Opening Day Defeat For Pools

Gime Toure, Hartlepool United

Pools were left to pay the price for a slow start to the game today as a nervy first-half display saw Craig Hignett’s men fall two goals behind.

Gime Toure grabbed a goal back on the stroke of half-time which inspired a much-improved second-half display from his side.

But Pools failed to find the equaliser and it was Sutton who grabbed the next goal, making it 3-1 deep into added time at the end of the game.

After a lively start from the visitors, they opened the scoring after just seven minutes as a break down the right saw the ball played into the middle and Harry Beautyman sent a glancing header past Ben Killip and into the far top corner of the net.

Despite a stressful morning of travel up to the North East for Sutton, the started the game strongly as Pools struggled to really find their stride in the opening half.

Nicke Kabamba had the first real chance for Hignett’s side on 12 minutes when he sent a low drive at goal from the edge of the box but his effort bounced against the bottom of the post and back into play.

Sutton made their pressure count on 23 minutes when Beautyman got his second goal; another break down the right opened Pools up and the cross into the box was met by Beautyman who finished across goal and into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

While Pools did start to see a bit more of the ball as the half progressed, they struggled to put any real flow together and could find no way past the Sutton back line.

Aaron Jarvis fired in a shot from distance as he looked to catch Pools out just before the half-hour mark but saw his shot go over the bar.

And the lively Tom Bolarinwa, who caused Pools real problems in the first half, went for goal on 44 minutes with a decent effort but Killip held the shot.

With Pools looking set to go in two goals down at the break, a strong push upfield saw former Sutton man Gime Toure pick up the ball and fire a great finish past Jamie Butler on the stroke of half time to make it 2-1.

Hignett’s side came out much brighter after half-time, pressing the visitors from the off and dominating the opening ten minutes, with Sutton battling to get out of their own half.

Crichlow-Noble sent a good cross in from the left that picked out Luke James in the box but the striker sent his shot wide of the near post.

The pace slowed slightly after an intense opening to the second half but Pools looked much more composed and showed more intent going forward.

Kabamba picked up the ball inside the area and tried to squeeze a shot inside the near post on 73 minutes but his effort went just wide.

Pools put together a good break following a Sutton corner, but after good work by Liam Noble, Jason Kennedy saw his final shot blocked by the keeper.

Hignett’s side were a totally different prospect in this second half, really dominating possession in a performance that just lacked that final ball to break through for the equaliser.

With five minutes added time, Pools had a bit longer to look for that second goal and Fraser Kerr went close as he rose well to meet a Noble corner in from the left but the defender’s header went just wide of the far post.

As Pools threw everything at goal, it was Sutton who broke away to grab the next goal as Will Randal hit home to make it 3-1.

Full Time: Pools 1 Sutton United 3

Attendance: 3812 (70 Sutton United)

Booked: Crichlow-Noble (43)

Pools: Killip, Richardson (Featherstone 70), Kerr, Raynes, Crichlow-Noble (Kitching 80), Mafuta, Kennedy, Noble, Toure (Holohan 83), James, Kabamba.
Subs Not Used: Bale, Cunningham.

Sutton United: Butler, Bennett, Barden, Goodliffe (Matsuzaka 90), Collins, Bolarinwa (Ajiboye 59), Davis, Beautyman, Randal, Milson, Jarvis (Bugiel 85).
Subs Not Used: Dudzinski, Dundas.