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Gaffer pleased with Pools fightback

29 December 2022

Manager Nigel Clough was pleased with his side’s ‘battling’ performance as Stags came from behind to defeat Hartlepool United 2-1 at The Suit Direct Stadium.

Striker Rhys Oates scored for the first time since his pectoral injury earlier in the season to level the game against his former club on 47 minutes. 

Oli Hawkins completed the comeback on the hour after moving from centre-back to striker at half-time. 

Mansfield have now closed the gap on third place to just five points.  

“[In the first-half] our general play was okay, we controlled the game we just couldn’t find a way to create chances,” Clough told iFollow Stags. 

“We shuffled things around [at half-time].

“I didn’t think we were too bad [first-half] we just needed a little bit more impetus up top, so we thought we’d have a go at it and get Hawks [Oli Hawkins] along with [Will] Swan and [Rhys] Oates and see if anything dropped [for us]. 

“I thought we’d throw Hawks up top, we’d been toying with the idea for a few weeks now and Oatesy’s popped up with the equaliser and Hawks has got the winner. 

“To come away from home, we restricted them to virtually nothing. I thought our battling qualities [showed] all game.” 

Mansfield’s battling performance came at a price as multiple Stags limped off with injury during the contest. 

On Ollie Clarke the gaffer said: “[It’s a] Calf strain. I’m not sure the extent of that but he’s certainly no good for New Year’s Day but definitely a calf strain.” 

On George Maris’ injury: “I thought there was a foul in the tackle on him and he’s been caught. I think he’s got an ankle/foot problem.  

“Kieran Wallace was injured again, he got a tackle just before half-time. He’s got a cut on his ankle which was quite sore. Lucas [Akins] has twisted his ankle late on, so all four we’ll have to keep an eye on for Sunday.”

On Riley Harbottle the manager said: “He’s opened his knee ligaments. We’re hoping [he’s back in] three weeks or something like that. It all depends on how it improves in the next week or so.” 

Summing up recent form, the gaffer added: “We were all bitterly disappointed on Boxing Day, it felt almost like a loss. It’s very important [to be] four games unbeaten, eight points out of 12. We know we’ve got a lot more to come in the second half of the season.” 


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