Pools Beat Cheltenham For First Home Win
Pools had things their own way for much of the first half, dominating possession once again here at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium.
Good work by Liam Donnelly down the right set things up for Pools but his searching cross into the box just escaped the attentions of both Padraig Amond and Josh Laurent, while Nicky Deverdics sent an early effort over the bar.
Hignett’s side bossed the opening 20 minutes of the game, with corners, freekicks and crosses all sent in to test the visitors but the red and white defence were strong, particularly in the air.
Toto Nsiala powered forward with possession mid-way through the half only to lose out just inside the visitor’s half. This allowed Harry Pell to push forward and fire in Cheltenham’s first effort of the game but he sent it well wide.
Pools then had thier pocket picked on the edge of the area by Jack Munns but he sent his cross / shot wide of the far post untested.
Harry Pell tried his luck again with a shot from distance which was only blocked at the first attempt by Trevor Carson and as he hurried to collect the loose ball, he collided with the in-rushing Cheltenham striker.
Carson, who had flown back from international duty with Northern Ireland for this afternoon’s game, had some treatment to a hand injury picked up in the clash but eventually had to be replaced on 37 minutes.
Fortunately Pools have a more than capable replacement and Adam Bartlett came on in place.
After the stoppage in play for treatment to Carson, Pools regained their dominance and finished the first half very strongly.
With the pressure on Cheltenham’s goal increasing, the goal finally came for Pools deep in stoppage time; Lewis Alessandra showed a great turn to give himself the space to shoot on the left of goal. His well-placed shot took a touch off the defender on its way but hit the top corner to make it 1-0.
Adam Bartlett pulled off a great save early in the second half to deny Nsiala an own goal; a shot from the visitors took a big deflection off the Pools defender on its way towards target but the sub keeper stuck out a hand to deny an early equaliser.
Pools went close to doubling their lead shortly after when a Deverdics corner was put back into the mix by Alessandra on the left. The ball took a few touches on its way but was cleared by Pell on the line as Laurent looked to pounce.
Carroll and Laurent combined down the left before the left back put a cross in for Padraig Amond but his header on goal went just wide of target.
Nicky Deverdics came to the rescue for Pools as he cleared a Cheltenham corner off the line as the visitors enjoyed more of the ball in the second half.
Deverdics was in action in the opposite box, linking up neatly with Laurent before squaring into the box for Alessandra who tried his luck for the double with a low drive at goal but his strike went wide of the far post.
But nerves were starting to show for Pools as the visitors upped their pressure and, when Billy Waters nipped into the box from the eft to send a shot at goal, there was an intake of breath before the ball hit the side netting.
Those nerves were eased just before the 80th minute when Lewis Alessandra added to his high tally of assists, whipping in a perfectly-placed freekick which was nodded home with composure by Matthew Bates to make it 2-0.
Alessandra could have made it 3-0 with a goal that would have capped off a lovely move by Pools; Laurent, Woods and Hawkins combined with real class before the latter played in Alessandra to fire at goal but his effort went wide of the far post.
It was a professional performance from Pools that brought the a well-deserved first home league victory against an in-form Cheltenham Town side.
Full Time: Pools 2 Cheltenham Town 0
Attendance: 3316 (110 Cheltenham Town)
Pools: Carson (Bartlett 37), Donnelly (Harrison 87), Nsiala, Bates, Carroll, Featherstone, Laurent, Hawkins, Alessandra, Amond, Deverdics (Woods 82).
Subs Not Used: Richards, Oates, Paynter, Orrell.
Cheltenham Town: Griffiths, Downes, Parslow, Pell, Waters (Morgan-Smith 80), Wright, Munns (Holman 57), Cranston, Dayton (Arthur 87), O'Shaughnessy, Dickie.
Subs Not Used: Kitscha, Barthram, Lymn, Whitehead.