Pools Battle Back For Point
Paul Murray's side fought back from 2-0 down to take a point from this afternoon's entertaining match with Newport County.
The game had looked beyond Pools at one stage but when Newport were reduced to ten men, the hosts sensed their opportunity and dug in to earn the draw.
There was an early slip at the back for Paul Murray’s side as a mis-kick from Scott Flinders allowed Chris Zebroski through on goal but the County striker stood on the ball when in a good position and Pools were able to rally.
After that though, Pools looked quite bright, with a couple of early chances to test Joe Day in the Newport goal.
Jonathan Franks, who was bright down the left in the first half, unleashed a powerful strike from the edge of the box that pulled a decent save from Day.
At the other end, Flinders was called into action again, this time as he pulled off a great reaction save to deny Aaron O’Connor who fired a powerful volley at him from close range.
Charlie Wyke was next up in what turned out to be an entertaining opening forty-five minutes; the on-loan striker rose to meet a Franks corner in from the left but his header went over the bar.
The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession going forward, with Andy Sandell a presence from midfield and Zebroski a threat in the final third.
But Pools were looking composed and were able to create a presence of their own around Day’s goal; Franks was at it again in the 24 minute as he burst forward from the half-way line to shoot on goal but his effort went just over the bar.
Marlon Harewood hit a fierce volley at goal after meeting a clearance from a Wyke shot but his shot went just wide of target as Pools continued to look for an opening.
A slip from Franks allowed the visitors to take the lead; the forward sent a short pass back into his own half which Zebroski pounced on to push into the box. The County striker showed real calmness to round Flinders and fire home the opener on 38 minutes.
The goal was a real blow for Pools who had looked assured up to that point and were now left with the task of coming from behind in a game once again.
The second half started with a Mike Flynn shot from distance but Flinders held it comfortably and from then on in, it was Pools who looked the biggest threat.
But for all of the possession at the right end of the pitch, Pools were again too easily cut open at the other end as a ball between Collins and Harrison allowed Aaron O’Connor to run through on goal and he made no mistake as he finished past Flinders to make it 2-0.
Paul Murray added Sidney Schmeltz to the action on 63 minutes and he almost had an instant impact as he ran in to shoot in from the edge of the box. His shot went just wide but it did enough to give Pools a lift.
As Pools tried to capitalise on the positivity of Schmeltz, a ball into the box created a real scramble on the goalline, with an apparent scuffle between players. The outcome saw Scott Harrison booked and Andy Sandell pick up his second yellow of the game as Newport were reduced to ten men.
Murray’s side had just over 20 minutes to make their extra man count and, when Michael Duckworth burst forward from the right back position to feed Harewood through, a goal looked set to arrive. But somehow Curtis Obeng threw himself in the way to block the shot and Pools were left with the two goals to overturn.
Brad Walker stepped up to give his side a lifeline on 80 minutes as he fired the ball through the area and into the top corner of Day’s net in what is becoming his trademark style.
Walker tried a similar effort on 86 minutes but this time Day was equal to it and blocked it out and so Pools were forced to start again if they were to get anything back from this game.
And start again they did; Michael Duckworth picked up the ball down the right to force his way with real determination into the box where he smashed the ball past the keeper to make it 2-2 with his second goal for the Club.
There were a few half chances in the remaining few minutes but time ran out and Pools finished with a well-earned point after battling back from 2-goals down.
Full Time: Pools 2 Newport County 2
Attendance: 3172 (98 Newport County)
Booked: Woods (30), Austin (52), Harrison (67)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Harrison, Austin, Featherstone, Walker, Woods (Schmeltz 63), Franks, Wyke, Harewood
Subs Not Used: Hawkins, Richards, Brobbel, Jones,Smith, Crooks
Newport County AFC: Day, Porter (Klukowski 60), Jones, Yakubu, Minshull, O'Connor (Loveridge 78), Zebroski, Sandell, Hughes, Flynn, Obeng.
Subs Not Used: Pidgeley, Feely, Tancock, Patten, Collins.