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Reserves maintain 100% record

18 September 2013

Mansfield Town maintained their 100% record in the Central League (East Division) with a routine 3-1 victory over Hartlepool United at One Call Stadium.

The Pools took a surprise lead midway through the first period when Sam Collins’ low header wrong-footed Liam Mitchell.

But The Stags fought-back and had established a 2-1 lead by the break, courtesy of goals from Matt Rhead and Ryan Tafazolli.

Jake Speight added a third shortly after the re-start, as Mansfield continued to dominate against their youthful counterparts from the North-East.

The Stags created the first chance on a wet night in North Nottinghamshire as Ross Dyer fired straight at Hartlepool shot-stopper Andy Rafferty.

Nialle Rodney then tested Liam Mitchell’s reflexes with a well-driven effort that The Stags’ custodian did well to save.

Our second-string thought they had broken the deadlock on 18 minutes, but Louis Briscoe was flagged offside after he slotted beyond Rafferty.

Moments later, Hartlepool’s Zak Boagey had a shot deflected over, but from the resulting corner, the visitors took the lead.

Jordan Richards’ piercing set-piece towards the edge of the six-yard box found Sam Collins, whose low header beat a wrong-footed Mitchell.

Nevertheless, The Stags drew level within minutes.

Junior Daniel picked out Rhead with a left-sided cross towards the far-post, and the bustling frontman made no mistake with a calm, side-footed finish.

Tafazolli almost fired us ahead on the half-hour mark, but his bullet header from Louis Briscoe’s flag-kick was saved by Rafferty.

Briscoe also had a powerful effort blocked by Greg Rutherford prior to the break, whilst Rodney came close for The Pools with a speculative shot.

However, in added time at the end of the first period, The Stags went ahead.

On this occasion, Briscoe’s corner caused pandemonium inside the area and with The Pools unable to effectively clear the danger, Tafazolli headed home.

Speight extended Mansfield’s advantage within two minutes of the re-start, with a sublime half-volley following Rhead’s clever flick forwards.

Rodney and Speight enjoyed further chances for their respective sides, before Briscoe whistled a shot over the target on the hour-mark.

The Stags had another goal struck off on 66 minutes as Speight was judged to be in an offside position when he headed home Briscoe’s left-wing cross.

Rhead and Speight were both off-target with separate attempts from distance, as The Stags ultimately ran-out as comfortable 3-1 winners.

Team: Mitchell, Black, McCombe, Tafazolli, Daniel, Briscoe (Darby), Murtagh, Stevenson (Poku), Dyer, Rhead (Hemagou), Speight. Unused Subs: Deakin, Simpson.

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