Mansfield Town’s agonising five game wait for a win or a goal was finally ended this afternoon as they saw off Hartlepool United 3-1 at One Call Stadium, with Matt Green bagging a brace.
Green ended the drought after 474 minutes with a brave finish in the 24th minute.
An unlucky Krystian Pearce own goal then put Hartlepool back into the game on 37 minutes.
But sub Adi Yussuf netted a scorcher within three minutes of coming on in the 55th minute before Green secured the points nine minutes from the end.
Stags created many chances on a freezing cold afternoon and could have had this one safe before the break.
But United did rattle the home woodwork at 0-0 and again near the end as they plugged away.
It was revealed skipper Nicky Hunt will miss the next two months with a hamstring injury ahead of today’s game and Adam Chapman took over the captain’s armband.
The side showed four changes from the team beaten 2-0 in the FA Cup replay at Oldham in midweek with Brian Jensen back in goal on place of Scott Shearer, Mitch Rose taking over at right back in place of Lee Collins, and in midfield Chris Clements replacing Jamie McGuire, Craig Westcarr for Jack Thomas and Reggie Lambe for Matty Blair.
Hartlepool won a free kick 20 yards into the home half on three minutes from which Naismith tried a cheeky long range dipper that sailed well over.
Twice in the early stages Adams had to tidy up threats from Bingham.
But on 11 minutes from a left wing cross, Pearce missed his header and Bingham flicked the ball goalwards which Jensen did well to tip against his crossbar.
But after 15 minutes Mansfield settled into their task and a great low cross from the left by Nathan Thomas zipped across the box with Westcarr just unable to turn it home.
Then Rose cut into the box from the right and let fly with a rising shot that flew over.
A minute later and Green was a whisker from ending the goal drought as he slid in but just failed to make contact with a great teasing Nathan Thomas ball to the far post.
On 22 minutes Tafazolli couldn’t get direction on his header from home corner number two, but Rose retrieved it on the right and got it back into the middle where Westcarr bundled a poor finish wide from 10 yards.
This was much better from the home side and that elusive goal finally came after a weary 47-minute wait.
Nathan Thomas curled in an enticing low cross from the left and Green slid in to beat keeper Carson to it by a fraction and managed to touch it home as they collided.
It brought a huge feeling of relief to Green, the players and the fans.
Hartlepool almost had a quick reply, but a left wing free kick was too high for Bates to head in from close range.
Thomas was ripping Hartlepool apart down the left and after his low shot was blocked, seconds later he drilled yet another low cross in front of goal with Green arriving just too late to capitalise.
Thomas then leapt well to head the ball on for Westcarr down the left and yet another low cross to the far post saw a great chance go begging.
On 33 minutes Naismith was well wide with a tame, low shot from 35 yards.
But they came closer on 34 minutes as Tafazolli headed away as far as Gray, who lofted a volley over from 20 yards.
And on 37 minutes a huge slice of fortune saw the North-East side go level.
A long free kick from wide in the left sailed to the far post where Adams tried to head clear only to see the ball strike team mate Pearce and find the net past a helpless Jensen.
Encouraged, the visitors forced their first two corners of the game before the breaks as the sides went in all square.
Within nine minutes of the restart Thaomas had skinned the defence down the left yet again and once more drilled the ball hard and low across goal, no one able to get there, and the ball going for a goal kick.
A minute later Stags threw on Yussuf for Westcarr.
And within three minutes he had blasted Stags into a 58th minute lead.
A long throw from the left came down for him 20 yards from goal and turned to blast an unstoppable finish into the top right corner before lengthy and ecstatic celebrations in from of the Ian Greaves Stand for his family.
On 61 minutes Yussuf again troubled the statisticians as he was booked for a foul.
Harrison joined him on 67 minutes for bodychecking Thomas as he tore easily past him.
Thomas received rich applause as he was replaced by Blair on 73 minutes.
There was a worry, with all three subs used, after Tafazolli stayed down after landing awkwardly.
He was all right after treatment but tried to come back onto the field too soon and was booked for the offence.
Stags finally put the game to bed on 81 minutes. A neat move just outside the box saw Collins find Yussuf in the box, who fed Green for a simple low slot home past Carson.
Three minutes later Carroll almost gave Hartlepool a lifeline as his 20 yard free kick struck the near angle and bounced away.
STAGS: Jensen, Rose, Pearce, Chapman (C), Clements, Green, Westcarr (Yussuf 55), N. Thomas (Blair 73), Tafazolli, Lambe (Collins 64), Adams. Subs not used: Shearer, J. Thomas, Fitzpatrick, McGuire.
HARTLEPOOL: Carson, Magnay, Carroll, Harrison, Bates, Bingham, Oyenuga (Oates 57), Jackson, Gray, Mandron (Fenwick 70), Naismith. Subs not used: Walker, Bartlett, Featherstone, Jones, Smith.
REFEREE: David Coote of Nottinghamshire.
ATTENDANCE: 3,031 (358 away).
CHAD STAGS MAN OF THE MATCH: Nathan Thomas.
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