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Match Reports

Pools Pick Up Point Against Eastleigh

15 September 2018

Niko Muir Mark Fletcher, Shutter Press
Niko Muir in action against Eastleigh

Pools had to settle for a point against Eastleigh at The Super 6 Stadium this afternoon.

In a first half dominated by Matthew Bates's side, Niko Muir got the opening goal and the only complaint from Pools would have been that they didn't add to this tally.

But Eastleigh upped their pressure in the second half and got the equaliser on 70 minutes; with Bates's side unable to find the winner, the game finished 1-1.

Scott Loach made his introduction to the action on eight minutes with a fantastic save; Cavanagh Miley broke into the box to send a glancing header goalwards from close range. And, with a goal looking on the cards, Loach got down to block out the effort with an outstretched hand to keep things at 0-0.

That was as close as the visitors came in the first half as Pools were largely in control of the opening period, with a professional and well-organised display.

Liam Noble had the first of a succession of shots on 18 minutes when he fired one in from the edge of the box that was deflected out wide for a corner.

Just minutes later and Pools put together a lovely passage of play down the left, with Paddy McLaughlin playing it out to Mark Kitching who in turn sent it across the box to Noble arriving into the area. The in-form midfielder smashed another effort at goal but was denied by Graham Stack with a great stop.

Pools were ahead on 24 minutes after a similar move came down the left; this time Nicky Featherstone fed the impressive Ryan Donaldson who sent an inch-perfect ball into the box for Niko Muir to finish from close range and make it 1-0 to his side.

Luke James got through into the box and, despite the close attention of two Eastleigh defenders, he managed to square the ball through for Noble but this time the skipper fired his shot straight into the arms of Stack.

There was a blow for Pools just before the break when the lively Donaldson pulled up holding his hamstring and had to be replaced.

The hosts took their one-goal lead into the second half and Loach ensured it stayed that was as he denied Oliver Dennet with a close-range strike in the opening minutes.

After a busy start from the visitors, Pools were back on the attack on 55 minutes, with Luke James forcing things forward before playing in Noble. His teasing cross into the box was aimed for Kitching but the ball was just stolen from his head and it was out for a corner.

Kitching was back involved shortly after, this time going for goal from the edge of the box with a decent strike but his shot just scraped over the bar.

The second half was more of a scrap than the first, with Pools not quite finding the flow of the first 45 after the break – but it was still Bates’s side who saw most of the ball.

Richardson was played down the right by McLaughlin and the young defender did well to get a low cross into the box for Luke James, who turned to shoot at goal but saw his attempts twice blocked by the defender.

It was the visitors who next found the next, with Paul McCallum heading home the equaliser on 70 minutes after a determined run by Joe Jones from deep inside his own half.

Pools upped the pressure at the other end in response to the goal and both Liam Noble and Paddy McLaughlin were denied by good saves from visiting keeper Graham Stack in the minutes following the equaliser.

Kitching had another chance as he met a cross into the box to head at goal from the left but his effort went just wide of the far post.

But despite the late pressure from Pools, there were no more goals this afternoon and the match finished at 1-1, stretching the unbeaten run to eight games.

Full Time: Pools 1 Eastleigh 1 

Attendance: 3302 (15 Eastleigh)

Pools: Loach, Kioso, Magnay, Anderson, Donaldson (Richardson 43), Featherstone, Noble, McLaughlin (Woods 79), Kitching, James (Dinanga 79), Muir.
Subs Not Used: Hawkes, Newton.

Eastleigh: Stack, Hare, Gobern, Johnson, McCallum, Yeates, Wynter, Dennet (Zebroski 61), Miley, Jones, Payne.
Subs Not Used: Constable, Flitney, Boyce, Hollands.

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