Harrogate Town enjoyed a third victory over Pools inside three
weeks as a second half goal from Jon Stead was enough to give them all three
The North Yorkshire outfit knocked Pools out of the FA
Trophy last month and followed it up with a Boxing Day win at The CNG Stadiumbefore grinding out a 1-0 triumph at The Vic.
Dave Challinor opted to make two changes to his line-up with
Mitchell Beeney handed a debut in goal and Michael Raynes restored to defence,
while Luke Molyneux was named on the bench as he continues his recovery fromankle surgery.
The game wasn't much of a spectacle for fans of either side with
chances at a premium during a largely scrappy affair which was never as open asthe previous two contests.
Mark Shelton lashed a long-range free-kick over the bar,
while Stead snatched at a half-chance at the other end as the two sides mis-firedtheir way through the first half.
Gime Toure almost came up with a bit of magic after Beeney's
long clearance had been expertly pulled down by Nicke Kabamba but the Frenchman'spowerful drive flew in to the side netting.
Jack Muldoon was denied by some excellent last-ditch
defending by Gary Liddle, while the loan star also did well to get in the wayof a Warren Burrell drive as Town pressed for the opener.
Challinor withdrew Toure at the break and threw on Mark
Kitching down the left – and the Pools team came out to start the second halfwith the bit between their teeth.
They got on the front foot and began causing problems for
their visitors but Stead flashed an effort too high on the counter-attack asthey reminded Pools of their danger on the break.
Pools almost stole in front on 56 minutes when a corner was
fizzed in from the left but Raynes couldn't get a firm enough contact on theball and it flashed across goal and wide of the far post.
A minute later Town went in front. A move down the right-hand
side freed Jack Emmett in to space and his low ball across the six-yard area wasbundled home by Stead.
Molyneux was introduced alongside Tyler Hamilton with 15 minutes
remaining as Pools looked for a route back in to the game and it almost paid
dividends when some good football saw the ball land at Molyneux's feet but hiscurling effort from the right of the area dropped wide.
Connor Hall came close to doubling Harrogate's lead eight
minutes from time when his low drive had Beeney scrambling but it scraped thebase of the post on its way wide.
Town saw the game out relatively comfortably though there
was a moment of concern right at the death when the struggled to clear a ball
in to the box but Kabamba's prodded effort was gratefully collected by keeperJames Belshaw.
Full Time: Pools0 Harrogate Town 1
Pools: Beeney, Kioso, Raynes (Molyneux 75), Liddle, Richardson, Featherstone, Holohan, Shelton (Hamilton 75), Donaldson, Toure (Kitching 46), Kabamba.
Subs not used: Kerr, Mafuta.
Harrogate Town: Belshaw, Bradley, Hall, W Smith, Burrell, Falkingham, Kerry, Emmett (Kiernan 80), Diamond, Stead (Beck 77), Muldoon.
Subs not used: Cracknell, G Smith, Thomson.
Attendance: 3,481 (179 Harrogate).
Referee: Andrew Kitchen.