It’s good times being a Stags fan at the minute, after last weekend’s derby-day victory over Chesterfield Paul Cox’s men sit third in the league table with an eight game unbeaten run, the last three of which being victories.
However as the Stags enter October they’ll be looking to stop a pattern which has emerged during the seasons third month, the dreaded rough patch of form. During Cox’s debut season in 2011-12, Mansfield picked up eight points from a possible 15 and struggled against Forest Green (playing 45 minutes with ten men), Alfreton (fighting back to beat nine men by one goal) and Lincoln (scoring late on to steal a point) – Last term October saw Cox’s men collect four points from twelve, being battered at Cambridge and Dartford whilst struggling against Forest Green & Lincoln. You could argue a win against Workington last October made things better but statistically, October has never been too kind to Cox’s Stags whether it be in performance or results.
After such a great start this term in league two, it’s key to maintain the results which have saw us climb to third. We face tough opposition in Hartlepool, Bristol Rovers, Torquay, Bury and Plymouth not forgetting Chesterfield in the cup, if we can stay unbeaten at least then I feel not only will we send a real statement of intent to our competitors but we’ll be in a great position to challenge for the remainder of the season.
I’ve been critical of the system that Cox has played but can’t argue that it works, no matter what we play I believe the spirit in the camp is high and everyone, even son earlier on, has a sense of what they want to accomplish and that has been, and will hopefully continue to be, the driving force to success.
Hartlepool are tough opponents and will give us a real tough time tomorrow, minds need to be focussed on getting three points and potentially climbing higher rather than being on another showdown with Chesterfield on Tuesday. Despite a poor start to league two life following relegation last term, Colin Coopers side have collected three of their six points so far on the road, drawing with York, Torquay and Bristol Rovers so lets stay focused on the task in hand rather than dreaming of more derby-day success, that’s for next week!
It’s time to show that we can go on as we’ve started and that we are not a side, riding the wave of previous success – it’s the point of the season now we’re our football needs to silence those critics that say we have no staying power, let’s stop October being the start of our grey spell like the weather and let those colder Saturday afternoons and dark Tuesday nights become warm and light in the wake of our success – fingers crossed too that Alan Marriott and Paul Cox become award winner later today as there nominated for league two player and manager of the month respectively.
LAST TIME WE MET
Over the last few seasons the reserves of these two have met frequently, a mere two weeks ago our second string stuffed the pools 3-1 at the One Call. However the senior sides have to go back to 2006-07 for their last meeting, Hartlepool winning 1-0 at Field Mill as was thanks to Andy Monkhouse’s 74th minute header whilst, earlier in the season the pools won 2-0 on their home turf thanks to a brace for Joel Porter.
Mansfield’s last victory in over Hartlepool came in January 2002 as an own goal added too strikes from Wayne Corden and Chris Greenacre gave Stags the points.
In total the sides have met 82 times league and cup, the Stags have 40 wins to Hartlepool’s 27 and also lead the goals tally 154-114. At the One Call Stadium, Hartlepool have only ever managed six victories and two draws as the Stags have clocked up 31 wins with 102 goals to just 32.
Martin Riley serves the final match of his three game suspension whilst Chris Clements remains on the side-lines through injury. Goalkeeper Ian Deakin returned to action midweek for the reserves although he won’t want to recall it too much as Stags threw away a 3-0 lead to be beaten 5-3 by Scunthorpe United.
Written by Craig Priest
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