Victory For Pools Over Accrington
Pools got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Accrington Stanley at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium.
Craig Hignett's side played a patient game, taking their chances in the second half as the visitors were reduced to ten men.
It was a lively first half despite the persistent rain but, while Pools just edged it in terms of possession, it was the visitors who looked the more like scoring.
The new 3-5-2 formation looked positive in the opening minutes as Pools won two quick corners to try and catch Accrington out from the off. Both were cleared but the quick start from Pools showed promise.
Accrington had their first shot on goal through Jordan Clarke who sent a long-range effort wide of Trevor Carson’s goal on 12 minutes before the Pools keeper came out to collect a headed effort from Omar Beckles.
With the action not slowing down, Lewis Alessandra found space down the right for Pools before picking out Nicky Deverdics more central but with Padraig Amond waiting for the ball in the middle, Accrington intercepted to clear.
The visitors had one of their best chances on 22 minutes as a great cross in from Zak Vyner who picked out the busy Billy Kee in the box but he powered a strike just wide of Carson’s post.
Pools were seeing more of the ball and did break through the well-organised Accrington defence for a decent effort on goal; Deverdics played Alessandra through into the box with a lovely ball but Alessandra’s final shot was well-saved by Elliot Parish.
At the other end, Kee went even closer to opening the scoring as he sent one wide from a great position just yards out from goal.
Josh Laurent lost out to Shay McCartan inside his own half late into the 45 but after the Accrington forward burst into the box, he sent the ball wide under strong pressure from Matthew Bates.
Pools started the second half brightly again, with James Martin – making his league debut – pressing down the right. While the cross was cleared, the left back impressed on his debut.
But as with the first half, there was a fast pace to the game and the action was soon at the other end of the pitch and Matthew Bates again stepped up, heading clear off the line as the visitors pressed from a freekick.
Toto Nsiala was next up as he blocked an effort from Clarke who looked set to open the scoring, and then the big defender got himself involved in the opposite penalty box.
With Nsiala the only man inside the box, he rose to meet a cross from the left but was denied by Parish with a great one-handed save. But that wasn’t the end of it – the referee had seen something in the build-up to the goal that he didn’t like and pointed to the penalty spot.
Defender Mark Hughes received his marching orders for the incident and, after some distraction tactics from the visitors, Padraig Amond took the penalty.
His strike was blocked by Parish and then took touches from Alessandra and Hawkins before Nicky Deverdics finally got it in the back of the net for Pools with an acrobatic effort.
Jake Carroll replaced James Martin just after the goal and went close to making an instant impact, pulling a great save out of Parish with a powerful low drive.
Josh Laurent headed the ball off the line from an Accrington corner as the visitors continued to press forward, before Pools went straight up the other end and Carroll unleashed another strike – this time sending it over the bar.
There was a nervy moment for Pools late in the game as Featherstone slipped on the increasingly wet surface to allow sub Rommy Boco through on goal but Carson pulled off a strong save to deny the goal and preserve the lead.
But the nerves were settled early into the six minutes of added time when Lewis Alessandra capped off a lovely spell from Pools to make it 2-0; with a series of passes exchanged between Hawkins, Woods, Featherstone and Amond, the latter played a lovely cross in for his strike partner and Alessandra gratefully accepted to fire home and round off the win.
Full Time: Pools 2 Accrington Stanley 0
Booked: Nsiala (42), Martin (57)
Attendance: 2514 (59 Accrington Stanley)
Pools: Carson, Harrison, Bates, Nsiala, Hawkins, Martin (Carroll 67), Featherstone, Laurent, Deverdics (Woods 76), Alessandra, Amond.
Subs Not Used: Bartlett, Walker, Orrell, Oates, Paynter.
Accrington Stanley: Parish, Hughes, Beckles, Vyner, Clarke, Brown, McCartan, McConville, O'Sullivan, Conneely (Boco 81), Kee (Lacey 69).
Subs Not Used: Davies, Gornell, Taylor-Fletcher, Chapman, Skyes.