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Match Reports

Pools Win Again Away From Home

22 September 2018

Pools won for a fourth successive away game for the first time since 2006 as goals from Liam Noble and Nicky Featherstone helped them overcome FC Halifax Town.

After a goalless first half there was a crazy start to the second period with Pools going in front from the spot through Noble after home skipper Matty Brown had been red-carded for a foul on Peter Kioso in the box.

It got worse for the hosts moments later when Matty Kosylo was shown a second yellow card and they were down to nine much to the disgust of the home supporters.

Nicky Featherstone poured salt in the wounds with a wonderful goal to mark his 30th birthday to make it 2-0 before Jacob Hanson grabbed a late consolation for the hosts.

Pools were handed a big boost ahead of kick-off with the news that Andrew Davies returned to early from injury to captain the side from centre-back, Peter Kioso moving to right-back to accommodate for the loss of Ryan Donaldson to a hamstring injury.

Pools were quickly out of the traps and the game had hardly settled down before they made their intentions clear, Niko Muir lashing a shot wide within the first sixty seconds.

It was almost a dream start moments later when Liam Noble sent a wonderfully-guided shot with the instep of his boot over keeper Sam Johnson who remained motionless as the ball crashed back off the underside of his crossbar and out.

Noble whipped a free-kick just over the bar not long after before Muir’s turn and shot was just too high at the end of a flowing Pools move as Matthew Bates’ men went through the gears.

Out of nowhere, the hosts broke menacingly down the right and almost snatched the lead when Jordan Preston’s ball in to the front post was diverted goalwards by Jonathan Edwards but Scott Loach reacted quickly to turn it round for a corner.

Pools continued to dominate possession, knocking it around with real confidence – though Mark Kitching did have to block a shot from the dangerous Preston as The Shaymen countered.

There was also more heroics from Loach when Preston drove infield from the right and let fly with a low drive which seemed ready to nestle in to the bottom corner before a brilliant, full-stretch intervention from the Pools keeper.

Bates’ men upped the pressure as the break drew close and an intense period of attacking saw shots from Noble and McLaughlin before Luke James prodded wide to allow the Halifax defenders to draw breath.

There was even a half-chance in injury-time for Pools after Noble did well to work the ball wide right for James but his cutback wasn’t met with the connection Muir wanted and the home side escaped again.

They enjoyed no such luck early in the second half though; within minutes of the restart Noble’s deep free-kick was headed on goal by Kioso and held by the keeper – but home skipper Brown was shown a straight red card for an alleged stamp on the teenager in the aftermath.

Noble kept his cool to slide home the resultant spot-kick before setting-off on a typically exuberant celebration in front of the near-1000 travelling fans.

Town winger Kosylo had been booked for arguing about the first red card but was soon given his own marching orders following a foul on the halfway line and the hosts were reduced to nine men.

After that, it was total dominance from Pools as they swept the ball around and made their hosts run, James coming close to adding a second when he fired over on the stretch after good set-up play from Kitching.

The second goal arrived just after the hour when Featherstone drove in from the right hand side after a short-corner and drilled an unstoppable shot in to the top left corner of the net to cue more wild celebrations in the away end.

Substitute Kenton Richardson teed up Kitching who headed wide and Muir prodded an effort off-target at the front post as Pools continued to probe and press.

Josh Hawkes came off the bench and almost netted with a curling effort before fellow sub Marcus Dinanga and then Noble both drew further fine saves from keeper Johnson.

Halifax grabbed their goal back in the final minute when Preston led a counter-attack to feed Hanson and he clipped the ball past the advancing Loach to set-up a slightly nervy finish.

However, there was no further scares for Pools who held on for the points and moved back up to fifth in the National League, a point behind Tuesday’s hosts Salford City.

Full Time: FC Halifax Town 1 Pools 2

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Sellers, Brown, Clarke, Hanston, Lenighan, Berrett, Kosylo, Southwell (Maher 52), Preston, Edwards (Odelusi 71).
Subs not used: Rowley, McLeod, King.

Booked: Lenighan, Brown, Kosylo.

Sent-off: Brown, Kosylo.

Pools: Loach, Magnay, Davies (Richardson 68), Anderson, Kioso, Featherstone, Noble, McLaughlin, Kitching, Muir (Dinanga 79), James (Hawkes 79).
Subs not used: Newton, Woods.

Booked: Kioso.

Attendance: 2,368 (959 Pools)

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