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Youth report: Stags 2-0 Hartlepool

19 January 2018

Mansfield Town under 18s reclaimed top spot in the EFL Youth Alliance with a comfortable 2-0 win against bottom side Hartlepool United at Clipstone FC's Worksop Van Hire Stadium.

A goal from striker Iyrwah Gooden just after half-time put the Stags a goal up, and a clever, looping volley from fellow frontman Jake Dumbleton sealed the three points. 

The win sees Mansfield leap-frog Oldham Athletic into first place and extends the teams unbeaten run to seven league games. 

The first attempt of the game came from Gooden, who was dangerous throughout, his chest control, sharp turn and shot forced visiting goalkeeper Elliot Stephenson into a smart two-handed save down to his left. 

Both teams played neat, controlled attacking football but there we no clear-cut chances created until the twentieth minute, which saw the pivotal moment of the half.

Hartlepool wide-man Niall Short latched onto a long ball, his well-hit strike beat Xavier Sundby in the Stags’ goal but was brilliantly kept out on the goal line by centre-back Lewis Gibbens.

 That was as good as it got for the visitors as Mansfield created a couple of good opportunities in the remaining ten minutes. 

First, Cameron Jones ran onto a through ball and his left-footed shot flew across the area and just wide.

Central midfielder Jack Cornell forced Stephenson into action with a twenty-yard shot which the 'keeper spectacularly parried away.

 A minute into the second half saw the game-changing moment. It was provided by a direct, mazy run into the visitor's penalty area by Gooden, who composed himself and prodded the ball into the bottom right corner to put Stags one goal up. 

The quick start sparked Hartlepool into life and a spell a consistent pressure looked like it was going to get them back into the game.

 A shot from inside the area by winger Ryan Robinson was saved at the near post by Sundby, but the referee called play back to award the visitors a free-kick on the edge of the area.

It presented Hartlepool with their best opportunity since Gibbens' first-half goal-line clearance. The dead-ball was well hit by Jon Weirs but was blocked by a solid Stags wall. 

The ball rebounded into midfield where it was picked up by Jones whose run and cross found an unmarked Jake Dumbleton who was introduced at half-time. 

The striker has impressed this season with his pace and trickery on the ball, but it was a deft finish, falling backwards while managing to loop the ball over Stephenson into the top corner that put Stags 2-0 up and in complete control after 58 minutes. 

Hartlepool continued to try and pass their way back into the game but never troubled Sundby while Stags substitute Rhys Sarson had the best of the remaining chances. 

On the 87 minute mark the centre-forward charged into the penalty area and unleashed a venomous drive across goal which was finger-tipped out for a corner by a full-stretch Stephenson. 

On 91 minutes Sarson was in on goal again but was thwarted by a last-ditch slide tackle by 'Pools captain Jacob Owen.

 A game which began as a tight, evenly matched contest could have ended with Stags romping away with a big scoreline. 

Stags manager John Dempster will be happy with another win and an eighth clean-sheet in ten matches.

Next up for Mansfield is an away trip to third place Rotherham United as the tussle for the EFL Youth Alliance North East Division title gathers pace. 

STAGS XI: Sundby, Jackson (Cashmore 77), Wilder, Bircumshaw (Tague 76), Gibbens, Walker, Jones, Cornell (Dumbelton 45), Gooden, Ward, Blake (Sarson 71) 

HARTLEPOOL XI: Stephenson, Holliday, Cooper, Bayne (Thompson 81), Owen, Miller (Rennisnson 81), Robinson, Orrell, Pritchard, Weirs, Short (Scott 74) 

SUB NOT USED: Lawrence


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