All-Square Between Pools And Mansfield
It was a frustrating afternoon for Pools who had to settle for a point in the EFL League Two game with Mansfield Town.
There were no goals in the game at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium as Pools failed to find that killer touch to take the win.
There was early promise from Pools as former Mansfield man Nathan Thomas twice escaped down the left to send danger balls into the box for Billy Paynter and Lewis Alessandra to battle for.
Alessandra showed some fancy footwork of his own to push in from the right, nipping between two yellow shirts to send a shot at goal but his effort was deflected onto the roof of the net.
Pools did go on to dominate much of the first-half play but there was little else in terms of real threats on goal at either end of the pitch.
Alessandra remained a problem for the visitors, using his quick feet to find pockets of space around the box but Mansfield kept things tight at the back and his efforts were frustrated.
Liam Donnelly was another who impressed for Pools, both in his starting position of left back and then at right back when he switched to replce the injured Carl Magnay. The Northern Irish defender was solid at the back and offered another option for Pools going forward, with decent running down the flanks.
Nicky Featherstone set Alessandra running down the left and again he did well to create space for himself but, after taking time to pick his shot, his final strike was blocked out.
Featherstone then picked out Billy Paynter with a well-placed ball over the top and the Pools skipper then showed great strength to keep possession. Paynter shrugged off his man to get enough space to square for Josh Laurent but his shot from close range went high over the bar.
At the other end, Trevor Carson had little to do but when he was called on to deal with a freekick in from the right of the box, he did comfortably.
Pools had the ball in the back of the net ten minutes into the second half but the assistant’s flag proved the spoiler, bringing Nathan Thomas’s celebrations to a sharp halt.
Lewis Alessandra sent a corner in from the right which picked out Donnelly who powered a header at goal. His effort was blocked but Thomas picked it up to send it home only for the linesman to spot an offside and rule it out.
Alessandra was involved again just after, this time pushing forward down the right before squaring infield for Laurent who’s first shot was blocked back out to him before his second was tipped over the bar by Scott Shearer.
With some questionable challenges and an official who featured heavily this afternoon, the game had a real edge to it in spells as both sides – and in particular Pools - were left feeling aggrieved.
Malvind Benning took on two Pools defenders to get through on goal in a rare chance for the hosts but his curled effort went wide of the far post.
Billy Paynter had a great chance to give Pools the lead when Thomas set him up to the left side of the box but the striker sent his effort just high of the bar.
At the other end, Matt Green broke through to go in one-on-one with Trevor Carson but the Pools keeper made himself big to close down and did well to block the chance.
Nathan Thomas was left wondering what more he could do after sending a perfectly-placed corner in from the right which sailed across the front of goal, grazing the head of Josh Laurent as it went out at the far post.
There were five minutes of added time in the game but, despite plenty of endeavour from Pools, they just lacked that spark this afternoon and could not find that winning goal.
Full Time: Pools 0 Mansfield Town 0
Pools: Carson, Magnay (Carroll 45), Nsiala, Harrison, Donnelly, Featherstone, Laurent, Hawkins (Deverdics 80), Alessandra, Paynter (Amond 73), Thomas.
Bartlett, Richards, Fewster, Heardman.Subs Not Used:
Mansfield Town: Shearer, Bennett, Benning, Collins, Pearce, Green, M Rose, Hamilton (Gobern 46), McGuire, Iacovitti, D Rose (Hemmings 70).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Hoban, Baxendale, Hurst, Henderson.