Mansfield Town boss laments two points dropped and admits 'surprise' over Hartlepool United striker decision

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Nigel Clough has lamented his Mansfield Town side after throwing away a two-goal lead against Hartlepool United.

Pools came away from the One Call Stadium with an unlikely draw after being 2-0 behind on the hour mark before Josh Umerah inspired Keith Curle’s side to a fightback, capped with an equaliser in the final minute of the 90 in front of the travelling Hartlepool supporters.

Clough saw his side race into a commanding lead early in the second half when George Lapslie beat Ben Killip at the first time of asking from Kellan Gordon’s inviting centre before Pools failed to clear their lines from Stephen Quinn’s floated cross with Riley Harbottle able to pounce from close range.

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But Clough was left frustrated by his Stags side, admitting they are unlikely to find themselves in a better position to take all three points from a game.

Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough was surprised by Hartlepool United's decision not to start Josh Umerah. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough was surprised by Hartlepool United's decision not to start Josh Umerah. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough was surprised by Hartlepool United's decision not to start Josh Umerah. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
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“Without a doubt we've thrown two points away. I hope it doesn’t cost us come the end of the season because I don’t think we’ll be in a better position to win a game than we were tonight,” said Clough.

“The equaliser - that can happen in the last minute, it’s the first one where you’re 2-0 up and in complete control. The last thing you do is give the opposition a lifeline.

People just didn’t do their jobs. We know who was at fault for the goals. It was 50-60 seconds of very poor play.”

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Josh Umerah played the part of super-sub to rescue a point for Hartlepool United at Mansfield Town. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)Josh Umerah played the part of super-sub to rescue a point for Hartlepool United at Mansfield Town. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Josh Umerah played the part of super-sub to rescue a point for Hartlepool United at Mansfield Town. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Clough continued: “I thought we missed two or three very good chances. We should have put the game to bed by half-time but we didn’t.

“We came out in the second half and got the two goals then we really should be more professional.”

The Mansfield boss admitted he, like most inside the One Call Stadium, was surprised by the decision of Hartlepool’s interim manager Curle to bench Umerah before the 25-year-old's introduction would spark a spirited comeback.

“We were surprised he didn’t start the game - he’s been a threat every game that we’ve seen [of Hartlepool],” said Clough.

“But you saw them visibly grow when he gave them that lifeline of the first goal and then one ball over the top anything can happen late on.”