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Match Reports

Under 21s report: Hartlepool United 2-1 Stags

7 February 2017

Mansfield Town were defeated 2-1 in a tightly-fought Central League clash by Hartlepool United this afternoon.

The home side took the lead when striker Tyler Harvey scored a well-taken penalty after a foul on former Stags' winger Nathan Thomas, before midfielder Lewis Collins curled a lovely free-kick into the top corner on the stroke of half-time. 

However, a close encounter was decided early into second half stoppage time when Pools' substitute Josh Hawkes scored a near-identical free-kick to the one scored by Collins in the first period. 

Stags fielded a young side for this Central League fixture at Billingham Town, with goalkeeper Xavier Sundby, defender Tom Slone, midfielders Cameron Healey, Charlie Shaw and AJ George and forward Nyle Blake all coming in to the side in place of the first team professionals who played against Chesterfield last week. 

Hartlepool enjoyed most of the possession in the early stages but Stags were pressing high and not allowing them to launch any attacks. 

The first real sight at goal came on 11 minutes when striker Nyle Blake laid it off for skipper Lewis Collins and he flashed a left-footed effort wide from 25 yards out. 

Corners for either side came to nothing as the two defences cleared the ball comfortably before Hartlepool enjoyed their first attack. 

Hartlepool winger Connor Smith darted past left-back Louis Danquah and cut the ball back from the byline towards Tyler Harvey, but centre-half Mohammed Kamara was there to stick a leg out and clear. 

Winger Jason Law was hurt after being caught in the face by James Martin's trailing leg but picked himself up to play a lovely ball through for Lewis Collins to run on to. 

The Stags' skipper took it beyond Tolu Kayode and the centre-half tripped Collins right on the edge of the box. Law took the set piece, but hit his effort straight into the wall. 

Pools immediately countered and former Stag Nathan Thomas nipped the ball past Tom Slone, who tripped the winger in the box and handed the home side a penalty. 

Striker Tyler Harvey stepped up and confidently slotted the penalty beyond the dive of goalkeeper Sundby, who had guessed the right way. 

Stags reacted well to going behind and immediately tried to get back in the game as midfielder AJ George swung a free-kick into the box, but defender Kieran Harrison committed a foul whilst challenging for the header. 

With just over five minutes remaining before half-time, George whipped in another free-kick, this time from the right, and Jason Law flicked it towards goal, but 'keeper Joe Fryer saved well down to his left. 

Then, with half-time looming, Stags got back on level terms. Lewis Collins fizzed the ball into the feet of George 20 yards from goal and he was tripped as he laid it off for Shaw, giving Stags a free-kick. 

Skipper Collins took charge of the situation and curled a wonderful effort into the top right-hand corner of Fryer's goal to ensure Stags went in at half-time on level terms. 

Goalkeeper Sam Wilson replaced Xavier Sundby in Mike Whitlow's first change at the break. 

Stags came out for the second half and were immediately on the front foot as Blake picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, squared his defender up and curled an effort just wide of the bottom left-hand corner. 

However the Pools came back at Smith whipped in a low cross towards the front post which Wilson did well to hold in front of Harvey.

Stags then made their second change on 53 minutes when Surafel Behailu replaced Nyle Blake before Cain Smith replaced Cameron Healey. 

After the substitutions, Connor Smith looked to take the ball beyond Harrison but the defender dived in and poked the ball behind for a corner, which was taken short and wasted by Hartlepool. 

Pools' forward Tyler Harvey then headed over the crossbar from Jake Orrell's left-wing cross as the forward looked for his second goal of the game. 

Winger Nathan Thomas and midfielder Kieran Green were then replaced by Devante Rodney and Josh Hawkes as the Pools made a double change. 

Stags had the next sight at goal on 65 minutes as the impressive Law evaded two challenges before playing the ball into the feet of Behailu, who set it well on the edge of the box before having a curling effort well-saved by Fryer. 

On 68 minutes, Stags replaced winger AJ George with left-back Henri Wilder. Subsequently, Louis Danquah moved forward to a left wing position. 

Midfielder Lewis Collins dispossessed Rogerson on  minutes and shifted the ball onto his left foot for a shot, but saw his effort from 25 yards well saved by Fryer. 

Pools then replaced Tolu Kayode with Harly Wise on 71 minutes. 

Hartlepool right-back Kenton Richardson then curled a deep cross towards the back post and left-back Martin rose well above Stags' substitute Behailu, but saw his powerful header go wide of Wilson's right-hand post. 

The Pools then began to up the ante as Connor Smith's low cross was half-cleared to the edge of the box by Slone and Josh Hawkes saw his exquisite outside-of-the-foot effort fly inches wide. 

On 79 minutes, Lewis Collins played a free-kick short to Kieran Harrison, who carried it forward ten yards before hitting a powerful drive marginally wide. 

Defender Morgan Ratcliffe came on in place of Jason Law and slotted in to a central midfield position for the final ten minutes. 

Stags then survived a scare when Kieran Harrison tripped Devante Rodney on the right, giving away a free-kick and handing Pools the chance to swing the ball into the box. 

The ball went all the way through the box and fell to Josh Hawkes, whose shot was beaten away by Wilson. 

However, Hawkes was to have the last laugh as he won the game in memorable fashion as the clock ticked to 90. 

Striker Tyler Harvey got beyond Mohammed Kamara and he brought the striker down right on the edge of box and received a yellow card for his offence. 

Second half substitute Josh Hawkes stepped up and whipped the ball wonderfully into the top corner to secure three points for the Pools and broke the hearts of the young Stags. 

Hartlepool XI: Fryer, Richardson, Martin, Green (Rodney 60), Reid, Kayode (Wise 70), Smith, Rogerson, Harvey, Orrell, Thomas (Hawkes 60)

Subs not used: Assenso, Catterick

Stags' XI: Sundby (Wilson 46), Slone, Danquah, Healey (C.Smith 56), Kamara, Harrison, Shaw, Lewis Collins, N.Blake (Behailu 54), Law (Ratcliffe 81), George (Wilder 68)

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