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Match Reports

Match report: Pools beat Aldershot on the opening day

3 October 2020

Match Reports

Match report: Pools beat Aldershot on the opening day

3 October 2020

Hartlepool United left it late to get off to a winning start – and send Aldershot home disappointed.

Gavan Holohan headed in an 86th minute winner, to see off a Shots side who came into the game second-half and could count themselves unfortune to be beaten.

Pools took the lead with a first-half penalty, before being pegged back by Ross Tanner's neat breakaway finish before Holohan's finish.

Relieved Pools' boss Dave Challinor said: “First half was good and positive. We learn that on a different day we should have finished the game off earlier. Second half was more realistic to how this league is. They were trying to stop us and we have to be better.

“We take confidence from winning, but let our standards drop a little bit.

“The energy in the first-half was good. We have worked hard pre-season and we have a way we want to play – different to what was previously asked of in a more expansive way.

“The result and last weekend winning like we did at Gateshead gave me confidence and the players believe in what we are trying to do. It's brought a feeling of excitement about the place.”

David Parkhouse, signed on loan from Sheffield United, twice went close as he bundled chances wide from six yards. 

Pools put the Shots under plenty of first-half pressure without harming the opposition who did look suspect at the back.

Goalkeeper Mitchell Walker was happy to grab the ball on the line after Holohan's shot spun up, while at the other end Ben Killip made a fine block to deny Toby Edser after a swift break by the Shots.

Pools took the lead on 36 minutes from the spot. David Ferguson's cross from the left saw Holohan felled by Alex Finney and midfielder Featherstone stroked home without fuss.

Holohan danced his way into area and curled his finish over the bar when he should have made it two.

The Shots were more positive after the break and started to push Pools back more as they played higher up the pitch to close down the opposition.

And they were level on 65 minutes. Gary Liddle lost the ball as he stepped out of defence and a swift pass in behind the defence played in Craig Tanner, who neatly clipped the ball home one on one.

The Shots were playing with more determination and vigour across the pitch and two firm and committed defensive blocks kept Pools out. 

They could do nothing, however, about Pools' winner on 86 minutes.

Skipper Donaldson drove into space on the left and his cross was met by Holohan, who directed his header down into the net. 

Pools were able to hold on the last few minutes and earn a well deserved first victory in the opening weekend of the National League season.

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