Hartlepool reserves stake claim in mad Stags do

Hartlepool Reserves v Mansfield Town at Billingham.
Hartlepool Reserves v Mansfield Town at Billingham.
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HARTLEPOOL United’s second string have given Ronnie Moore and Sam Collins “food for thought” after thumping Mansfield Town 8-0.

Goals from Nicky Featherstone, Jack Blackford, Darren Holden, Nat Skidmore and a brace each for Jordan Jewson and Brad Walker made it a comfortable workout as Pools dominated the Final Third Development League fixture.

Victory against a youthful Mansfield side was the reserves’ first since November.

Collins, Pools assistant manager, told SportMail: “It is good for morale to get a win, as it is always difficult with the reserves, because you have trialists and first year professionals in the side and it has been unsettling.

“We had been quite disappointed with recent results but we need them now to carry that level of performance on for the rest of the season.

“I said in the dressing room before that whenever they get chances, they need to be taking them.

“There are a couple of first team players out injured so this was a chance for a few of them to perhaps stake a claim and give me and the manager some food for thought ahead of Saturday.”

With less than two minutes on the clock, Walker slid in Featherstone who slotted the ball home off the post for his second reserve goal in a week.

It wasn’t long before it was 2-0, Stags keeper Frazer Hampson hit a back pass straight to Jewson, who smashed the ball past him.

Jack Blackford made it three after 15 minutes with a low finish into the corner of the net before Walker got on the scoresheet to make it 4-0, less than a minute later.

The Billingham teenager got his second just before the half hour mark, breaking free and chipping the keeper before Darren Holden netted from close range, to make it 6-0 at the break.

Eight minutes into the second half the advanced Holden crossed to Nat Skidmore who headed the ball home.

The visitors should have had a consolation after 70 minutes, sloppy play saw keeper Jon Maxted concede a penalty but he atoned by saving Joe Fitzpatrick’s spot-kick.

Jewson then swivelled before firing the eighth goal nine minutes from time.

Moore was watching on from the stands as former Manchester United youth player John Cofie went off with a leg injury after just 14 minutes following a collision with their keeper.

The 22-year-old, who started his career at Burnley before moving to Manchester United, is on trial but Collins admits they couldn’t judge him from his brief appearance.

Cofie had spells on loan at Royal Antwerp, Sheffield United and Notts County before signing for Barnsley and then Molde.

Collins added: “John had a one-on-one with the keeper which he should have scored from but collided with him and had to go off.

“We are trying to look at as many players as possible as we look to improve the team.

“He played half a game last week and a few minutes against Mansfield so it is difficult to judge him off that.”

There was no place for Tommy Miller who was continuing to build his fitness on the training ground.

Pools: Maxted, Richards, Nearney, Jones (Cunningham, 81), Holden, Featherstone (Briggs, 67), Walker, Skidmore, Jewson, Blackford, Cofie (Howes, 14).

Sub not used: Catterick.

Booked: Walker.