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Match Reports

Featherstone At Double In Magpies Win

22 February 2020

Nicky Featherstone scored twice in the second half as Pools

defeated Notts County 2-0 to celebrate a fourth successive home win and move within

a point of the play-off places.

The midfielder's speculative delivery from the left-hand

side deceived County keeper Joe McDonnell just a minute in to the second period

to give Pools the lead.

And Featherstone was celebrating the first brace of his

senior career just before the hour-mark when his wicked delivery from a

free-kick wide on the left flashed across the box and in to the net.

In truth, the result was nothing more than Pools had

deserved – the only surprise was that they took so long to underline their

dominance with the opening goal after smothering their visitors from the first

whistle.

The game was only a minute old when Mark Kitching

intercepted a sloppy pass inside his own half before charging right in to The

Magpies penalty area to tee up Gime Toure who saw his shot blocked out to Ryan

Donaldson who fired over.

That set the tone for a half of one-way traffic as Pools

settled in the blustery conditions much better than Neal Ardley's men, who had

lost just once in thirteen outings prior to their visit to The Vic.

Luke Molyneux then seized on another loose pass to test

McDonnell from distance, while Rob Harker was also denied by the keeper when he

met Mark Shelton's cross with a firm header.

Kyle Wootton wastefully blazed over from County's best

opening of the half before Pools came close to netting first through Molyneux –

whose shot was blocked – and then through Timi Odusina, who nodded wide from

the resultant corner.

Harker had another shot blocked and Shelton volleyed a

decent effort just too high as Pools continued to dominate and the visitors struggled

to get a foothold – though they did make it to the break without conceding.

However, there was only sixth seconds on the clock in the second

period when Featherstone hung a cross on top of the keeper from the left but

McDonnell got caught underneath it and it swung beyond his despairing finger-tips

to make it 1-0.

Toure then danced in to the area down the left to feed a

ball across to Donaldson but the skipper could only angle his first-time shot

across goal and wide.

It was 2-0 on 58 minutes when Pools were awarded a free-kick

on the left. Featherstone whipped a dangerous free-kick towards the far post

and it flashed right across the area and flew in to the far corner unaided.

After that, Challinor's side were in almost total control.

Whilst County enjoyed periods of possession, they rarely threatened to find a

route in to the game – thanks in no small part to Pools' defending, which was

packed with determination and desire.

Molyneux and Shelton both had opportunities to have extended

the lead further, while a brilliant run from Macauley Southam-Hales deserved

better but nobody could get on the end of his low ball.

The win was enough to move Pools just a point outside the

top seven in what is an extremely congested National League table – but a

fourth win in row at home and a third clean sheet in four has helped build some

momentum and, perhaps more importantly, belief.

Full Time: Pools2 Notts County 0

Pools: Killip, Southam-Hales, Odusina, Liddle, Kitching, Featherstone, Shelton, Donaldson, Molyneux (Holohan 88), Toure (Keena 82), Harker (Mafuta 64).
Subs not used: Anderson, Hawkes.

Notts County: McDonnell, Rawlinson, Kelly-Evans, Doyle, Brindley, Long, Rose (Crawford 81), Roberts (Osborne 82), Wootton, Boldewijn, Dennis (O'Brien 46).
Subs not used: Bird, Bagan.

Attendance: 3,839(422 Notts County).

Referee: BenSpeedie.


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