Antony Sweeney enjoyed a dream debut as caretaker boss as
goals from Josh Hawkes, Gavan Holohan and Nicke Kabamba swept Pools to victory
Hawkes' early goal set the tone for Pools and the midfielder
even missed a first half penalty, though Town also had chances and Ben Killipneeded to make two good saves.
However, Pools turned the screw in the final quarter of an
hour when Holohan climbed off the bench to prod a second before turningprovided for Kabamba in injury-time.
Sweeney had opted to make two changes to the line-up for the
trip to Hampshire, restoring Nicke Kabamba to the attack and handing a start toHawkes in a midfield three.
It was the hosts who got straight on the front foot and
began knocking the ball around with confidence, no doubt gained following theirmidweek win over Dover Athletic.
However, for all their domination of possession, it was
Pools who grabbed an early lead when some hesitation at the back allowed Hawkes
to drive at The Shots defence before cutting inside on his right foot to finishlow under the keeper with just four minutes gone.
The goal knocked Town out of their stride and it could have
been 2-0 inside fifteen minutes when Hawkes' wicked cross from the right was
met by Michael Raynes in the middle but his low effort was well blocked bykeeper Mitch Walker.
The shock of almost conceding a second prompted a swift
counter from the home side and the dangerous Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong escapedthrough one-on-one with Ben Killip but slipped his low shot wide of the post.
Killip had work to do a few minutes later when centre-back
Max Hunt found some space twenty-five yards out to shoot and his low effort was
excellently saved by the Pools keeper, who then sprung to his feet to claim therebound.
There was then a glorious chance for Pools to double their
advantage when Ryan Donaldson was chopped down just inside the box but Walker
guessed right and was able to parry Hawkes' tame penalty away and the home sidesurvived.
Killip had to spring athletically to his right just before
half-time to keep out Berkeley-Agyepong's header after some inventive football downthe right wing from the hosts.
The home side came out with renewed vigour at the start of
the second half and only a perfect last-ditch tackle from Peter Kioso denied EthanChislett the chance to score when he looked odds on to level things up.
There was an even better chance on 55 minutes when Lewis Kinsella's
vicious cross from the left picked out Mo Bettamer in the centre but the frontman somehow managed to lift his effort over the bar from five yards out.
Pools countered quickly and Hawkes let fly with a powerful
drive which Walker did well to parry and the young midfielder couldn't quitemake anything of the rebound.
Shamir Mullings should have done better when an inswinging
cross found him free twelve yards from goal but his side-foot volley wasstraight down Killip's throat.
The introduction of Luke James and Gavan Holohan gave Pools
another dimension during the final twenty minutes – indeed, Holohan had been on
the pitch little over five minutes when he poked in the decisive second goal. James
took Killip's long kick down in to his stride with an exquisite first touch
before feeding it on to Kabamba down the right and his low cross was met by theIrishman and was past Walker in a flash.
Raynes could have added the third when he met a corner from
the right but his header flashed across goal and wide as a hint of a swaggerbegan to show in Pools' performance.
And the final touch of gloss was added in injury-time when
Holohan got away down the right to return the favour for Kabamba who slid in atfront post to connect with the low cross and make it 3-0.
Full Time: Aldershot Town 0 Pools 3
Aldershot Town: Walker, Tinkler, Lyons-Foster, Hunt, Kinsella, Powell, Berkeley-Agyepong (Eyoma 84), Santos, Chislett (Shields 84), Mullings (Rance 75), Bettamer.
Subs not used: Whittingham, Finney.
Pools: Killip, Kioso, Kerr, Raynes, Kitching, Mafuta, Featherstone, Donaldson (Kennedy 90), Hawkes (Holohan 75), Toure (James 66), Kabamba.
Subs not used: Richardson, Cunningham.
Booked: Mafuta (24).
Attendance: 2,768 (188 Pools).