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04 August 2018 Venue Gallagher Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Preview: Maidstone United v Pools

3 August 2018

Maidstone United v Hartlepool United Funkee Monkey
Maidstone United v Hartlepool United

We bring you everything you need to know ahead of Saturday’s opening game of the National League season at Maidstone United.

Maidstone United v Pools
National League
Saturday 4th August 2018, 3pm
The Gallagher Stadium

In Opposition
Faith has been the key word at Maidstone United in recent times.

The Stones endured a tricky run of form to say the least last term when they went 17 National League games without a win from Christmas onwards – a run which saw them hurtle towards the drop zone.

However, they stood by boss Jay Saunders and were rewarded when he not only led them to safety but then also repaid their faith by turning down overtures from Macclesfield Town during the summer.

Instead, Saunders – who admitted that the winless run was his “most difficult time” – has set about rebuilding the squad at The Gallagher Stadium as they look to move forward during 2018/19.

Like Pools, Maidstone have been very active in the transfer market since the end of last season and that will give their supporters plenty of reasons for optimism ahead of the big kick-off.

Star Player
Stuart Lewis missed only five National League games last season and he looks certain to be a key player for The Stones once again during 2018/19.

A former Spurs trainee, Lewis joined The Stones on loan from Ebbsfleet United in January 2017 and his form saw him crowned Supporters’ Player of the Year for 2016/17 before signing a permanent deal.

Now wearing the captain’s armband at The Gallagher Stadium, the 30-year-old turned down a lucrative offer to move on during the summer in favour of penning a new one-year deal in Kent.

Head To Head
Saturday’s game will be only the third time the two teams have met in competitive action – the first two occasions were last season when Pools completed a National League double over The Stones.

Keith Watson, Jonathan Franks and Connor Simpson all netted in a 3-1 triumph at The Vic in September before Michael Woods' Good Friday double earned Pools a 2-1 success at The Gallagher Stadium in March.

Last Meeting
Friday 30th March 2018
Maidstone United 1 (Lafayette 90) Pools 2 (Woods 25, pen 89)

Maidstone United: Worgan, Hare, Finney, Wynter, Anderson, De Havilland (Paxman 84), Lewis, Reason, Turgott (Loza 78), Lafayette, Luer (Sam-Yorke 65).
Subs not used: Ofori-Twumasi, Phillips.

Pools: Loach, Magnay, Adams, Laing, Featherstone, Woods, Hawkes, Hawkins, Newton, Cassidy, Oates (Rodney 65).
Subs not used: Catterick, Owen, Orrell, Munns.

Referee
Alan Dale will take charge of his first-ever Pools game this weekend when he’s the man in the middle for our visit to Maidstone United.

Now in to his second season on the National League list of referees, Dale twice officiated Stones games last term – watching them beat Woking and AFC Fylde on home soil.

In total he was on the whistle for 18 National League fixtures during 2017/18, producing 59 yellow cards and two red cards during those games.

Live Coverage
We’re putting Mark Simpson behind the microphone for away games again this season so you can join him on Pools PlayerHD from 2.50pm for full live commentary from The Gallagher Stadium.

Pools PlayerHD is just £24.99 for the entire 2018/19 campaign – click here now for information on joining in time for the kick-off this weekend.

Tickets
Pools fans will be able to buy their tickets on the day prior to kick-off at The Gallagher Stadium; we’ve been allocated an area of the Genco Stand which can accommodate up to 600 supporters.

Click here for full information on tickets for Saturday’s game at Maidstone.

Betting
Maidstone United have been installed as slight 7/5 favourites for the three points, while you can back Pools at 13/8 with Sky Bet who have the draw priced up at 5/2.

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Match Reports

Noble Strikes As Pools Earn Point

4 August 2018

Liam Noble Shutter Press
Liam Noble celebrates his equalising goal

Liam Noble scored a debut goal as Pools turned in an encouraging opening day performance but were forced to settle for a point in the heat at Maidstone United.

Both goals came inside the final five minutes of a first half dominated by Pools, with Noble stroking home a leveller just sixty seconds after Blair Turgott had put the hosts in front from the penalty spot.

Matthew Bates handed debuts to five of his summer signings and set-up with an aggressive 3-4-2-1 formation which deployed Jake Cassidy in attack, supported by Luke James and Niko Muir.

And Cassidy looked too hot to handle for a hesitant Maidstone rearguard during the opening 45 minutes, causing problems aplenty for centre-backs Will De Havilland and Alex Finney.

The front man carved out the first real opportunity of the afternoon when he ran on to a ball over the top on the left side of the box but keeper Alex Worgan saved well with his feet.

Cassidy was in again moments later when another incisive ball from Noble sent him away but this time he couldn’t generate the power in his shot to trouble Worgan.

The Stones were struggling to keep tabs on  Cassidy and he bullied a defender to win the ball on the right win before dribbling inside to shoot but again Worgan got behind it.

The home side’s first effort was a tame one, coming from danger man Turgott who burst inside from the right but his shot was straight at Scott Loach who gathered comfortably.

Noble was pulling the strings for Pools in midfield and showed great vision to loft a ball to the far post where Ryan Donaldson ghosted in to meet it on the volley but Worgan did well to turn it round the post.

Given Pools had enjoyed the better of the opening period it was hard to take when Referee Alan Dale gave the hosts a penalty four minutes before the break, harshly penalising Niko Muir for a high foot to give Turgott the chance to send Loach the wrong way from the spot.

However, much has been made of the improved spirit in the Pools camp this pre-season and that was underlined when they got back on level terms within a minute. Muir and James fought for possession inside the area, before the latter brought it under control to wriggle inside and tee up Noble who stroked a composed finish beyond Worgan.

The second half started at a very high tempo and the game looked open as both sides went forward with purpose, Pools coming close to going in front when Donaldson’s ball in was cleverly flicked-on by James in to the path of Muir who drilled a ferocious shot inches wide with Worgan reduced to spectator.

At the other end it required a determined block from Andrew Davies as Maidstone threatened through Turgott, while Cassidy had to clear off the line when Joe Quigley met a right-wing corner with a firm header.

Peter Kioso came close to celebrating his professional debut with a goal to remember when he struck a low shot through a crowded area from twenty-five yards which looked to have Worgan beaten but home skipper Stuart Lewis cleared off the line.

Loach was then called in to action to make his first real saves of the afternoon, first parrying well from substitute Jack Paxman’s curling effort before also turning away Seth Nana Twumasi’s drive as Maidstone began to ask more questions.

The tempo died down towards the closing stages as the sapping heat began to take its toll but The Stones could have snatched a winner right at the death when Turgott slipped a ball to the back post but Carl Magnay produced a superb, last-gasp clearance to deny substitute Shamir Mullings the chance to tap home.

Full Time: Maidstone United 1 Pools 1

Attendance: 2,599 (346 Poolies)

Booked: Cassidy (24)

Maidstone United: Worgan, Twumasi, De Havilland, Finney, McLennan, Muldoon (Wynter 90), Lewis, Phillips (Paxman 62), Turgott, Loza, Quigley (Mullings 69).
Subs Not Used: Efete, Richards.

Pools: Loach, Magnay, Davies, Kioso, Donaldson, Noble, Featherstone (Newton 88), Kitching, Muir (Hawkes 69), James (Dinanga 80), Cassidy.
Subs Not Used: Anderson, Woods.

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Ticket News

Maidstone Tickets Available On The Day

3 August 2018

The Gallagher Stadium
The Gallagher Stadium is home to Maidstone United

Here’s all the ticket information you need if you want to follow the lads at Maidstone United on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Pools have been given an allocation of up to 600 for the weekend’s game and will be located in the Genco Stand at The Gallagher Stadium.

Tickets will be made available to Pools fans at Maidstone prior to kick-off on the day of the game.

Prices
Adults - £15
Seniors (65 and over) - £12
Students - £12
Youths (11-16) - £7
Juniors (10 and under) - £2

Disabled supporters will pay as per their relevant age category but will be entitled to a few carer’s ticket. There are some viewing spaces available to book by calling Maidstone’s Ticket Office on 01622 753 817.

Away turnstiles will open at 12.30pm and visiting fans will be welcome in the bar where hot food will be available.

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