Pools End 2016 With A Win
Craig Hignett's side beat Morecambe 3-2 at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium to end the year with a crucial three points.
The game started out at a really high tempo, with action at both ends inside the first five minutes and the opening goal came after just ten.
And fortunately for Pools it came at the right end of the pitch as Padraig Amond fired home his side’s first goal of the month with a lovely volleyed effort which went over Barry Roche and into the roof of the net.
It was 2-0 just three minutes later as skipper Billy Paynter showed how it’s done from the penalty spot. The spot kick was awarded for a handball and Paynter took hold of the ball to step up and confidently smash the ball home to double the lead.
Pools were playing some good football in the first half, with Michael Woods working hard behind the front two of Amond and Paynter.
And it was a great passage of play from Hignett’s side that lead to the third goal; a lovely flowing move which saw Nicky Featherstone played through into the box. And the midfielder showed a calm head as he strode forward to send the ball past Roche to make it 3-0 on 24 minutes.
While the three-goal lead saw Pools largely in control for the remainder of the first half, Morecambe continued to press away and they finished the half strongly.
Kevin Ellison sent a shot high and wide before Michael Rose drilled another effort across the face of goal and out at the far post.
The visitors then hit the post just before the break as Rose saw his effort bounce off the underside of the bar before Trevor Carson reacted quickly to snatch the rebound away from the head of Ellison.
Morecambe started the second half brightly too, showing a determination to play their passing style of football despite the three early goals against.
And the visitors got the next goal on 52 minutes as an Andrew Fleming strike took a deflection which saw it beat Carson and hit the net, giving Morecambe a lifeline back into the game.
Pools who looked a little less assured following the goal against and it was Morecambe who continued to control things, pushing on for a second goal to really test the resolve.
And with nerves showing on the pitch, frustration was voiced off it and there was an air of tension inside the ground. But while it was Morecambe who dominated possession, with more of the action at the wrong end of the pitch for Pools – Trevor Carson was not called upon on too many occasions as the visitors had few clear chances on goal.
Rhys Oates came on for Pools for the last twenty minutes and he offered some pace down the right wing, getting the ball into the box for Amond, who just slipped as he readied a shot.
It was a different challenge for Hignett's side in the second half; after a first period where they were able to play a more flowing game, the second was more of a battle as they worked to keep Morecambe at bay.
Things got very nervy for Pools in added time as Morecambe forced a goal from a corner as Hignett's men failed to clear the danger but fortunately that was the last of the action and Pools secured the win.
And despite the second half being more uncomfortable than it should have been, Pools finished 2016 with a victory at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium.
Full Time: Pools 3 Morecambe2
Booked: Woods (35), Nsiala (61)
Attendance: 2996 (129 Morecambe)
Pools: Carson, Harrison, Nsiala, Donnelly, Hawkins, Woods (Laurent 82), Featherstone, Deverdics (Oates 72), Carroll, Amond, Paynter (Alessandra 58).
Subs Not Used: Bartlett, Richards, Walker, Orrell.
Morecambe: Roche, McGowan, Edwards, Winnard, Murphy, Ellison, Conlan (Mullin 31), Fleming, Turner (Wildig 73), Jennings (Molyneux 66), Rose.
Subs Not Used: Nizic, Wakefield, Whitmore, Massanka.