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Match report: We snatch a point in Askey's first fixture

25 February 2023

Club News

Match report: We snatch a point in Askey's first fixture

25 February 2023

New boss John Askey saw never-say-die Hartlepool United score twice in a sensational stoppage time comeback to snatch a 3-3 draw with Walsall.

Pools were trailing 3-1 at the Suit Direct Stadium when referee Darren Drysdale gave the hosts their second penalty of the afternoon in the final minute when Connor Jennings was fouled.

Dan Kemp stepped up and thumped his spot-kick into the keeper’s bottom left corner.

The drama was not over and in the second minute of added time, Walsall could not clear a David Ferguson free-kick from the left and Jennings nodded in from close range.

To add to the delight of nicking a point at the death, relegation rivals Crawley Town were beaten 5-2 at home by Carlisle United 

Askey made three changes in his first team selection, including bringing back skipper Nicky Featherstone, while there were starts for Jack Hamilton and Brendan Kiernan.

Hamilton came in up top for the injured Josh Umerah, while Kiernan was right wing-back, which allowed Ferguson to resume in his favoured left slot.

Pools were almost 1-0 down in 10 seconds but Jakub Stolarczyk made two stunning stops to foil Knowles.

After the heart-in-the-mouth start, Pools got on the front foot with Kiernan going wide with a tame shot.

The crossbar came to Pools rescue when Brandon Comely hit it with a lovely left-foot effort.

Walsall looked set to score after Peter Hartley slipped, but Edon Pruti made a great block on Isaac Hutchinson with the attacking midfielder through on goal.

Dan Kemp, unfortunately, proved he is not as good with his right foot as his left after firing wildly over after getting on the end of a Ferguson pass.

Walsall had had the better of the first half and went ahead on 31 minutes as Comely made a fine run forward and found Knowles who turned and scored from 12 yards.

At 1-0, all was still to play for in the second half, but the Sadlers doubled their lead in the 49th minute.

Walsall broke on the left with Hutchinson finishing with a cracking right-foot shot into the keeper's top right corner.

Pools though were handed a lifeline when referee Darren Drysdale ruled that Hamilton had been dragged down in the box.

Keeper Owen Evans dived to his left, but Kemp stuck it down his right side to get Pools back in it.

Soon after, Hamilton could only get a tame header at goal following a Kemp free-kick as Pools looked for an equaliser.

But when the next goal came out went the way of Walsall in the 72nd minute.

Pools had to change two of their central defenders through injury with Mouhamed Niang and Matty Dolan replacing Taylor Foran and Peter Hartley.

And when Niang slipped in the box it allowed Stevens the time and space to advance and pick his spot to beat Stolarczyk.

The contest looked like petering out into a 3-1 defeat but step forward Kemp and Jennings top snatch a point.

Pools: Stolarczyk; Foran (Niang 58), Hartley (Dolan 70), Pruti; Kiernan, Sylla, Featherstone (Finney 79), Ferguson; Kemp; Jennings, Hamilton (Clarke 79). Subs (not used): Killip, McDonald, Grey

Goal: Kemp 56 pen, 90+1 pen, Jennings 90+2

Booked: Sylla 80

Walsall: Evans; White, Daniel, Monthe; Wilmott (Low 90), Comely, Songo’o (Kinsella 76), Allen; Hutchinson; Stevens (Williams 80), Knowles (James-Taylor 90). Subs (not used): Riley, McEntee, Gordon

Goal: Knowles 33, Hutchinson 49, Stevens 72

Booked: Monthe 61, Knowles 89

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Att: 4,418 (away 340)

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