Pools Reserves were beaten 3-0 at Mansfield Town on Thursday afternoon in their latest outing in the Central League.
Ian McGuckin’s young side were more than competitive in the game but it was the older and more experienced Stags line-up which ran out winners at Brooksby Melton College.
Pools gave as good as they got for the majority of the encounter and carved out a number of good scoring opportunities without finding their real cutting edge in front of goal and that proved to be the difference.
Town had to produce some good defending to deny Jon Weirs and Niall Short who both had shots on goal which were blocked by a resolute home defence.
However, Pools were made to defend with determination at times as well during an entertaining encounter which swung from one end to the other.
Pools suffered a double blow just before the break when the hosts stole in front with a wonderful goal curled home from the edge of the box and then Short was forced off after falling awkwardly on his arm.
McGuckin’s men rallied after the break and there were more chances to get back in to the game as both sides had their spells of possession and dominance.
On 70 minutes Mansfield dealt a killer blow when they grabbed a second goal, intercepting well as Pools looked to press and breaking downfield with an effective counter-attack to make it 2-0.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of Pools and they conceded a third on 84 minutes when they failed to deal with a ball in to the box and The Stags front man produced a low finish.
“It obviously wasn’t the result we wanted but there were still plenty of pleasing factors,” McGuckin told us.
“We knew it would be a big test because the majority of their team was made up of young professionals but it was a competitive game and our lads battled well.
“We had some long spells in the game where we were on top and created chances so on another day we definitely could have come away with something.
“We’re not too disappointed with the performance overall but certainly it’s another afternoon down to experience for our young players and I’m sure they will learn from it.”
Full Time: Mansfield Town 3 Pools 0
Pools: Catterick, Holliday, Owen, Cunningham, Cooper, Robinson (Scott 82), Weirs, Cunningham (Miller 46), Short (Bayne 42), Boyle, Jackson.
Subs not used: Lawrence.