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Match Reports

Muir Goal Sees Pools Progress In Cup

20 October 2018

Pools v Kidsgrove Athletic Mark Fletcher, Shutter Press
Niko Muir puts Pools 1-0 up.

Niko Muir got the only goal of the game as Pools won to ensure their name goes into the hat for this season’s FA Cup First Round draw.

Kidsgrove Athletic put in a strong second half display but Matthew Bates’s side took the win thanks to an early Muir goal.

Pools got off to a great start, opening the scoring after just eight minutes when Niko Muir finished off a move from a corner by slotting low past Dominic Kurasik.

And Bates’s side maintained their early dominance, pushing the visitors back for the opening period of the first half.

Luke James fired in a snapshot from the edge of the box that pulled a strong save from Kurasik, while Andrew Davies saw a header from a Liam Noble corner punched clear off the line by the Kidsgrove stopper.

Noble’s freekick sent long into the area created the next opening for Pools; Kurasik came rushing out to punch the ball clear but it only went as far as Michael Woods on the edge of the box. The midfielder then sent a powerful drive back at goal, only to be denied by James Butler who got a head to it to send it over the bar.

While Pools looked the more dangerous throughout the first half, the visitors did have a couple of half chances from corners.

And after good work by Chris Budrys, Anthony Malbon sent an acrobatic volley at goal which was kept out by Scott Loach.

The only frustration for Pools in the first half would have been that they failed to turn their possession into more goals.

There was an early chance in the second half to rectify that as Peter Kioso rose highest to meet a cross into the box but the defender’s header found the grateful arms of Kurasik.

The visitors upped their pressure in the final third early in the second half, throwing everything up to try and find an equaliser; Lewis Bergin going closest with a low drive across goal which went wide at the far post.

This opened things up more for Pools at the other end and when Liam Noble broke forward, he found the space to get through a shoot a low drive at goal from the edge of the box but it went wide.

Nicky Featherstone was next to test his shooting boots with a powerful effort from the edge of the box but he was denied by Kurasik with a strong save.

Ryan Donaldson fired wide of the near post after good work by Muir and Noble, while Michael Woods sent one over the bar from 35 yards.

But with Pools struggling to assert themselves as much on the second half, the visitors continued to see more of the ball and they made Bates’s side work harder after the break.

With 70 minutes on the clock, Scott Loach was called into action as he pulled off a great save to deny Kyle Diskin with a freekick from just outside the area. And the Pools keeper did it again shortly after to prevent the equaliser coming following a corner kick.

The visitors had Pools rattled for a spell, with a second goal needed to calm any nerves on and off the pitch.

And Nicky Featherstone went close to being the man to get that goal as he forced his way forward before watching a decent strike go just wide of target.

Marcus Dinanga added a spark to the dying minutes of the game as he twisted into space to turn and fire a decent effort at goal but once again Pools were denied by Kurasik.

And that was the final chance of the afternoon as Bates’s side took the 1-0 win to progress to the First Round Proper of this year’s FA Cup competition.

Full Time: Pools 1 Kidsgrove Athletic 0

Attendance: 2703 (168 Kidsgrove Athletic)

Pools: Loach, Kioso, Davies, Magnay, Donaldson, Featherstone, Noble (Hawkes 66), Woods (McLaughlin 66), Kitching, Muir (Dinanga 90), James.
Subs Not Used: Catterick, Anderson, Richardson, Hawkins.

Kidsgrove Athletic: Kurasik, Freeland, Morris, Bergin (Rumenio 74), Butler, Rhodes, Diskin (Cole 85), Williams, Budrys (Saxon 65), Malbon, Williamson.
Subs Not Used: Burzynski, Twyford, Jepson, Austin.

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