'We looked like a different team' - Graeme Lee verdict on Hartlepool United collapse at Mansfield Town

Graeme Lee was left disappointed with Hartlepool United’s second half collapse as he suffered his first defeat as manager.

By Joe Ramage
Monday, 27th December 2021, 5:00 pm

Lee must have thought his unbeaten run was about to extend after Nicky Featherstone’s goal five minutes into the second half added to Luke Molyneux’s strike to give Pools a commanding lead over Mansfield Town at the One Call Stadium.

But Nigel Clough’s side bounced back with a stunning 11 minute comeback to flip the game on its head and hand the Stags all three points.

John-Joe O’Toole headed the home side back into the game before Jordan Bowery levelled the scores just after the hour with another well taken header.

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Graeme Lee reacts to first defeat as Hartlepool United manager. Picture by FRANK REID

Clough’s side completed the turnaround when George Maris’ cross from the left escaped everyone in the penalty area to find the back of Ben Killip’s net.

And it was those balls into the box in the second half which disappointed Lee the most.

“We’re very disappointed,” said Lee.

“What we did in the first half very well was we dealt with crosses. We made the first contact on every single cross that came into the box, but in the second half we looked like a different team defending the box, no-one made the first contact.

“They scored their first goal from a cross and we allowed them to get those opportunities from further up the pitch but contact in the box is massive and we didn’t deal with balls into the box in the second half and it cost us.

“We were up against a tough team, we knew that,” he added.

“We probably sat off them too much in the first half and didn’t get hold of the ball enough in the first 20 minutes.

“The first time we did get hold of the ball, we scored and that gave us a bit of belief and we were in the game from that point.

“It was a great start to the second half to go 2-0 up and I've said to the players how disappointed we are that we didn’t keep doing what we were doing from that point.

“It was a tough challenge but I’ve said to the lads I expect us to win when we get to 2-0 up.”

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