Two debutants and Tyler Blake strike to sink the Pools.
Our youth team returned to winning ways in the Football League Youth Alliance (North/East Division) with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Hartlepool United at a windy Worksop Van Hire Stadium.
The Stags controlled large parts of the game and earned their three points thanks to an early strike by Tyler Blake and goals from two debutants – Devante Reitty and Curtis Millward.
There was also an impressive performance by Stags’ goalkeeper Frazer Hampson, who commanded his area with great authority and made some key save at crucial times to keep a well-deserved clean-sheet.
On a chilly morning in North Nottinghamshire, playmaker Joe Fitzpatrick almost opened the scoring inside the first two minutes when he crept into space on the edge of the six-yard box and saw a goalbound attempt saved by the legs of the visiting ‘keeper.
Hartlepool themselves were denied an opener on the quarter-hour mark when Hampson dived full-stretch to his right and tipped away a swerving 20-yard attempt, which had caught the wind and looked very troublesome.
The save proved crucial as just a couple of minutes later the Stags took the lead.
Louis Danquah was persistent in putting his marker under pressure on the left flank and won possession, before threading a cool short pass into the path of Blake, who finished with aplomb from 12 yards.
The Stags’ scorer could have netted again within seconds of the re-start of play as Reitty’s perfectly-weighted pass put him through into a one-on-one with the ‘keeper, but on this occasion Blake’s attempt cleared the upright.
Hampson made another full-stretch save to protect our youngsters’ advantage just shy of the half-hour mark as Hartlepool, with the wind in their favour, continued to make inroads and press forward at every opportunity.
Nevertheless, the visitors were undone again in the closing stages of the first half.
Reitty showed fine technique inside the area to bamboozle a defender with his clever footwork and carve out an angle, before poking a low shot past a flat-footed visiting ‘keeper to make it 2-0.
The wind spoiled what would have otherwise been an entertaining spectacle in the second half, and as a result there were very few chances at either end.
Hampson made another good save, this time from a well-driven free-kick, and made a couple of other good stops to ensure his team had a two-goal cushion to protect going into the closing stages.
Any hopes that the Pools might have harboured about a late comeback were quashed in the final five minutes, when substitute Millward on his debut, having been threaded through by the ever-impressive Fitzpatrick.
This was a very good win for the Stags ahead of the season-finale away to local rivals Notts County in a couple of weeks time.