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Match Reports

Late Goal Denies Pools Home Win

7 August 2018

Niko Muir Mark Fletcher (Shutter Press)
Niko Muir celebrates his opening goal at The Super 6 Stadium

Pools were pegged back in the final minute of the game by a bright Harrogate Town side, in a game that finished 2-2.

Matthew Bates's side had twice taken the lead, first through Niko Muir and then Jake Cassidy but each time the visitors found a repl

It was an entertaining and fast-paced first half here at the newly-renamed Super 6 Stadium as Pools played host to a lively Harrogate Town side.

With plenty of action in both halves of the pitch in the opening minutes, the first real chances fell to Bates’s side who looked strong going forward.

Carl Magnay was the first to test James Belshaw in the visiting goal as he fired in a low drive from distance which was well blocked by the keeper. The loose ball was picked up by Mark Kitching who sent the ball back into the middle where Jake Cassidy fired in at goal – only for his effort to also be blocked out by Belshaw.

Just minutes later and the Harrogate keeper had his hat-trick as he pulled off another decent block to deny Luke James who had pushed in from the right to try his luck on goal.

Niko Muir pulled a neat ball back for Liam Noble who lifted a teasing ball to the far post where Kitching was waiting to pounce; he sent his header over the bar, while he also saw a second effort shortly after go the same way.

Great work by Ryan Donaldson just after the half-hour mark opened things up down the right for Pools and the wide man picked out Nicky Featherstone with a lovely pass. Featherstone picked his shot before sending the ball at goal but Belshaw did it again to deny the midfielder and it remained 0-0.

Pools didn’t have things all their own way though as the visitors looked bright on the break and grew in confidence as the half progressed. Both George Thomson and Jack Emmett caused problems going forward, with some good pressure down the right.

Scott Loach made sure he matched the efforts of his opposite number with some important saves late in the half.

A low drive from outside of the area from Jack Muldoon was parried by Loach and, with Aaron Williams bearing down, the Pools stopped showed quick reactions to palm the ball out of the path of the Harrogate man.

And with the visitors finishing the half brightly, Loach was in action again before the break as he blocked well from Thomson to ensure the teams went in level.

Pools came out brightly for the second half and there was a very early chance for Noble to make it two goals in as many games; good work again by Kitching down the left saw the wide man cross low into the box and, with Cassidy leaving it for Noble, the midfielder arrived to hit the ball goalwards but a deflection sees the ball go wide.

With Bates’s side maintaining the early pressure, they made the pressure count on 53 minutes when Niko Muir opened his account for Pools to make it 1-0.

Luke James showed his typical battle to force things forward before playing the ball up for Noble who took the ball up to the touchline and crossed it back for Muir who headed past Belshaw for his first in Pools’ colours.

The visitors pulled level on the hour as they forced the ball into the box from the right and, with the ball coming through a crowd, Dominic Knowles was in position to tap home from close range to make it 1-1.

Carl Magnay intercepted Jack Muldoon who was powering down on goal and, with Jack Emmett following in with the rebound shot, Loach held the shot as the visitors looked to build on their equaliser.

And Magnay was involved in things going in the opposite direction shortly after as he sent a long ball up field which found Jake Cassidy lurking in a great position and the striker showed a calm head to take the ball in his stride and send it past Belshaw to make it 2-1.

Luke James was a real threat for Pools, particularly in the second half, causing problems for the visitors every time he picked up possession.

And at the other end, Andrew Davies was a rock, winning everything in the air and easing the pressure as the visitors looked to draw level once more.

But Pools couldn't hold the lead and, when sub Joe Leesley lifted a freekick into the area, Callum Howe popped up to head home and make it 2-2 on 90 minutes.

Andrew Davies had one cleared off the line as Pools looked to re-take the lead in the dying minutes but that was as close as they came as the game finished all square. 

Full Time: Pools 2 Harrogate Town 2

Attendance: 3623 (187 Harrogate Town)

Pools: Loach, Magnay, Davies, Kioso, Donaldson, Featherstone (McLaughlin 68), Noble, Kitching, Muir (Newton 87), James, Cassidy.
Subs Not Used: Woods, Anderson, Dinanga.

Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Falkingham, Howe, Burrell, Thomson, Emmett, Knowles, Langmead, Williams, Muldoon (Leesley 76), Kitching.
Subs Not Used: Parker, Cracknell, Agnew, Kerry.

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