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JJ: We always kept believing

26 December 2021

Defender/midfielder John-Joe O’Toole says he knew Stags would acquire points – even after falling 2-0 behind – in today’s Boxing Day encounter as three goals in 11 second-half minutes saw Mansfield beat Hartlepool 3-2 to increase the festive cheer at One Call Stadium.

In a game played in thick fog, O’Toole netted Mansfield’s first in the 55th minute, igniting his side’s magical comeback. 

 The 33-year-old felt Mansfield were deserved winners despite finding themselves two goals down during the match. 

“It was a brilliant game to play [in],” he said. “I think the fans probably got their monies worth today. It was exciting and it had everything. 

“We started off quite well [but] we just couldn’t quite get the goal. They then scored against the run of play [and] the message at half-time was to just keep going. 

“I think over the course of the 90 minutes we fully deserved the win.”  

O’Toole sparked Mansfield’s revival and credited his teammate George Maris’ role in assisting the crucial goal.  

“I said to him [Maris] to put the corner on the near stick and to be fair the ball was incredible,” said O’Toole. “He stuck it right on the money.  

“I glanced it and it went in.  

“Once that went in we were firing. We were always going to get something from the game after that goal. 

“The timing of the goal was good to get us back in it and give us enough time to get the other two [goals]. 

“Perhaps [we were] a little bit lucky with the [disallowed goal for] offside but over the course of the game we were deserved winners.” 

Speaking of the character of the depleted Stags, the former Northampton man said: “It’s always a tricky time of the year.

“There’s a lot of games and you’ve got to try and keep in tip-top condition.  

“When we had a few go down [unavailable] today and yesterday, I think the manager knows how strong the squad is. He wanted the game [to be] on, and you can see why because the lads have come in and done really well and we got the win.

“Everyone’s doing well and we’re in a good vein of form. 

“We want all the games to be on. We don’t want any of these games to be called off because of the form that we’re in. We’d play tomorrow if we could. 

“We’re on a good run and we just want to get up the league. We’re just getting started really. 

“There’s plenty of games to play and we want to get [at] minimum [a place in the] play offs, I don’t see why not.” 

Watch O'Toole's interview in full on iFollow Stags at mansfieldtown.net/ifollow


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