FRIENDLY: MANSFIELD 1 HARTLEPOOL 2
Mansfield Town 1 - 2 Hartlepool United
Clare 23. McSweeney 38, Larkin 70
Attendance: 1798 (34 from Hartlepool)
Date: 1 August 2009
Holdsworth and Clare post match video interview --->
Holdsworth keeps Crawley guessing
By John Lomas, CHAD.co.uk
DAVID Holdsworth kept opening day BSP opponents Crawley guessing after making seven changes for today's entertaining 2-1 home defeat by League One Hartlepool United.
"No way was I going to show Steve Evans my starting XI today," he said. "I knew people would be watching.
"I believe in playing the right type of poker and you would be foolish to reveal your hand with a week to go.
"I do know my starting XI for the first game and also for the first week of the season. But I am extremely pleased how things have gone from day one this summer and how we have bonded 12 new players in.
"The good news is we came through today unscathed and the only injury we have is Paul Heckingbottom. But Craig Armstrong is fit and young Jonathan Ventrella (a 17-year-old youth team debutant) did well today.
"Jonathan did all right – he was very well composed for a young man and we were very pleased with him. It was his first step on the ladder and he tired towards the end as he has played a number of games recently.
"We are happy with his progress though he still has a long way to go. It is very difficult to come into the side at that age but you have to give them their chance."
He added: "At Alfreton a lot of people needlessly made a lot of the defeat. The young boys we played that day got caught out by the physical aspect of Alfreton – and that's no disrespect to Alfreton – and I felt the reports of the game were inaccurate, though no one likes being beaten.
"That was a very good match today. I was absolutely delighted how we played against a good side who kept the ball well for 15 minutes.
"We kept our defensive shape and they couldn't break us down so I was pleased. They are good players – we were not up against 'Wallys' - and I must thank Chris Turner and Hartlepool for putting a strong side out today."
Stags matched the visitors for most of the game, beaten only eventually by two mistakes by their two goalkeepers, Alan Marriott and Tim Sandercombe.
"I though we were worth a draw – they only had two shots all second half," he said.
"Two slips cost us the two goals. Alan Marriott would have got that all 99 times out of 100 with ease but he slipped in the wet and was unlucky.
"I was pleased for Daryl Clare to get a goal. It is his 31st birthday today and it will give him a lift. I thought Jake Speight also looked very lively when he came on."
This was the first time Holdsworth had tasted defeat at Field Mill since taking over in January, but he said: "Losing at home for the first time is irrelevant. There are no points at stake. If it was against opposition from our level or below I would be more worried."
Plenty Of Positives Please Turner
Posted on: Sat 01 Aug 2009
Chris Turner said there were plenty of positives to be taken as Pools edged ever closer to the big kick-off in League One.
Their latest pre season outing ended in a pre season win over Mansfield at Field Mill and Turner is happy with the way things are developing.
"There were some good things to come out of the game here today and at Gateshead on Wednesday," Turner told Pools Player.
"It's disappointing that we lost Sam Collins to injury so early but I have to say that Gary Liddle has been absolutely outstanding back there.
"He's been terrific in all three games he's played in defence and he's looking like being a real find for us.
"We worked the ball well to wide areas; Leon got his goal today and Andy Monkhouse has also got a couple in pre season which bodes well.
"I was also pleased to see Colin Larkin get his goal - he took up a very intellgient position to score the winner."
See the full video interview with Chris Turner only on Pools Player from Sunday.
Stags' old boy sinks Mansfield - Stags 1 Hartlepool United 2
Two goalkeeping errors were punished, the second by ex-Stag Colin Larkin, to condemn Mansfield Town to their first defeat at Field Mill since David Holdsworth took over as boss in January today.
But Stags more than held their own for large spells against a talented League one Hartlepool United side that had to come from behind to claim victory.
Despite defeat, Holdsworth will be largely delighted with what a side shorn of several likely starters next weekend produced in the last pre-season friendly, and all eyes are now on the first BSP game against Crawley.
Daryl Clare put the Stags ahead on 23 minutes and also rattled the United woodwork after the break.
But rushes off their goal line by Alan Marriott and sub Tim Sandercombe resulted in goals for Leon McSweeney on 38 minutes and former Mansfield striker Larkin on 70 minutes.
Stags made seven changes and, with Paul Heckingbottom out injured and Craig Armstrong rested, 17-year old youth team defender Jonathan Ventrella came in at left back.
Matt Somner, Daryl Clare, Steven Istead, Luke Graham, Kyle Nix and Jason Bradley were also brought in as boss David Holdsworth wrapped a few of his players in cotton wool and gave others their last chance to stake a claim ahead of the new season.
It was Istead's full debut for the Stags and he was skipper for the day against his former club.
Hartlepool included former Stags striker Colin Larkin in their line-up.
A minute's silence was held in memory of former England boss Sir Bobby Robson following his death yesterday.
Ventrella's first contribution was a clearance that knocked the wind out of McSweeney, who needed treatment.
Off balance, Collins headed comfortably wide from eight yards from a left wing free kick on five minutes
Jones had a case for a penalty for a push in the back from a seventh minute Stags corner but all the referee awarded was a goalkick.
Ventella earned applause for two good early interceptions.
Collins did get his header on target from a McSweeney corner on nine minutes but it bounced up straight at Marriott.
Marriott was also easily down to block a low Sweeney shot on 14 minutes.
The visitors were knocking the ball around with some aplomb. But it was Mansfield who broke through from a 23rd minute corner.
Willaims hoisted it long from the left and Graham met it with a header that forced keeper Flinders to punch away. But the ball went back to Graham who controlled and then pulled it back to Clare who confidently tucked it away from six yard.
Claare almost doubled his tally inside 90 seconds as he broke into the box on the right and shot low, Flinders smothering to his right.
Pools should have been level on 27 minutes after Stags had failed to mark Behan lurking on his own on the edge of the six yard box. Monkhouse sent in a free kick and Behan, all on his own, helped the ball on over the bar,
Clare cheekily tried to lob Flinders from over 40 yards but was too high.
Hartlepool drew level on 38 minutes following a rare Marriott error.
The keeper raced off his line to deal with a long free kick from sub Lamplough but failed to punch clear amid a crowd of players and the ball fell invitingly for McSweeney to stroke a low finish into the unguarded net.
So the rain-sodden sides left the field all square at the break after an entertaining first half.
There were big applause at the interval when former Stags and Hartlepool star Richie Barker was invited onto the field to make the half time raffle draw.
Graham did well to head a cross off the line before Behan could get there as United began the second half in positive fashion.
But on 53 minutes Clare rattled the angle of post and bar with a 25 yard free kick and seconds later Graham had a shot blocked and Williams sliced the resulting loose ball wide from 18 yards.
Good tenacity from Bradley saw him wrestle for the ball in the box and managed to get in a shot on the turn which fell wide.
Stags swapped their strike force on 57 minutes as Clare and Bradley made way for Speight and Duffy while Sandercombe took over goalkeeping duties from Marriott,
And it was another goalkeeping error that led to the visitors taking the lead on 70 minutes as Sandercombe ran out to clear but was beaten to the ball by Brown.
Brown rolled a shot at the empty net which saw Graham get there to clear off the line at the last minute but, instead of a firm kick away, he send a soft ball straight to Larkin who blazed home with delight.
The game slowed more and more as the substitutions continued and the rain fell harder and harder.
Speight was showing good footwork and tenacity after coming on and was only just over from 25 yards after working an opening.
A scramble near the end, following a long Nix ball into the box, saw Williams' shot charged down and Duffy slice the follow-up well wide as the home side continued to look for an equaliser.
A Mills shot from long range took a huge deflection but Flinders had plenty of time to readjust and get into position to catch as time ran out on Mansfield.
Another ex-Mansfield favourite Richie Barker was also at the ground as a guest of honour of the club.
STAGS: Marriott (Sandercombe 57); Gardner (Silk 63), Jones, Graham (Naylor 74), Ventrella (Turner 74); Nix, Istead (Mills 76), Somner (D'Laryea 63), Williams; Bradley (Duffy 57), Clare (Speight 57).
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders, Haslam, Hartley, Sweeney, Collins (Lamplough 35), Liddle, McSweeney, Jones, Behan (Brown 57), Larkin, Monkhouse. Subs: Boyd, Rowell, Power, Foley, Fredriksen, Cook.
REFEREE: Andy Madley.
ATTENDANCE: 1,798 (34 away fans).
Pools Secure Victory at Mansfield Town
Posted on: Sat 01 Aug 2009
It was a cagey opening to the game as both sides sussed each other out, but slowly Pools began to get on top and create some half chances.
The first of these fell to Sam Collins whose powerful downward header from a right-wing Leon McSweeney corner was held by Stags keeper Alan Marriott.
A busy Antony Sweeney was next to try his luck, bursting typically from midfield to pick up the ball on the edge of the box, but again Marriott was right behind the effort.
Pools were really getting in to their stride and playing some nice football - Denis Behan acting as the focal point and rarely wasting possession when called upon to hold the ball up.
But just as in the previous friendly at York, Pools were punished for not taking their chances when Mansfield took the lead on 24 minutes with the scruffiest of goals.
A deep cross was headed downwards at the far post by defender Luke Graham but palmed away by Scott Flinders. However, when Graham collected possession again on the right side of the six-yard area his delivery across was forced home by Daryl Clare.
Pools had a chance to hit back instantly when Andy Monkhouse's low free-kick from the left side found its way through to Behan but the Irishman lifted his effort over the bar from close range.
However, Pools' injury curse struck again with Sam Collins forced off - though he looked to be struggling with a foot problem rather than the hamstring strain he picked up at York earlier in pre season. Trialist Joe Lamploe replaced the skipper, with Hartley once again moving inside to the centre of defence.
The equaliser arrived seven minutes before the break when Monkhouse's free-kick in to Behan caused all kinds of problems twelve yards out. Keeper Marriott tried to come and punch but Behan's presence put him off and his fluffed clearance fell to Leon McSweeney who rolled in his first Pools goal from the edge of the box.
A quiet opening to the second period burst in to life when Clare's long-range free-kick smashed in to the angle of post and cross bar before being put behind.
From the resultant corner, the Stags had a further chance to re-take the lead when Pools failed to clear their lines but Ryan Williams flashed a wild effort wide from the edge of the box.
James Brown's introduction on the hour proved pivotal for Pools and he soon got busy up front with Larkin. And it was Brown who played a major role in Pools taking the lead on 70 minutes.
Sweeney's beautiful ball in behind with the outside of his right boot put Brown through on goal. He easily won the race with Town's substitute keeper Tim Sandercombe and despite being forced wide to the right side of the penalty area he still managed to roll a shot on target. Desperate defending on the line saw the shot cleared via the post but it only reached Colin Larkin who easily buried the chance in to the roof of the net.
The hosts tried to respond through substitute Jake Speight who twisted and turned in to some space on the edge of the box but then curled his short over the bar.
However, for the most part Pools were in control of the game and looked the side more likely to find the net again, Larkin drawing confidence from his goal and linking well with the energetic Brown.
Even so, Pools were thankful to a brave Hartley block when Williams drilled in a shot, with Rob Duffy firing a wayward shot well wide from the rebound.
Pools saw out the remaining minutes professionally against the Blue Square Conference outfit to record their second consecutive pre season victory as preparations for the new campaign continued.
With seven days to go until the big kick-off Chris Turner will be hoping his side can quickly lose their injury jinx, though another flawless performance at centre-back from Gary Liddle will have boosted the Director of Sport.
Full Time: Mansfield Town 1 Pools 2
Attendance: 1,798 (34 Poolies)
Mansfield Town: Marriott (Sandercombe 58), Gardner (Silk 62), Ventrella (Naylor 74), Jones, Somner (D'Laryea 62), Clare (Speight 58), Williams, Istead (Mills 76), Graham (Turner 74), Nix, Bradley (Duffy 58).
Subs not used: None
Pools: Flinders, Haslam, Collins (Lamploe 35), Liddle, Hartley, McSweeney, Jones, Sweeney, Monkhouse, Behan (Brown 58), Larkin.
Subs not used: Boyd, Rowell, Power, Foley, Cook.
Evening Post reports:
Stags boss Holdsworth has his mind made up
Monday, August 03, 2009, 07:00Comment on this story
MANSFIELD Town boss David Holdsworth insists he already knows his starting line-up for Saturday's first league game with Crawley.
He made seven changes for the final warm-up game on Saturday – a 2-1 defeat to League One Hartlepool – leaving several likely starters on the bench.
But, injury-permitting, Holdsworth knows who will take on the Red Devils at Field Mill – even if he has been doing his best to keep everyone guessing.
"I do know my starting 11 against Crawley and the following game (against Luton) and our other game that week (against Salisbury)," he said.
"We know people (from Crawley) will have been watching us on Saturday.
"But I believe in playing the right type poker and I would be foolish to reveal my hand at this stage.
"I think everyone will recognise the players who have come in have done a good job and I'm very pleased with the mentality."
Holdsworth was encouraged by several aspects of the Stags' latest performance.
He said: "I was very pleased with Daryl Clare getting a goal because it will boost him and came on his 31st birthday.
"Jake Speight came on and was very lively, Jason Ventrella (a 17-year-old debutant from the youth team) did very well and was composed.
"In fact, there were a lot of positives to say we were taking on a good league side and I thought we were worth a draw because they only had two shots in the second half."
Mansfield Town 1 Hartlepool United 2
Monday, August 03, 2009, 07:00Comment on this story
WELL, it had to come to an end sometime – but from a Mansfield Town point of view they will just be glad it was against Hartlepool rather than Crawley.
Manager David Holdsworth has made no secret of his pride at the Stags' unbeaten record under his charge at Field Mill.
After taking over at the turn of the year, his players went 11 Blue Square Premier games unbeaten in north Notts through until the end of last season.
They had also beaten League One Walsall and drawn with Championship Leicester on home turf in this pre-season.
But, finally, inevitably, Holdsworth has tasted home defeat – although there was no disgrace in that as a deliberately below-strength Stags team took on a club who will ply their trade two divisions higher in 2009-2010.
As the gaffer admitted afterwards, he would have been frustrated at losing to a team at their own level or lower, particularly in a competitive encounter.
Yet because the reverse came in a friendly, and against higher-ranked opposition, he was understandably not too anxious about the result.
Mansfield's supporters clearly felt the same and it was reflected by the hearty ovation they gave the players as they left the pitch.
They can see there is reason to be optimistic ahead of the visit of Steve Evans' Crawley for Saturday's big kick-off.
As former Stags and Pools player Richie Barker watched on from the stands, there was little to choose between the two sets of players for long periods.
Sure, Hartlepool zipped the ball around on a surface made greasy by the incessant rain.
But the Stags defended well to keep them at arm's length for long periods and themselves created a number of chances.
The game was decided on the back of two goalkeeping mistakes from Stags' two keepers, one in each half.
First Alan Marriott slipped as he came to punch Joe Lamplough's left-wing free-kick, allowing Leon McSeeney to side-foot home in the 38th minute.
And then, with 20 minutes to go, former Stag Colin Larkin powered home from close-range after James Brown had beaten a stranded Tim Sandercombe to the ball, rounded him and had his resulting shot cleared off the line by Luke Graham.
The afternoon had begun with an impeccably respected minute's silence for former England manager Sir Bobby Robson, who died on Friday after a battle with cancer.
There was a debut for 17-year-old left-back Jason Ventrella, plucked from the youth team with Paul Heckingbottom (hamstring) injured and Craig Armstrong resting.
Central midfielder Steven Istead, playing against the club where he made his Football League debut at 16, was given his first start and made skipper for the day.
Scott Garner, Louis Briscoe and Kyle Perry were not in the squad at all and other possible starters against Crawley were left on the bench.
One of seven changes to the side which beat Walsall 3-1 was Daryl Clare, who was no doubt relieved to give Holdsworth food for thought with his first goal of pre-season to put Stags in front midway through the first half.
Ryan Williams' left-wing corner was headed goalwards by Graham and punched away by keeper Scott Flinders.
Graham retrieved the rebound and squared from the right byline for the predatory Clare, who swept home through a crowd of bodies from close range.
After Pools levelled, the second period began under such heavy skies that the floodlights had to be switched on.
Even so, Clare did his best to light up the occasion and was unlucky to clip the right-hand angle with a brilliant, curling 25-yard free-kick.
Williams also had a clear opening to put Mansfield back in front, only to fire wide.
But Larkin made no mistake when his opportunity came to send Chris Turner and his team home happy.
Of course, there are no guarantees that Crawley will not replicate the achievement of Hartlepool and come away from Field Mill victorious.
Holdsworth, however, will be determined things will be different when three points are at stake.
Fans are reminded Mansfield's game against Ilkeston tonight has been cancelled.
Stags striker Clare's delight at getting off the mark
Monday, August 03, 2009, 07:00Comment on this story
DARYL Clare admitted he was relieved to mark his 31st birthday by opening his Mansfield Town account for the season in the friendly with Hartlepool.
The striker put the Stags in front in the first half with a close-range finish after good work from Luke Graham.
The League One visitors fought back to win the game 2-1 with strikes from Leon McSweeney and former Stag Colin Larkin.
But Clare was nevertheless delighted to get on the scoresheet before the league campaign gets under way on Saturday with a home clash against Crawley.
"It is always nice to break your duck and I have been waiting for that for a few games," he said.
"I have been unfortunate that a couple of goals I have scored in other games have been disallowed.
"You don't want to go into a new season having not scored, because it's my job to get goals and I love doing it.
"I'm pleased with my fitness levels and it's been all about finding form and confidence.
"Not scoring has not been for the want of trying and hopefully the supporters will come to understand the way I play.
"We're fit and strong but what people might not realise is that there are two or three different sides that we can put out.
"There is a team that can be big and strong but also a side that can get it down and play it on the floor. We have some good options ."
Set piece training paying off for Mansfield Town
Tuesday, August 04, 2009, 07:00Comment on this story
DAVID Holdsworth believes intense training ground work on set pieces is paying dividends for Mansfield Town.
The Stags grabbed a goal from a curling free kick from Paul Heckingbottom in the victory against Walsall last Tuesday. Two other players tried to claim the final touch but manager Holdsworth was delighted with he undefendable delivery from the left back.
They also scored against Hartlepool from a set piece, Daryl Clare firing home.
And Holdsworth believes the attention to detail on free kicks and corners at both ends of the pitch will pay off when the Blue Square Premier season starts.
Holdsworth said: "I was really pleased with that goal because the ball was put into a dangerous area and we have put a lot of work into the responsibility of getting it into the right areas.
"It is about players attacking it at pace and it was a training ground move. It is very difficult to defend against and the presence of the big boys in there and pace of Briscoe and Williams was excellent.
"They all have copies of spreadsheets of defensive and attacking responsibilities and take them home and it means they are learning.
"From day one we have spoken about it. They have all had a copy of our set pieces, they take them home and you can only do your homework.
"We sit down and talk about our responsibilities and we do things right."
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