Pools Punished By Harrogate Town
Pools fell to their heaviest defeat of the season at Harrogate Town as three goals as the start of the second half laid the platform for a 4-1 triumph for the hosts.
Dave Challinor’s men were more than in contention at the break when the game was goalless but were punished for some hesitant defending at the start of the second period.
Nicke Kabamba pulled one back to make it 3-1 and give Pools a shout of a recovery but that hope was snuffed out in injury-time when the home side added a fourth.
There was a high-tempo start to the game as Harrogate, who were sluggish during the opening half of the recent FA Trophy tie, were obviously determined to make that same mistake again.
Pools were harried and harassed in possession and had to defend with determination as Town pushed them on the back foot, with Ben Killip forced in to a fingertip save from Jon Stead with just three minutes on the clock.
That chance seemed to jolt Pools in to life and they broke down to the other end and engineered some space for Peter Kioso to fizz a ball across the six-yard area which was met on the slide by Ryan Donaldson but he could only divert it wide of the far post.
Jack Emmett tested out Killip with a low drive which the keeper held comfortably, while Gime Toure won possession on the left of the Town area before letting fly with a shot in to the side-netting.
Pools came closest to breaking the first half deadlock just after the half-hour mark when the dangerous Tyler Hamilton led another slick counter-attack down the left wing before threading a pass inside for Toure whose powerful low shot flew just wide of the far post.
However, things unravelled for Pools at the start of the second half when the home side came out and built some real momentum which Challinor’s men struggled to deal with.
The breakthrough came eight minutes after the restart when Pools struggled to fully clear a corner and when the ball was put in to the front post it fell kindly for Lloyd Kerry to strike home.
It got worse on 57 minutes when Michael Raynes fouled Jon Stead inside the area and Jack Muldoon made it 2-0 with an emphatic spot-kick.
Stead had two chances to make it 3-0 for Harrogate and Killip also had to save well from Jack Emmett before the third goal did arrive on 67 minutes – this time Jack Diamond was allowed to cut through the defence on the left to feed Josh Falkingham who scored from close range.
Kabamba’s close-range finish offered some hope fourteen minutes from time and Hawkes could even have made it 3-2 ninety seconds later only to be denied by a fine save from James Belshaw.
However, Town countered with devastating effect in injury time to finish Pools off, Muldoon running clear before cheekily chipping the ball over Killip.
Full Time: Harrogate Town 4 Pools 1
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Falkingham, W Smith, Burrell, Emmett, Bradley, Kerry, Hall, Diamond (Thomson 87), Stead, Muldoon.
Subs not used: Fallowfield, G Smith, Cracknell, Kiernan.
Booked: Kerry, Burrell.
Pools: Killip, Kioso, Liddle, Raynes (Kabamba 60), Kitching, Featherstone (Shelton 78), Mafuta (Holohan 60), Hawkes, Hamilton, Donaldson, Toure.
Subs not used: Kerr, Richardson.
Attendance: 2,383 (930 Pools).
Referee: Samuel Barrott.