STYLISH Mansfield Town turned in a superb display of attacking football as they sealed promotion from Division Four with an emphatic 4-0 win against Hartlepool.
The north east side sat four points behind Stags, who occupied the last promotion spot, with just three games left and needed to win at Field Mill to have any chance of going up.
But they found Mansfield in determined mood as they made light work of their promotion rivals in front of the second biggest crowd of the season.
It was clear from the first whistle that the fluent attacking game of Ian Greaves’s side would cause the Hartlepool team a massive headache.
Tony Kenworthy saw a dipping header pushed over the bar from one of four early home free-kicks as Stags pushed hard.
And the breakthrough finally came in the 18th minute when striker Keith Cassells glanced home Paul Garner’s free-kick from close range to send Mansfield on their way to the vital three points.
An unfortunate own goal 11 minutes later turned the match firmly into Stags’ favour. Chamberlain played in Cassells who in turn attempted to find Kevin Kent, but his pass hit Tom Kelly and beat the despairing dive of Eddie Blackburn.
The visitors briefly rallied either side of half-time with Paul Dobson being denied by a smart Kevin Hitchcock save before the break.
Captain George Foster then led by example on 65 minutes when he cleared Tony Smith’s attempted lob off the line. And from then on Stags knew it was going to be their day.
Promotion was secured three minutes later when Cassells made the game safe when he beat Blackburn to a Kevin Kent cross to steer the ball home.
And with nine minutes left Neville Chamberlain secured a personal landmark as he rifled home his 20th strike of a superb season following more good work down the wing by the tricky Kevin Kent.
Speaking after the game Stags captain George Foster, who later went on to claim the dubious honour of being the only Mansfield manager to have been relegated twice, could not hide his joy as he said: “This is the proudest moment of my career. This promotion has made the last three years of hard work worth it.
“In particular I would like to single out my defensive partner Gary Pollard. He has come in for a lot of criticism from some fans, but he has come back well in the last two games and I feel we have worked well together and formed a good partnership.”
Striker Neville Chamberlain, who became the first black player to sign professional forms for Port Vale when he put pen to paper in January 1978, said: “ I have been with five clubs and this is the first time I have been successful.
“It is an unbelievable feeling, although it has not sunk in yet that we are actually promoted. I am sure our style of play will be well suited to the Third Division.”
MANSFIELD TOWN: Hitchcock, Graham, Garner, Lowery, Foster, Pollard, Kent, Kenworthy, McKernon, Cassells, Chamberlain. Substitute: Roddy Collins.
MATCH: Mansfield Town 4 Hartlepool 0.
VENUE: Field Mill, 22nd April 1986.