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 points at Victoria Park on New Year’s Day.
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 Stadium before 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 from ankle 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 as the 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-fired their 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’s powerful 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 way of 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 half with 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 as they 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 the ball 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 was bundled 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 his curling 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 the base 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 keeper James Belshaw.
Full Time: Pools 0 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.