Molyneux Nets As Pools Beat Aldershot

Mark Shelton, Hartlepool United v Aldershot Town

Luke Molyneux celebrated his first start of the season by scoring inside six minutes and setting up another as Pools ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Aldershot Town at Victoria Park.

The winger has missed most of the campaign after sustaining a serious ankle injury during the latter stages of pre-season but he looked keen to make up for lost time when handed a start against The Shots.

Molyneux’s inclusion was one of three changes made by Dave Challinor, with Rob Harker handed his home debut in attack and Ben Killip recalled in goal.

It was Aldershot who started the brighter in the formative moments and they forced an early corner but once Molyneux took to centre-stage, Danny Searle’s side had no answer.

He rammed in the opening goal when he got on the end of Rob Harker’s unselfish low ball across goal after good work from Mark Shelton and give Pools the perfect start with little over five minutes on the clock.

Molyneux then turned provider on 20 minutes when he swung over a right-wing corner right on to the head of Shelton, whose glancing touch took it in to the far corner of the net to make it 2-0.

From then on Pools were in almost total control, though chances were at a premium for the rest of the first half as the wind grew stronger as the game progressed.

The second period started in scrappy fashion too, though the visitors were struggling to get any kind of foothold back in the game other than Lewis Walker’s angled snapshot which flew just wide of the upright.

As time wore on, The Shots were forced to take a few more risks and that opened things up for Pools on the counter-attack and Harker almost nodded a third goal when he got on the end of Ryan Donaldson’s corner.

Just seconds later Gime Toure should have got his name on the scoresheet when he stormed clear of the visiting defence only to send a sliding effort across goal and wide.

At the other end there was an extraordinary piece of defending from Macualey Southam-Hales as he stood his ground on the line to somehow deflect a powerful drive over the bar and protect the clean sheet.

Shelton stepped inside from the right on to a Donaldson pass but curled an effort just past the post as Pools looked to get back on top.

Substitute Gus Mafuta then led a sweeping counter-attack and when the ball landed back at his feet in the area he twisted in to space but then drilled a shot just too high.

Aidan Keena was also a nuisance from the bench as a swirling ball from Mark Kitching drew an ill-advised charge from his line by Shots keeper Mitch Walker who did well to stand tall on the edge of his area to block Keena’s shot.

Toure drove powerfully to the byline but his cross was blocked by a defender and Donaldson also stung the gloves of Walker but Pools could find no further way through and had to settle for a 2-0 win.

Full Time: Pools 2 Aldershot Town 0

Pools: Killip, Southam-Hales, Liddle, Odusina, Kitching, Featherstone, Shelton (Hawkes 91), Molyneux (Mafuta 66), Donaldson, Harker (Keena 81), Toure.
Subs not used: Anderson, Richardson.

Booked: Molyneux.

Aldershot Town: M Walker, Tinkler, Kinsella, Rance, Lyons-Foster, Rowe, Bettamer (L Walker 45), Chislett (Panayiotou 55), Berkeley-Agyepong, Koue Niate, Tanner (Santos 67).
Subs not used: Whittingham, Fowler.

Booked: Tanner.

Attendance: 3,442 (165 Aldershot).

Referee: Andrew Kitchen.