FA Cup Cheer For Pools
Colin Cooper's men make in four wins in four at The Vic with FA Cup First Round victory over League One side Notts County.
A Luke James brace and a Jack Baldwin strike saw Pools earn their way into the Second Round of the FA Cup with another battling display from Cooper's side.
Pools started strongest again this afternoon, with the first effort of the game arriving after just four minutes when Jonathan Franks sent an ambitious volley wide of target.
Andy Monkhouse was in confident mood and found himself heavily involved throughout the first half – with the majority of Pools’ forward play coming down the left hand side.
Neil Austin sent a cross in from the right which deflected up high off the defender, only to hit the bar and bounce out for a corner.
Simon Walton took it and sent a perfectly-placed ball into the box where Jack Baldwin got up highest to send a bullet header past Bialkowski for Pools’ first goal of the game.
The goal, which arrived on 15 minutes, was deserved reward for Cooper’s side who had made all of the early running but going a goal behind saw the visitors up their pressure and they showed a great response.
Within two minutes Notts County were level – all be it in slightly fortuitous circumstances. A corner from the left bounced around inside the area before Matty Dolan picked it up to send clear. Dolan’s clearance though, rebounded heavily off the arriving Dean Leacock and the ball cannoned back past Dolan and Flinders into the net to level the scores.
For a spell after their equaliser, Sean Derry’s side looked the more dangerous and Scott Flinders had to be alert to save well from Joss Labadie who met a Gary Liddle cross to head at goal.
As the game opened up into a real entertaining one, Andy Monkhouse went on a great run to shoot on goal, only to see his effort sent high by Gary Liddle at full-stretch.
Baldwin saw another headed effort saved by Bialkowski, while Flinders had to do the same at the other end to deny Callum McGregor.
It was Pools though who grabbed the advantage in the run of end-to-end chances; Michael Duckworth went on a trademark run at goal to power a ball through the box. His effort was parried by the keeper and Player of the Month Luke James was quickest to react to tap home to make it 2-1 on 41 minutes.
Cooper’s men started the second half with real determination as they pushed on in search of a third; James Poole and Luke James both tried their luck in the opening minutes before the visitors re-found their own stride.
And once they did, it had to be a grittier approach from Pools as they were forced to dig deep to protect the one-goal lead.
Sean Derry introduced Enoch Showunmi on the hour mark to give his side more firepower as they looked to make the most of their possession.
The visitors won a succession of corners in a strong period of attack on Flinders’ goal and, with the added height up front, Pools had to be strong in the air.
As has been the case for Cooper’s men, they soaked up as much pressure as the visitors had to throw at them and then pounced at the other end.
Matty Dolan sent a lovely freekick in from just outside the box and, though his curling effort hit the post, Luke James once again showed his instinct to get in there first and fire home to make it 3-1.
Notts County did not let the goal stem their pressure in the final third and they continued to plug away – eventually forcing a goal through sub Ronan Murray who finished from close range to make it 3-2.
Antony Sweeney had a great chance to make sure of the win for Pools in added time when he intercepted a loose pass to run at goal but his strike from 25 yards scraped wide of the post.
The four minutes of added time made for a nervy finish to the game at The Vic and it was a case of everyone back defending as the visitors threw their keeper up for a later corner but Pools held on to seal their place in the Second Round of the FA Cup.
Full Time: Pools 3 Notts County 2
Att: 3313 (233 Notts County)
Booked: Monkhouse (44)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Baldwin, Austin, Franks (Richards 85), Walton, Dolan, Monkhouse, Poole (Sweeney 85), James
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Holden, Compton, Walker, Rodney
Notts County: Bialkowski, Sheehan, Liddle, Leacock, Grealish (Showunmi 60), McGregor, Arquin, Labadie (Boucaud 60), Campbell-Ryce, Thompson (Murray 76), Fotheringham
Subs Not Used: Spiess, Smith, Haworth, Tempest