Kabamba On Target But Pools Lose At York

Nicke Kabamba, Hartlepool United

Pools gave up a first half lead to lose 2-1 at York City on Wednesday night but an injury to winger Luke Molyneux overshadowed their latest pre-season outing at Bootham Crescent.

The winger was helped from the field midway through a tetchy first half after being on the receiving end of a late challenge from former Pools midfielder Paddy McLaughlin.

Pools carved out the opening opportunity of the night when an enterprising move involving Luke James and Nicke Kabamba saw the ball fed out to trialist left-back Romoney Crichlow-Noble but he struck his shot too high.

Hignett’s men continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession and they began to know the ball around quite well on a surface made slick by some light rain falling on a humid night in York.

The hosts did put together a decent move to get a shot on goal on 17 minutes but summer signing Andy Bond dragged an effort wide after being found at the back post.

Pools came close at the other end immediately afterward when Kabamba wriggled in to space on the edge of the box but saw his shot deflected up and over the bar.

From the resultant corner Pools went to a training ground set-piece, dragging the ball back to the waiting Nicky Featherstone who struck his shot cleanly but it went a couple of yards too high.

Then came the bad news for Pools as a robust challenge from McLaughlin on the halfway line left Molyneux clutching his leg and, after a period of treatment, he was at least able to hobble from the pitch.

His replacement, Josh Hawkes, should have scored just a couple of minutes after his introduction when the lively Luke James seized on a sloppy pass to scamper away down the right before intelligently cutting it back in to the path of Hawkes who scuffed a shot wide of the far post.

However, the goal did arrive on 33 minutes when more neat football from Pools worked the ball out wide to Kenton Richardson who hung a cross to the far post where Kabamba applied the finishing touch with one of his trademark looping headers.

Pools changed seven of their team at the break and one of the new arrivals, Niko Muir, looked to have been fouled after beating City keeper Peter Jameson to the ball just inside the area just three minutes in to the second half but the referee waved away penalty appeals.

Gime Toure turned smartly on the edge of the box to work some space for a shot but it was deflected over the bar by a recovering City defender.

On 54 minutes it was all-square. The hosts broke rapidly down the left after clearing a Pools corner and, when the ball was rolled across the area, Dan Maguire was there to apply an easy finish for 1-1.

Some quick thinking from City’s Season Newton could have caught Ben Killip out when he clipped a long-range free-kick towards goal but the Pools keeper was alert enough to tip it over the bar.

Pools were behind with twenty minutes left on the clock when a left-wing corner caused trouble in the middle and substitute Alex Kempster got up highest to head home and put the hosts in front.

Hawkes could have offered an immediate response when he got on the end of a lightning break from Pools but, after cutting from the left, his bending shot was deflected over.

Peter Kioso came close to snatching a leveller for Pools on 87 minutes when the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the box but his powerful volley flew just over the bar after clipping a defender.

Full Time: York City 2 Pools 1

York City: Jameson, Griffiths (Dyer 74), Ferguson (Beresford 78), Newton, McNulty (Allan 74), Tait (King 43), Moke, Bond (Kempster 63), Burrow, Maguire ( Ventura 78), McLaughlin (Green 63).
Subs not used: Whitley, Jebson-King.

Pools First Half: Killip, Richardson, Kerr, Cunningham, Crichlow-Noble, Featherstone, Mafuta, Noble, Kabamba, James, Molyneux (Hawkes 25).

Pools Second Half: Killip, Kioso, Raynes, Anderson, Crichlow-Noble (Shepherd 78), Bale, Kennedy, Holohan, Hawkes, Toure, Muir.

Attendance: 870 (259 Poolies)

Referee: Tony Harrington.