Ryan Donaldson got the goal that sealed Pools’ progression to the First Round of the FA Cup against a strong Brackley Town side.
Antony Sweeney, in caretaker charge this afternoon, saw his side put through their paces by the visitors who gave Pools no respite from first minute to last.
Brackley Town gave Pools a real test in the first half as they pressed from the off, and gave the hosts little time on the ball when chasing possession.
Matt Lowe was a real threat down the right as he opened things up for his side on a few occasions early on.
Ben Killip had to be strong for Pools in the first half and he pulled off an important save on 13 minutes as he blocked a shot from Glenn Walker who had pushed through into the box.
Peter Kioso showed a touch of class down the right as he put in a lovely cross that picked out Nicke Kabamba waiting in the middle. His shot though was scuffed only as far as Gime Toure, who was ruled offside.
With 19 minutes on the clock, the visitors broke through Lee Ndlovu who played it up for James Armson, and he pushed forward to send a low shot through a crowded area, which was easy for Killip to collect.
Michael Raynes got up well to meet a corner in at the other end but his headed effort went just wide of the far post.
Pools saw their fair share of the ball too, and probably edged possession as the half progressed, but Brackley remained a threat.
Thierry Audel put a great block in on the half-hour mark to deny Pools a great goal; Toure started things off with a determined run down the left, before squaring in-field to Featherstone who passed on to Mafuta. And Gus showed great vision to thread a ball through for Kioso running in from the right but when the full back sent his pacy cross into the box, it was Audel who just got ahead to force it out.
Killip pulled off another save just after, getting down well to palm away a strike from the lively Lowe who had broken into the box.
The second half started more brightly, with an early shot from Raynes denied before the visitors went straight upfield and Fraser Kerr put in a last-ditch block to deny the shot.
Brackley Town were in determined mood and there was a let-off for Pools as Walker fired a powerful shot at goal that crashed against the post, and Killip then pulled off a strong save to deny Armson with the rebound.
They went close again shortly after as the visitors sent a headed effort from a corner just over the bar before the action switched ends.
Donaldson motored forward down the right before crossing in field for Kabamba, who saw his touch blocked out to the edge of the box where Mafuta smashed a shot at goal which was deflected wide.
Kioso put in a great last-minute touch to take the ball away from Armson inside the box, while Killip pulled off yet another save to deny the visitors as Ellis Myles tried his luck.
The breakthrough came on the hour mark and it was Pools who drew first blood; with a freekick 30 yards out on goal, Featherstone stepped up and played it short to Ryan Donaldson who sent a low effort through the area and past Danny Lewis into the bottom corner.
The goal settled things down a little for Pools who began to see more of the ball and Sweeney’s side dominated the next spell of possession, looking for that crucial second goal.
But the pressure wasn’t eased for too long as the determined visitors were soon back in their stride and trying to force the equaliser. And Pools had to remain alert until the very end of seven added minutes to make sure of the win against a battling Brackley side.
Pools were worked hard this afternoon for their place in the First Round of the FA Cup but it was a case of ‘job done’ for Antony Sweeney who saw his side get the much-needed win to progress.
Full Time: Pools 1 Brackley Town 0
Booked: Featherstone (39)
Attendance: 2506 (39 Brackley Town)
Pools: Killip, Kioso, Kerr, Raynes, Kitching, Featherstone, Mafuta (Kennedy 83), Donaldson, Hawkes (Holohan 63), Kabamba, Toure (James 71).
Subs Not Used: Bale, Muir, Richardson, Cunningham.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles (Daire 84), Franklin, Byrne, Audel, Dean, Lowe, Armson, Ndlovu (Holman 87), Baker (Fairlamb 66), Walker.
Subs Not Used: Worby, Murombedzi, Langmead, Noon.