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Match report: Pools claim a point

22 January 2022

Nicky Featherstone produced a screamer to end Hartlepool United’s wait for a goal - but it only provided a point for Pools in a 1-1 draw with Stevenage.

Having fallen behind to a 70th-minute Luke Norris penalty at the Suit Direct Stadium, Featherstone came to the home team’s rescue.

The skipper, the last Pools player to score in League Two back on Boxing Day, sent a stunner into the top corner in the 77th minute to grab a deserved point for Graeme Lee’s team who had gone six hours without an EFL goal.

Pools began at a lively pace, getting the ball into the Borough box on 34 seconds, only for referee Martin Coy to penalise the recalled Mark Cullen (in for the absent Marcus Carver) for a foul on keeper Christy Pym.

The Stevenage stopper then had his gloves stung by a long-range shot by Mark Shelton, who had also returned to the starting XI.

But the bright start soon evaporated and while there was no lack of effort from either side, a lot of the passing was going astray.

Pools were not getting enough ball into the box from wide areas but when they did, they threatened in the 19th minute.

David Ferguson’s cross from the left found Ogle in a good position, but the Aussie fired wide of Pym’s left-post from 12 yards.

Ogle had the best opening of the first period on 38 minutes, following good work by Nicky Featherstone, but he blazed his shot into the Morrisons carpark.

Stevenage arrived at the Suit Direct Stadium in good nick after something of a revival under Paul Tisdale, taking nine points from a possible 24 thanks to two wins and three draws in his eight games in charge.

But Borough presented few dangers going forward with midfielder Jake Reeves and experienced striker Luke Norris firing wide of Ben Killip’s left stick from the edge of the area 

The second half followed a similar pattern though Borough had a good chance when it opened up for Zaine Westbrooke but his tame shot trickled straight to Killip.

There was a brief moment of excitement on the hour when Cullen got the better of the keeper near the by-line but his hot from a narrow angle was just wide of the goalie’s left-hand upright.

Lee made his first change in the 62nd minute, sending on Joe Grey for Gavan Holohan.

But it all went horribly wrong for Pools when Gary Liddle brought down Borough sub Jamie Reid on the by-line at the Town End.

Norris stepped up and thumped his penalty high into Killip's top-left corner.

Pools built up a head of steam, finally, and it paid off with Featherstone’s screamer.

There was a nice involvement from Grey but the finish into the keeper's top-right corner was something else from the captain from the edge of the box.

Pools were now in the ascendancy and Shelton tried his luck from range without threatening.

Pools: Killip; Byrne, Liddle (Olomola 73), Odusina; Ogle, Featherstone, Shelton (Crawford 90), Holohan (Grey 62), Ferguson; Molyneux, Culllen. Subs (not used): Boyes, Hendrie, Hull, Smith

Goal: Featherstone 77

Stevenage: Pym; James-Wilden, Cuthbert (Upson 79), Prosser, Coker; Taylor, Reeves, Vancooten, Lines, Westbrooke (Reid 64); Norris (Carter 84). Subs (not used): Andrade, O'Neill, Walker 

Goal: Norris (pen) 70

Referee: Martin Coy

Att: 4,841 (away 68)


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