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Match Reports

Hignett's Pools Pick Up Three Points

26 January 2019

Nicke Kabamba celebrates his goal S Ludlow (Shutter Press)
Nicke Kabamba celebrates his goal against Braintree Town.

Goals from Nicke Kabamba and Josh Hawkes saw Craig Hignett get his new reign as Pools boss off to a winning start.

Braintree Town took the lead late in the first half but Pools fired back quickly after the break when Kabamba headed home. 

And when Pools were awarded a penalty on the hour mark, Josh Hawkes stepped up confidently to fire home the winner. 

The visitors had the first of the chances this afternoon, with Luke Allen firing over after just four minutes and Rob Atkinson heading over from a freekick shortly after.

A Josh Hawkes freekick gave Pools the first glimpse of goal on seven minutes but the ball flashed across the area, with Nicke Kabamba just unable to put the finishing touch on it.

With less than ten minutes gone, the lively Justin Amaluzor fired in a real warning shot, sending a low effort at goal that took a slight deflection to send it against the post and out.

Braintree remained a threat going forward, with Pools showing signs of nerves at the back in the first half.

But Hignett’s side looked bright going forward and played some decent attacking football; Nicky Featherstone intercepted to set up Josh Hakwes from distance but his shot went high over the bar.

Luke Molyneux was a threat down the right for Pools on a couple of occasions, opening things up and setting up shots on goal.

The on-loan winger pushed down the right to cut in and fire in his own powerful drive on goal, only to be denied by Ben Killip in the visiting goal, with a save down to his left.

Molyneux then linked up with Danny Amos in the box to fire in a volley on goal which was bravely blocked out by the defender for a corner.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring through, taking the lead on 39 minutes when Amaluzor finished neatly into the far corner of the net. A freekick just outside of the box was blocked by the Pools wall but it was the visitors who reacted first, lifting the ball over the onrushing Pools players and into the area when Amaluzor made no mistake with his finish to make it 1-0.

So Pools went into the break a goal down but having shown enough to suggest the points were still there to play for.

A change at the break saw Luke James introduced to the action and the energetic forward made a real impact in the second half.

With 52 minutes on the clock, Pools were level as a cross into the box from Danny Amos set the battling Kabamba away and his diving header put the ball past Killip and into the net to make it 1-1. The striker made a big impression on the home fans this afternoon with his non-stop hard work and determination.

Just seven minutes later and it was 2-1 to Hignett’s side; great work from half-time sub Luke James saw him skip past the keeper and deep into the box. When he squared the ball for Kabamba to roll into the empty net, the big striker was flattened by a combination of two defenders and the referee pointed to the spot.

Josh Hawkes stepped up confidently to take the penalty and fired it calmly past Killip and into the middle of the net to give his side the lead.

A corner from Molyneux on 79 minutes gave Pools their best chance of a third as it picked out Ryan Donaldson at the near post but his glancing header put the ball just wide of the target.

And while there were few more chances on goal in the second half, Pools worked hard for the win and deserved the three points to get Hignett's managerial role off to a winning start.

Full Time: Pools 2 Braintree Town 1

Attendance: 2769 (25 Braintree Town)

Booked: Kabamba (42), Anderson (72)

Pools: Loach, Richardson (James 46), Kioso, Raynes, Anderson, Amos (Kitching 73), Featherstone, Donaldson, Molyneux, Hawkes, Kabamba (Cassidy 82).
Subs Not Used: Catterick, Muir.

Braintree Town: Killips, Eleftheriou, Lyons-Foster, Gabriel, Atkinson, Allen, Richards (Della-Verde 62) James, Rowe (Barrington 74), Morton, Amaluzor.
Subs Not Used: Matsuzaka, Allen, Sagaf.

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