the One Call Stadium.
The Stags were a far cry from the heroes who performed so magnificently last week at Chesterfield and were cut apart like a knife through melting butter against a Hartlepool side who, prior to the match, had picked up only one victory so far.
Paul Cox stuck with the same side that earned heroic status last weekend yet watched on as his side came under early pressure, Ryan Tafazolli blocking an effort from Monkhouse within the opening minute before Anthony Howell went into the referee’s book for a late challenge seconds later.
Tafazolli looked the sharpest of the side and twice struck the post on six as James Jennings whipped in a free kick from the right hand side – Jamie McGuire also swung a cross in which Hutchinson headed wide a second later however it was the visitors who took the lead on eight minutes.
Mansfield were completely undone by Hartlepools Andy Monkhouse who weaved his way down the left hand side, turning past Jennings before unleashing an unstoppable effort beyond Alan Marriott.
Marriott then came to the Stags rescue on 23 minutes when he palmed away another Monkhouse drive, two minutes later Paul Cox made the tactical switch to 4-4-2 withdrawing Ryan Tafazolli for Lindon Meikle – a move which perhaps will be seen as costly as Tafazolli was having another solid game whilst full back Jennings, was being pulled from pillar to post.
A minute before the break the visitors doubled their lead in similar fashion to the opener, this time it was Compton on the score-sheet, dancing his way around Jennings before drilled low underneath a furious Marriott.
Cox then made a desperate throw of the dice at the break as he looked to save the game, Matt Rhead and Ollie Palmer introduced to replace Hutchinson and Andrew respectively. In fairness the switch almost paid off within seconds of the restart as Rhead flicked the ball into Clucas’ path from Marriott’s long clearance, the Stags leading marksman was unable to keep his effort on target cutting in from the right hand side.
The Stags were soon left to curse their miss on 50 minutes as Compton grabbed his second and Hartlepool’s third of the game, curling home a free kick from the left hand side after Howell had tripped him on the edge of the area.
Jamie McGuire and Sam Clucas both saw half efforts go astray for Stags after the hour, however lady luck just wasn’t smiling, not until the 75th minute at least when Mansfield were awarded a penalty. Clucas cooley converted but his 5th goal of the season failed to start a comeback as a mere three minutes later, Compton ghosted his way past Jennings before setting up James Poole for Hartlepool’s fourth of the afternoon – a fine strike from 18 yards.
FULL TIME: Mansfield Town 1-4 Hartlepool United
Attendance: 3,457 (273)
Referee: Graham Horwood
Stags: Alan Marriott, Lee Beevers, Ritchie Sutton, John Dempster ©, Ryan Tafazolli (Lindon Meikle 27), James Jennings, Jamie McGuire, Anthony Howell, Ben Hutchinson (Matt Rhead HT), Sam Clucas, Calvin Andrew (Ollie Palmer HT)
Unused Subs: Keiran Murtagh, Lee Stevenson, Jake Speight, Junior Daniel
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