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Match Reports

Pools Throw It Away Again

14 December 2019

Match Reports

Pools Throw It Away Again

14 December 2019

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

go through to Round Two.

Dave Challinor's men looked to be cruising through to the

next stage after Tyler Hamilton scored on his full debut early on and Ryan

Donaldson 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 in

awful 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 pressure

which 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 in

to 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 flashed

across 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 where

Hamilton 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 his

shot 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's

long-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 a

left-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 Konstantopoulos

and 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 his

right 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 the


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 drive

from 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 and

were 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.

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