Pools Come From Two Down To Draw

Hartlepool United v Boreham Wood

Second half goals from Nicky Featherstone and Gime Toure helped Pools come from 2-0 down against Boreham Wood to rescue a point during Dave Challinor’s first home game in charge.

The visitors looked all set to earn their first-ever win over Pools when a first half penalty from Sorba Thomas was added to by a clinical finish from Kabongo Tshimanga after the break.

However, Featherstone rifled Pools back in to contention with a sweet left-footed strike twenty minutes from time before Toure came off the bench to net a penalty and level things up.

It was the visitors who got out of the blocks quickest and they forced Pools on to the back foot during the early stages, the dangerous Tshimanga coming close with an effort blocked wide by Michael Raynes.

As the game reached the quarter-hour mark, Challinor’s men began to get a foothold and almost snatched the lead. A flowing move saw the ball delivered to Gavan Holohan on the left of the box but the in-form midfielder’s first touch let him down and his stabbed effort was blocked by keeper Nathan Ashmore.

Luke James turned smartly to engineer a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box but his low drive back across goal zipped just wide of the upright.

On 26 minutes the visitors stole in front. Kane Smith got forward well from wing-back and as he cut the ball back across from the byline he was caught by Raynes and the referee pointed for a penalty. Thomas made no mistake from twelve yards.

It could even have been 2-0 on the half hour when Thomas turned provider on the left but his whipped cross was headed against the outside of the front post by Tyrone Marsh.

There was an extraordinary moment just afterwards when a ball across the box caused panic in The Wood rearguard and Nicke Kabamba looked odds-on to level but Ashmore did enough to block the shot with the goal gaping – though photos of the incident did seem to suggest the ball may have crossed the line.

Raynes steered a volley just wide from a corner for Pools, while Tshimanga drilled another half-chance just off-target before the break.

Pools could have been on level terms within four minutes of the restart when they streamed forward to catch Boreham Wood on the break but, when Mark Kitching’s early cross was headed away, Featherstone could only fire a follow-up over.

The Wood took advantage of the let-off and found the net themselves seconds later. Pools sat-off on the edge of the box and that allowed Justin Shaibu to slip a neat ball through for Tshimanga and he clipped it over the advancing Ben Killip and in to the net for 3-2.

Challinor responded with a double change as Toure and Aaron Cunnningham came on in place Gus Mafute and Raynes, while Josh Hawkes was introduced not long afterwards as Pools moved to a four at the back.

It got the reaction he wanted too. Ryan Donaldson did well to feed the ball in to the path of the brilliant Featherstone twenty yards out and he shifted it on to his left foot before hitting an unerring drive which was past Ashmore practically before he’d had a chance to dive.

Not only did that bring Pools back in to the game but it also brought the crowd back to the fore and the noise levels increased as the home side sensed a chance to capitalise on the shift in momentum.

More risks were taken at the back and there was some hairy moments as Pools pressed forward – a brilliant challenge from Kioso denied Thomas a second goal while Killip then made an incredible reaction save ten minutes from time when it looked all set to go 3-1.

It proved a pivotal moment. Just 60 seconds later Pools roared up to the other end and won a penalty when Kitching arrived on the blind side of Marsh who fouled him. Toure held his nerve to rifle home from the spot and suddenly Pools’ thoughts shifted to the possibility of three points.

Hawkes cheekily tried to chip Ashmore from fifty yards when the keeper was caught needlessly off his line but the midfielder got his angle wrong and the attempt sailed wide.

Ashmore then palmed out a low cross from James in to the middle of his area but there was nobody in a blue shirt in the right place to capitalise and the visitors cleared.

James could have won it himself deep in injury time when he got on the end of a tantalising Kitching cross to the far post but the front man nodded just wide and the game finished level.

Full Time: Pools 2 Boreham Wood 2

Pools: Killip, Kioso, Raynes (Cunningham 59), Kerr, Donaldson, Mafuta (Toure 59), Featherstone, Kitching, Holohan (Hawkes 66), James, Kabamba.
Subs not used: Kennedy, Muir.

Booked: Kioso, Featherstone.

Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Ilesanmi, Stephens, Murtagh, Champion, Smith, Ricketts, Thomas, Shaibu (Shakes 87), Marsh, Tshimanga.
Subs not used: Woodards, Mingoia, Fyfield, Thompson.

Booked: Ashmore, Smith, Thomas.

Attendance: 3,377.

Referee: Karl Evans.