Pools were knocked out of the FA Trophy in bizarre circumstances
at The CNG Stadium as they allowed Harrogate Town to recover from 2-0 down to
Dave Challinor's men looked to be cruising through to the
next stage after Tyler Hamilton scored on his full debut early on and RyanDonaldson made it two right on half-time.
Dimi Konstantopoulos – handed a second debut after signing
non-contract forms – also saved a first half penalty as everything went right inawful conditions in North Yorkshire.
Pools even saw out the opening 25 minutes of the second half
with relative comfort only for Peter Kioso to slice a ball over Konstantopoulos'head and in to the net to reduce the arrears.
On 86 minutes it was all-square. A cross was looping towards
the far post and Konstantopolous couldn't gather it cleanly under pressurewhich gave Connor Hall the chance to fire home.
Extra-time looked to be looming but a long ball forward
caused problems for Fraser Kerr and his steepling attempted clearance slipped
through Konstantopoulos' fingers and Brandon Kiernan walked the loose ball into an empty net to steal the tie for Town.
Pools began the game on the front foot and dominated the ball
from the off, almost going in front when Mark Kitching's wicked delivery flashedacross the forehead of the arriving Gus Mafuta.
However, the pressure told on ten minutes when another
delivery from the left was met by Mafuta and it dropped down at the far post whereHamilton took a touch before ramming home the opening goal from close range.
Nicke Kabamba could have doubled the lead not long afterwards
when he was able to turn dangerously on the left of the area but he whipped hisshot just wide of the far post.
Konstantopoulos was forced in to action for the first time
when he reacted well to move across to his right and palm clear George Thomson'slong-range drive as Town looked to get a foothold in the game.
However, Hamilton was proving a handful at the other end and
he danced inside of two Harrogate defenders from the right before curling aleft-foot effort just wide of the upright.
Josh Hawkes drilled a shot far too high on the break before
Jon Stead spurned the hosts' best chance of the half, drilling across Konstantopoulosand wide from the right of the area.
Six minutes before the break, Town were handed a lifeline
when Fraser Kerr brought down Brendan Kiernan just inside the box but
Konstantopoulos brought back memories of Prenton Park in 2005 by flying to hisright to save Stead's penalty and protect the lead.
It proved a crucial moment because Pools made it 2-0 in first
half injury-time with a devastating counter-attack from a Town corner. Hamilton
and Nicky Featherstone did brilliantly on the halfway line to win possession
and feed Hawkes who drove forward and slipped the ball inside for Donaldson who
took a touch and squeezed a finish past Town keeper Joe Cracknell to double thelead.
It looked as though that would be that even though Harrogate
came out in more determined fashion at the start of the second half; Stead and
Hall both headed over from close range and Konstantopoulos held a low drivefrom Alex Bradley as Pools held their hosts at bay.
However, Pools combusted again during a final thirteen minutes
as they failed to hang on to a 2-0 lead for the fourth time this season andwere knocked out of the competition.
Full Time: Harrogate Town 3 Pools 2
Harrogate Town: Cracknell, Fallowfield (Brown 46), Thomson (Muldoon 71), Kiernan, Bradley, Stead, Kerry, Hall, W Smith, Diamond (Emmett 46), Hancox.
Subs not used: Belshaw, G Smith, Falkingham.
Pools: Konstantopoulos, Richardson, Kioso, Kerr, Kitching, Featherstone, Mafuta, Donaldson, Hamilton, Hawkes (Toure 46), Kabamba (Crichlow-Noble 68).
Subs: Beeney, Kennedy, Shelton.
Attendance: 803 (289 Poolies).
Referee: Andrew Miller.