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Match Reports

Pools Beaten At Harrogate Town

19 January 2019

Nicke Kabamba Mark Fletcher (Shutter Press)
Nicke Kabamba scores for Pools on his debut

Pools slipped to defeat in front of the television cameras at The CNG Stadium despite a debut goal for Nicke Kabamba and a penalty save from Scott Loach.

The front man's strike at least gave the near-800 travelling fans something to cheer but wasn't enough to help Pools claim victory over Harrogate who breathed new life in to their play-off charge with a win.

Richard Money opted to hand debuts to all three of his new signings; Michael Raynes dropped in alongside Carl Magnay at the back, Luke Molyneux came in on the wing and Nicke Kabamba was the partner for Jake Cassidy in attack.

It was the hosts who looked the keenest to impress the cameras early on and they immediately forced Pools on the back foot, roared on by a crackling atmosphere.

And they made good of their early threat when Pools failed to fully-clear on the edge of their own box as George Thomson burrowed forward and, when the ball fell loose for Lloyd Kerry, he fired it low past Scott Loach.

The goal seemed to leave Pools shell-shocked and Town could have even scored from the restart when Michael Raynes was caught in possession but Mark Beck took too long deciding what to do with the ball and the chance evaporated.

Raynes showed his worth minutes later though when Town came forward again, this time the debutant did well to slide across and block Thomson’s shot as he threatened to double the lead.

The hosts had a great opportunity to score the second when the referee spotted a pull by Carl Magnay on Beck in the area – much to the astonishment of most of the players and fans. However, Thomson’s low well-placed penalty was brilliantly palmed away by Loach down to his right.

That proved a catalyst for some improvement for Pools and they could have got back on level terms when good work from Jake Cassidy teed up Molyneux to cross and Kabamba’s bullet header was excellently parried at the front post by Town keeper James Belshaw.

Thomson drove an effort wide at the other end as the home side continued to dominate possession but Molyneux’s pinpoint delivery was causing them problems and Raynes should probably have levelled when he got on the end of a free-kick in to the area but nodded it too high.

The second half began in disastrous fashion though as Nicky Featherstone was dispossessed inside the Pools penalty area and Jack Muldoon rifled home an unstoppable shot to make it 2-0 to the hosts.

After that the next goal was always going to be important and it was Pools who nabbed it. Persistent play from Kitching down the left earned him the chance to cross and when Kabamba saw his first header blocked by a defender, he reacted quickest to drive home the rebound.

For all the goal gave Pools hope, it was Town who stayed on top and Loach had to make a good save from Muldoon to prevent Simon Weaver’s men from restoring their two-goal advantage soon after.

Beck then came close to adding a third when a ball in to the box fell his way but half-time substitute Myles Anderson was in the right place to produce a good block.

There was no such luck for Pools on 68 minutes when Kerry found space away down the left wing and he picked out Beck with a deep cross and his pinpoint header dropped in to the net via the underside of the cross bar.

Jake Cassidy had a half-chance to reduce the arrears but curled over from a tight angle but Loach had to make another couple of smart saves near the end as the game became stretched.

However, there was no further breakthrough at either end and it finished 3-1 – Town ending a run of five without a win but Pools slumping to another disappointing defeat.

Full Time: Harrogate Town 3 Pools 1

Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Fallowfield, Falkingham, Howe, Burrell, Thomson, Emmett (Knowles 82), Beck (Williams 90), Kerry, Muldoon (Woods 79), Kitching.
Subs not used: Leesley, Cracknell.

Booked: Beck.

Pools: Loach, Richardson, Raynes, Magnay (Anderson 46), Kitching, James (Hawkes 63), Donaldson, Featherstone (Kioso 59), Molyneux, Cassidy, Kabamba.
Subs not used: Amos, Muir.

Attendance: 2,000 (725 Pools fans).

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