Mansfield Town’s under 18s host Hartlepool United this Saturday at The Worksop Van Hire Stadium in the EFL Youth Alliance (14 January, 12.00 pm kick-off).
Prior to their second fixture of the calendar year, John Dempster’s men reside top of the table with 29 points from 14 games.
Encouragingly for Mansfield’s young guns, they currently hold the division’s best defensive record. They have conceded the fewest number of goals so far (7), and boast the highest goal difference (+19).
They have tasted defeat only twice in their last eight games across all competitions, with three clean sheets to boot.
Building up to the Pools’ match, Mansfield were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Doncaster Rovers, with an own goal in each half deciding the fate of the tie.
Our youth team went into the break trailing 1-0 after skipper Morgan Ratcliffe’s own goal on 13 minutes, but Donny’s Tyler Walker steered a Teddy Bloor free-kick into his own net on 58 minutes which ensured a share of the spoils.
The Stags have already gone head-to-head against John Hewitson’s Hartlepool United in the league’s reverse fixture in October 2016, when the Pools won 1-0 on their own turf, thanks to striker Liam Travers’ 94th-minute goal.
Mansfield custodian Sam Wilson – who had conceded just one goal in the league before Travers’ strike – was the standout performer with a brilliant display between the sticks, but could not prevent his side’s nine-game unbeaten run from being halted by the visitors’ last-gasp winner.
Hartlepool currently sit 10th in the league table with 13 points from 12 games, and have won and lost four games each in their last eight fixtures across all competitions.
As they prepare to take to the field for the first time in the New Year, their last outing was an away fixture against Grimsby Town, which resulted in a 2-1 defeat.
Although Josh Hawkes handed the advantage to the Pools on eight minutes, Grimsby completed the turnaround with a goal in each half.
Mansfield Town supporters wishing to watch our players in action against Hartlepool can do so at Clipstone’s home ground, and the address is as follows:
The Worksop Van Hire Stadium,