Goals from Matt Rhead, Ryan Tafazolli and Jake Speight saw Mansfield Town reserves overturn Sam Collins’ 22nd minute goal to maintain their perfect start in the Central League East Division, beating Hartlepool United 3-1 at the One Call Stadium this evening.
Victories over Doncaster, Hull and Rortherham in recent weeks saw Stags top the division, that’s where Richard Coopers men will stay this evening after a commanding performance on a briskly cold night against a tough Hartlepool set up.
The Monkey Hangers second string were beaten 5-0 at the One Call Stadium last term but ensured the same wouldn’t happen again this year, after enduring a tough start to the match seeing a Matt Rhead goal ruled out for offside, they grabbed the lead through centre half Sam Collins on 22 minutes as he flicked home a pacey corner from Zak Boagey.
Mansfield responded five minutes later through Matt Rhead, the burley front man poached home from close range, following strong work down the flanks from the hardworking Stags. Seconds later, captain Lee Stevenson fired narrowly over with his left foot as Mansfield looked to grab the advantage.
Visiting keeper Andy Rafferty twice kept out Louis Briscoe on the stroke of half time, however the shot-stopper was picking the ball out of the net as defender Ryan Tafazolli swooped in to nod the Stags ahead, getting to the loose ball first.
Jake Speight made it 3-1 two minutes into the second half, hitting home on the half volley following a flick on from Ross Dyer – Speight’s excellent finish was typical of the player, who also frequently frustrated team mates as he took one too many touches loosing possession.
McCombe, Tafazolli and joint men of the match Junior Daniel and Lee Stevenson all made excellent challenges to keep the visitors at bay, goalkeeper Liam Mitchell also produced a fine save to deny former Stag Nialle Rodney – the ex-loanee also squandered numerous chances to reduce the deficit in a match Stags won comfortably in the end.
Richard Coopers men will next be in action on October 2nd as they travel to Scunthorpe United in search of a 5th straight win.
FULL TIME: Stags 3-1 Hartlepool
Referee: Adam Burgess
STAGS: Liam Mitchell, Paul Black, John McCombe, Ryan Tafazolli, Junior Daniel, Louis Briscoe (Luke Darby 85), Lee Stevenson © (Godfrey Poku 70), Keiran Murtagh, Ross Dyer, Jake Speight, Matt Rhead (Kevin Hemagou 74)
UNUSED SUBS: Ian Deakin, Billy Simpson
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