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Harrogate Town 3 – 2 Hartlepool United

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Town came back from 2-0 down to defeat Hartlepool United and progress into the second round of the F A Trophy.

Simon Weaver rang the changes in the Town starting line up, giving Joe Cracknell a start in goal and relegating James Belshaw and Josh Falkingham to the subs bench.

The lively Hartlepool side took a tenth minute lead when Mark Kitching swung a cross to the far post and the unmarked Tyler Hamilton netted from close range.

Town hit back strongly and Pool’s veteran keeper Dimi Konstantopolous,belied his fortyone years when he flung himself across his goal to keep out George Thomson’s shot from twentyfive yards.

Town were finding it hard to get out of second gear and almost slipped further behind when Hamilton curled a shot just wide of the far post.

A break from Brendan Kiernan ended with him playing in Jon Stead,but the tall striker shot across goal.

With five minutes of the half left,Town were given a route back into the game when Kitching brought down Kiernan inside the penalty area.

Stead took the spot kick but Konstantopolous dived the right way and beat the ball away and keep his goal intact.

Town were soon punished for their profligacy,when on the stroke of half time,Josh Hawkes sent Ryan Donaldson clear and although Cracknell got a hand to his drive,the ball still trickled into the net.

In his post match interview,Simon Weaver admitted that he had read the riot act at the break and he replaced Ryan Fallowfield and Jack Diamond with Scott Brown and Jack Emmett respectively.

Although Town improved in the second half and Alex Bradley forced the visiting keeper into making  a save, they were making little impression on the Pool’s defence and it appeared to be just a question of Pools playing out time.

However,on 77minutes,Town pulled a goal back when Peter Kioso sliced a low cross from Mitch Hancox into his own net.

This galvanised the home crowd and Town pushed forward and scored an equaliser with two minutes of normal time left.

The Pools defence failed to deal with a right wing corner and Connor Hall hit a left-footed drive into the net.

The stoical crowd that had endured atrocious weather conditions, began to prepare themselves for extra time and possibly a penalty shot out,but the game still had a twist in the tail.

Pools threatened when sub,Gime Toure,shot into the side netting,but from the goal kick Emmett and Kiernan forced Fraser Kerr to balloon his attempted clearance high into the air and Konstantopolous made a hash of his punch, leaving Kiernan free to walk the ball into the net.

So Town wait for Monday’s draw with eager anticipation,while Pools must wonder how they managed to lose after looking home and dry.

As Jimmy Greaves used to say,”It’s a funny old game,Saint”.

Town,

Cracknell,Fallowfield(Emmett 45),W Smith,Hall,Hancox,Kerry,Bradley,Thomson(Muldoon 71),Kiernan,Diamond(Brown 45),Stead.

Unused subs,Belshaw,G Smith,Falkingham.

Scorers,Kioso o g,Hall 86,Kiernan 90+3

Hartlepool United,

Konstantopolous,Kioso,Kitching,Kerr,Donaldson,Featherstone,Kabamba(Chrichlow-Noble),Hawkes(Toure 45),Matuta,Richardson,Hamilton,Kennedy.

Unused subs,Shelton,Beeney.

Scorers,Hamilton 10,Donaldson 45.              Att.803(inc 289 away)

Referee,Andrew Miler               Town,Man of the Match,Kiernan

By John Harrison


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