Date: 12th September 2006 at 10:40pm
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Hartlepool United boss Danny Wilson stuck with the side which drew 0-0 away at MK Dons for tonight’s home game with Mansfield Town. Stags boss Peter Shirtliff was left without Simon Brown who picked up a deadleg on Saturday.

The game started in calm and warm conditions with Pools kicking towards the 188 visiting Mansfield fans in the Rink End stand.

With just 90 seconds on the watch Willie Boland was caught on the ball just outside the Pools penalty area, Ritchie Barker found himself with just Dimitrious Konstantopolous to beat but his shot was weak and easily collected by Dimi.

Both sides cautiously settled into the game with the ball spending the majority of it’s time in the middle of the Victoria Park pitch. On 17 minutes a deep Alistar Gibb cross from the right wing found James Brown at the back post, the youngster headed straight into the welcoming arms of Jason White in the Stags goal.

Two minutes later and a driving run from Matty Robson saw White save twice from the Pools winger. Just after the half hour mark Pools had back to back corners, on both occasions shots were blocked in a packed Mansfield penalty area.

As the half wore to a close Pools started to increase the pressure on the visitors. In the 41st minute James Brown came in from the right wing and drove a shot against the inside of the far post and back into the penalty area, an inch more to the right and the ball would have flew into the back of the net.

Half Time: Hartlepool United 0 Mansfield Town 0

The second half started with no changes to either side. Both sides struggled to keep the ball on the deck and the opening 10 minutes of the second period were very scrappy.

In the 58th minute Danny Wilson made his first change of the game as Willie Boland was replaced by Gavin Strachan. Two minutes later and Matty Robson found himself in masses of space out on the left wing, with players waiting for a cross in the penalty area Robson frustratingly put the ball into the Pools fans in the Town End.

On 62 minutes Jon Daly made way for crowd favourite Joel Porter. Darren Williams picked up the first yellow card of the game for a challenge on the edge of the Pools penalty area, the resulting free kick was blocked by Matty Robson on the end of the Pools wall.

Ritchie Barker left the pitch after a clash of heads on 68 minutes. Pools had the best chance of the half on 72 minutes, Joel Porter and Matty Robson broke quickly for Pools, Robson crossed into the box for James Brown who chipped over the last defender and with just White to beat he managed to drive the ball straight at the keeper.

Five minutes later and Pools finally managed to break the deadlock. Joel Porter played the ball to Brown inside the Mansfield box, the ball bounced off the Pools striker and back into Porter’s feet who then drilled it past White. Once again a Danny Wilson substitute scores a vital goal.

Mansfield claimed a penalty in the 82nd minute, referee Haywood looked over to his assistant who gave him no help, the game continued. With just three minutes remaining Wilson made his third and final change as Eifion Williams came on for Alister Gibb.

With a nail biting finish looking on the cards Joel Porter decided to wrap up the three points single handedly. Michael Nelson hoofed the ball upfield, Porter collected just outside the penalty area and then smashed a looping effort into the top left corner of the goal, a stunning strike worthy of the entrance fee all on it’s own.

Full Time: Hartlepool United 2 Mansfield Town 0

Not a classic game by any stretch of the imagination, Mansfield looked a lot like Pools, decent on the ball but struggled to look a threat once inside the penalty area.

Willie Boland and Alistar Gibb both struggled to get into the game, but Gary Liddle was excellent at left back and of course Joel Porter will steal the headlines with two great strikes. Onwards and upwards, next up is Shrewsbury Town at Victoria Park on Saturday.

Hartlepool United: Konstantopoulos, Darren Williams, Nelson, Clark, Liddle, Gibb (Eifion Williams 87), Boland (Strachan 59), Sweeney, Robson, Daly (Porter 62), Brown.
Subs Not Used: Provett, Bullock.

Mansfield Town: White, Mullins, Baptiste, Buxton, Sheehan, Hamshaw, Dawson (Coke 53), D’Laryea, Birchall, Barker (Beardsley 68), Boulding (Reet 79).
Subs Not Used: Muggleton, Lloyd.

Attendance: 3,899 (188 Mansfield fans)
Referee: M Haywood (West Yorkshire).