Pools Slip To Shay Stadium Defeat

Nicke Kabamba, FC Halifax Town v Hartlepool United

Hartlepool United suffered their second consecutive defeat of the new season after going down 2-0 to new National League leaders Halifax Town.

After a goalless first half, the home side struck twice after the interval.

Midfielder Josh Staunton gave the Shaymen a 54th-minute lead after Ben Killip had saved from Jamie Allen before Tobi She-Silva doubled the advantage 14 minutes later after the Pools goalie had kept out Matt Brown’s header.

Pools were much improved on Saturday’s opening-day defeat by Sutton but they could not find the net.

Boss Craig Hignett made two changes at the Shay. One was enforced with Peter Kioso coming in for the injured Kenton Richardson, with Nicky Featherstone restored to the starting XI with Gime Toure moving down to the bench. Featherstone was the most advanced of the midfield as Pools made a bright start.

They were unlucky not to take a 12th-minute lead when nice build-up play set up Luke James whose powerful shot was blocked bravely by Matty Brown.

Both sides looked to get forward with Jeff King going wide for Halifax after a long run forward with Featherstone very high and wide with a long-range shot at the other end.

There was danger for Pools on 28 minutes when striker Tobi Sho-Silva put his effort over the bar after the visitors could not clear a Jeff King cross from the left.

Halifax were off target again in the 32nd minute, though not by much as Cameron King’s rasping drive went just over Ben Killip’s crossbar.

Pools were not shy going forward but Nicke Kabamba could not get to a great cross from the right by Kioso.Just before the break, Jeff King put his effort into the terrace behind Killip’s goal.

Soon after the re-start it was Cameron King taking aim, the number 10’s sweetly-struck low 30-yard drive going past Killip’s right stick.

The Shayman had enjoyed the better of the chances so it was no great shock they went ahead in the 54th minute.Allen broke clear to force a good save from Killip but the rebound fell invitingly for Staunton who simply could not miss.

Pools responded well to going behind with Kabamba wide with his left foot from outside the area and Mafuta firing over the  bar following a free-kick.

They went even closer on the hour when Noble’s shot deflected off Staunton onto the bar and out for Pools’ first corner.

Nothing came of the flag-kick but when Halifax were awarded a 68th-minute corner they doubled their advantage. Killip saved Brown’s bullet header but Sho-Silva was in the right place to tap in the loose ball.

Hignett made a double change, bringing on Toure and Gavan Holohan for Jason Kennedy and Featherstone.

Mafuta brought a save from Sam Johnson with a grass-cutter while Toure became the fifth away yellow-card when he was booked for diving.

Hignett introduced Luke Williams for his first appearance since his return to the club 12 months ago.

Toure and Kioso had late shots blocked as the Shamen hung on to their hard-won advantage to go top of the table.

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Duckworth, Clarke, Brown, Binnom-Williams; Staunton, Maher; J King, C King (Nolan 67); Williams (Allen 26); Sho-Silva (McAlinden 83)
Subs not used: Appleyard, Earing.

Goals: Staunton 54, Sho-Silva 68

Booked: J King 70

Pools: Killip; Kioso, Raynes, Kerr, Crichlow-Noble (Williams 83); Mafuta, Noble, Kennedy (Toure 69), Featherstone (Holohan 70); James, Kabamba
Subs not used: Kitching, Cunningham.

Booked: Kioso 12, Crichlow-Noble 33, Kennedy 45, Featherstone 61, Toure 75

Referee: Daniel Middleton

Attendance: 2,632 (574 Poolies)