Mansfield Town let two-goal lead slip as bottom club Hartlepool fight back for a draw

Two goals by Hartlepool United sub Joshua Umerah rescued the visitors an unlikely 2-2 draw and stopped Mansfield Town finishing the day in the top three as tonight’s One Call Stadium clash ended in disappointment.
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Stags had looked home and dry at 2-0 up against the division’s winless bottom club.

But ex-Stags boss Keith Curle sent on Umerah who quickly netted a first before levelling matters in the 90th minute.

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Stags dominated the first half but found keeper Ben Killip in fine form while Stephen Quinn had a goal disallowed.

Action from Stags'clash with Hartlepool tonight. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger Picture.mediaAction from Stags'clash with Hartlepool tonight. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger
Action from Stags'clash with Hartlepool tonight. Photo by Chris Holloway / The Bigger

Then two goals in eight minutes after the break from George Lapslie and Riley Harbottle put Stags in charge only for a dreadful backpass by Harbottle to allow Joshua Umerah to give Pools a lifeline before powering through the home defence for a 90th minute equaliser to spoil the night.

The Stags side was unchanged from the win at Crewe last weekend.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of former Stags manager Dave Smith, who died recently, while on 54 minutes there was applause for the late Steve Hartshorn, former local radio commentator and Stags fanzine writer.

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Mansfield were immediately onto the front foot, causing problems with crosses from both wings.

On seven minutes they had their first goal effort as Clarke wriggled between three opponents, was fouled on the way, but the referee allowed play to continue and Clarke rifled a finish over from 20 yards.

That sparked Pool’s first raid, but Hawkins superbly tackled McDonald as he tried to get on the end of a through ball.

When Pools struggled to clear Stags’ fourth corner on 20 minutes the ball broke invitingly for McLaughlin six yards from goal, but he chose not to shoot and was quickly closed down.

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On 24 minutes a cutting Maris pass sent McLaughlin into space on the left and he unleashed a powerful rising shot that Killip saved diving to his right.

From the corner the ball fell nicely for Akins who should have done better as he stabbed a volley wide from seven yards.

Stags had played some lovely football but needed a goal to settle them down.

On 31 minutes Killip again came to United’s rescue with a good save to his right to turn away a vicious drive from Akins fom 20 yards and then recovered quickly to save McLaughlin’s follow-up.

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Quinn was denied the opener four minutes later as he turned home a McLaughlin cross first time at the near post only to see an offside flag raised.

Maris was shown the first yellow card on 38 minutes after a cynical trip on Sylla as Hartlepool tried to break.

Ferguson was well over from a 39th minute free kick from almost 30 yards which represented Pools’ first real pot at goal.

But in the last of the three added minutes Pym finally had work to do as he got his fingertips to a powerful long range shot from Murray with the half ending scoreless.

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Stags finally got their deserved breakthrough on 51 minutes.

Gordon sent over yet another cross from the right and this time it found Lapslie six yards out in the centre of goal where he gratefully steered it home.

The same combination almost doubled the lead six minutes later as Gordon curled a low, inviting ball for the inrushing Lapslie, but Killip produced a fantastic reaction save to keep it out.

But it was 2-0 n 59 minutes as Pools laboured to clear a corner and when the ball was lofted back into the mix, it bounced nicely for Harbottle to smash home from close range.

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Pools sent on sub Umerah and within two minutes he netted a 63rd minute lifeline.

Harbottle made an awful backpass that Umerah latched onto and rounded Pym before slotting into the net from a tight angle.

Umerah wasn’t far over with a flicked header on 76 minutes as the visitors pressed for a second.

Pym safely caught a Cooke free kick after a silly trip from Lapslie 25 yards out as we entered the last 10 minutes with nerves starting to jangle.

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On 83 minutes Stags sent on Swan and Bowery to freshen things up and Wallace followed them on soon after.

But a minute from time Umerah again powered into the box on the right from a long, hoisted ball which went over Harbottle and produced a deadly low finish to break home hearts.

Law was booked for a foul on 90+6 as Pools went for the win.

STAGS: Pym, Gordon (Bowery 83), McLaughlin, Hewitt, Harbottle (Perch 90), Akins, Clarke, Maris (Law 90), Hawkins, Quinn (Wallace 85), Lapslie (Swan 83). SUBS NOT USED: Flinders, O’Toole.

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HARTLEPOOL: Killip, Ferguson, Murray, Shelton (Umerah 61), McDonald (Hamilton 75), Ndjoli (Cooke HT), Sylla (Oduor 88), Crawford, Menayese, Lacey (Paterson HT), Tumilty. SUBS NOT USED: Letheren, Grey.

REFEREE: Craig Hicks.

ATTENDANCE: 6,891 (302 away).