Pools have secured their place in the Second Round of the Capital One Cup with a well-earned victory over League One side Fleetwood Town.
It was Fleetwood who started the brightest this evening but once Pools settled into the game, they proved more than a match for their League One opponents.
It took Pools twenty minutes or so to start threatening Chris Maxwell’s goal and they had to face a couple of early Fleetwood chances in the opening minutes.
Antoni Sarcevic and Jamie Proctor exchanged passes as they burst forward before Sarcevic found himself in a good position to fire on goal but he sent his shot wide of Ada Bartlett’s goal.
A cross in from the right picked out Proctor who rose for a free header inside the box but with his effort going the same way as Sarcevic’s, the scores stayed level and Pools were able to mount their own attack.
Michael Woods had the first real chance for Pools but saw his chance blocked, while the non-stop Scott Fenwick also had a shot blocked inside the box.
Billy Paynter took control of the ball well following Fenwick’s shot and played it over for Nicky Featherstone who smashed a volley at goal only to be denied by Maxwell.
Paynter was the instigator in Pools’ next attack as he fed Rakish Bingham with a lovely pass but, after pushing on into the box, the striker side-footed his shot wide.
Pools were playing some good football in spells, showing real composure on the ball and a potential when going forward.
At the other end, Scott Harrison put in a decent block to deny Proctor with a powerful strike, while Bartlett came to the rescue as Pools were caught on the break. The keeper rushed out of his area to head clear with four red shirts chasing down on him.
While the first half finished goalless, Pools looked much brighter in the second half of the first 45 against a bright Fleetwood side.
Bartlett was called into action early after the interval when Conor McLauglin found space down the right to cross into the box but the keeper got down well to intercept the cross.
Fleetwood, who changed shape at the break, started the second half strongly and Pools had to be alert at the back in the early stages to clear a succession of attacks.
Bartlett was strong for Pools again this evening, with a couple of commanding saves to deny the hosts an opening goal.
Scott Fenwick lifted the pressure with a break down the left; he cut inside to send a shot aimed for the opposite corner of the net but he was denied by Maxwell who tipped it over the bar.
Pools were ahead on 58 minutes and it was that man Billy Paynter again; a perfectly-weighted freekick from Jake Carroll picked out the Pools skipper in the box and he made no mistake as he guided a header past Maxwell to give his side the lead.
There was a great chance just after the make it 2-0; a fantastic ball from Bingham sailed across the pitch to land at the feet of Fenwick but the striker saw his low strike blocked and slipped as he chased the rebound.
Pools faced another spell of Fleetwood pressure following the goal but again Bartlett was in solid form and the back line, supported by the impressive Carl Magnay, threw everything into holding firm with a whole range of blocks, tackles, saves and interceptions to
hold onto the lead.
Bartlett pulled off an immense double save as the hosts poured forward, blocking first through a crowd before throwing himself into a melee and grabbing the ball on the line. It was brave and impressive in equal measure from the Pools stopper.
Pools were under real pressure at this point, with the hosts upping the ante as the full-time whistle approached and Ronnie Moore’s men faced a succession of attacks on their goal.
After a brief stop in play while Billy Paynter received treatment, Pools burst into action from the re-start and when Rakish Bingham crossed into the box for Michael Woods, it looked good for Pools, but the hard-working midfielder sent his shot high over the bar.
Magnay put in another important block on 87 minutes as sub Vamara Sanogo looked to pounce inside the box, before Harrison matched it with a powerful clearance as the tension hit fever pitch for watching Poolies.
With four minutes added time, there was plenty of time for more drama; Bartlett pulled off another good save to tip a McLaughlin freekick over the bar. Keeper Maxwell joined the attack for the resulting corner but with Pools clearing the danger, Woods set off towards goal with an empty goal ahead. Woods picked out Bingham who tried his luck from just over the half-way line but his shot sailed wide of the empty net.
But in the end, another goal wasn't needed as the four minutes of added time came to an end and Pools made it two wins in a row to see their names in the hat for the Second Round Capital One Cup draw.
Full Time: Fleetwood Town 0 Pools 1
Attendance: 1822 (278 Pools)
Booked: Paynter (38), Magnay (41)
Fleetwood Town: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Andrew, Jordan, Jonsson, Bell (Sanogo 79), Ryan, Proctor (Ball 67), Della-Verde (Grant 67), McManus, Sarcevic
Subs Not Used: Pond, Deacon, Sowerby, Arestidou
Pools: Bartlett, Duckworth, Harrison, Worley, Carroll, Magnay, Featherstone, Woods, Fenwick, Paynter (Oates 85), Bingham.
Subs Not Used: Denton, Bates, Nearney, Hawkins, Smith, Nelson-Addy.