It was another disappointing afternoon for Pools as they lost out 4-0 at Mansfield Town.
Dave Jones’ men put in a below-par display and were made to pay by the in-form Stags who took full advantage of some suspect defending at times.
Shaquile Coulthirst fired in the first warning shot within the first ten minutes, sending a low drive just wide of Adam Bartlett’s left-hand post as the hosts started strongest.
Pools did manage their best chance of the half on 14 minutes when a slip by Rhys Bennett allowed Padraig Amond to run through on goal. With former Pools loan man Jake Kean off his line, Amond went in for a chipped effort but his shot landed on the roof of the net.
And from then on in, there was little Pools offered to really force Kean into action.
The first goal arrived on 18 minutes as Pools allowed the ball to cannon around inside the area, with nobody making sure to clear the danger. The ball made it out only as far as Ben Whiteman who powered a drive through the crowd and past Adam Bartlett to make it 1-0.
Less than ten minutes later and it was 2-0; a rare slip at the back from Matthew Bates saw the ball roll nicely for Danny Rose who rounded a stranded Bartlett to slot home the second goal of the game.
There were further chances for the hosts before half time, with Bartlett tipping a headed effort from Bennett round the post and the Pools keeper holding onto Whiteman’s shot from distance.
Scott Harrison put in a last-gasp tackle to deny Coulthirst the chance to shoot on goal, while Bennett headed wide from the resulting corner.
There was little to cheer for the travelling Pools fans on a icily cold afternoon at the One Call Stadium as the team went in 2-0 down at the break.
Pools did look at little more lively at the start of the second half but it was Mansfield who had the first real chance on goal as Danny Rose tried his luck with a chipped effort from the edge of the box, which went high of target.
Jones’ side saw more of the ball in the second half but just couldn’t break past the Mansfield back line to get a shot on target.
And on 70 minutes, the hosts upped their pressure again to move further ahead; a quick break saw the ball picked up by sub Alex MacDonald who twisted free of his marker to unleash a low drive from the edge of the box which beat Bartlett and hit the bottom corner.
Defeat was compounded just six minutes later when a cross into the box from Coulthirst was headed home by Whiteman with his second of the game.
Adam Bartlett pulled off a great save to deny Whiteman his hat-trick on 81 minutes, sticking out a hand to claw it clear before Bates arrived to head over the bar.
There were no other real chances on goal and the game finished 4-0 to Mansfield, with the defeat no doubt giving Dave Jones plenty to think about ahead of Tuesday night's trip to Luton Town.
Full Time: Mansfield Town 4 Pools 0
Attendance: 4309 (331 Pools)
Mansfield Town: Kean, Bennett, Benning, Collins, Pearce, Coulthirst (Arquin 77), Potter (MacDonald 65), White, Byrom, Whiteman, Rose (Green 69).
Subs Not Used: Shearer, Baxendale, Hamilton, McGuire.
Pools: Bartlett, Donnelly (Richardson 46), Bates, Harrison, Kavanagh, Featherstone, Walker, Nelson, Thomas (Oates 75), Amond (Alessandra 58), Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Fryer, Hawkins, Woods, Oates, Smith.