Point Made For Ten Man Pools
Ten-man Pools take a point in highly-entertaining match against Newport County at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium.
There was more action inside the first four minutes of this game than you would often see over 90 minutes as the match really burst into life.
Pools started brightest and attacked from the off, finishing off a determined move with a great finish from Nicky Featherstone; the midfielder got off the mark for the season with a powerful strike across goal and into the far corner of Joe Day’s net to give his side a second-minute lead.
A minute later and the celebrations were over for Pools as Toto Nsiala received his marching orders. In an effort to stop Jon Parkin getting in behind him, the defender stuck out a hand to block the ball on the edge of the box and received an instant red card for his efforts.
And, ten-man Pools paid further as Sean Rigg stepped up to smash the resulting freekick through the box and past Trevor Carson to make it 1-1 on four minutes.
Typical of Hignett’s side so far this season, the setback just seemed to make them more determined and it was Pools who went on to dominate.
With Featherstone dropping back to join Matthew Bates at the back, Padraig Amond fell back into more of a midfield role and the team adapted quickly to their new roles.
Jordan Richards, in the team in place of the injured Carl Magnay, sent a cross in from the left that took a big deflection off Darren Jones which saw it beat Day and bounce off the bar and out for a corner.
Lewis Alessandra took the corner and picked out Billy Paynter inside the box but his header was well held by Day.
Nathan Thomas, who enjoyed a spell of dominance down both wings, showed his ability as he squeezed between two black and orange shirts to win his side a corner, while Alessandra picked up a Michael Woods ball to steal into the box only to see his final shot go wide of the far post.
It was Newport who were next to find the net though and what a goal it was; Jon Parkin picked up the ball 20 yards out on goal, took it down on his chest to turn and fire a fierce volley through the area and past Carson.
Pools once again showed a positive response and at the other end, Billy Paynter used his power to make space inside the box before setting up Nathan Thomas who saw his snapshot saved by Day.
With Alessandra winning a corner for Pools, Padraig Amond did enough in the build-up to unsettle his marker and, when Alessandra sent the corner in from the right, the former Grimsby striker had the space to send a header past Day to make it 2-2.
The half-time whistle gave both sets of players – and fans – the chance to draw breath after such an entertaining and non-stop first forty-five minutes.
But if anyone thought the second half was going to be quieter, the opening minutes of the second half quickly showed that wasn’t to be the case as Pools continued to play some impressive football.
Joe Day was by far the busier of the keepers, saving well from Michael Woods early in the half before a great cross from Jordan Richards picked out the lively Thomas at the far post but his header was blocked by a combination of post and keeper.
As Thomas once again got into top gear, Newport struggled to deal with him and the winger went desperately close with an impressive strike with the outside of his left foot from wide left which forced another great save out of Day.
Thomas was back in the danger zone just minutes later, this time twisting and turning his way past defenders before shrugging off the defender and winning yet another corner for his side.
Pools had dominated the first half of the second forty-five but Newport slowly started to test things at the other end, with Parkin trying his luck and former Pools man Jack Compton looking to make his mark on his return.
But Pools were putting everything in this afternoon and showed no real signs of being a man down at any point, neither in defence or attack.
County defender Jones sent a long-range strike over the bar late in the game, while Rigg had a good chance to get himself on the scoresheet again in the final minutes but his punt from close range went high.
The six minutes of added time, like the game, were a little fraught on occasion but Pools battled hard to the end and took a point from what was a highly entertaining and fully committed match.
Full Time: Pools 2 Newport County 2
Sent Off: Nsiala (3)
Attendance: 3261 (55 Newport County)
Pools: Carson, Richards, Nsiala, Bates (Donnelly 75), Carroll, Alessandra, Featherstone, Woods, Thomas, Amond (Hawkins 81), Paynter (Harrison 57).
Subs Not Used: Bartlett Deverdics, Laurent, Oates.
Newport County AFC: Day, Rigg, Myrie-Williams (Compton 53), Randall, Parkin, Jackson (Barnum,-Bobb 75), Bennett, Bignot, Labadie (Tozer 63), Butler, Jones.
Subs Not Used: Bittner, Owen-Evans, Sheehan, Green.