Notts County and Hartlepool United shared the points in a close encounter at Meadow Lane on Saturday, a result which saw Notts remain 7th and Pools drop to 13th in the National League. The Magpies now boast a home unbeaten run of nine games.
A Wes Thomas brace for Notts and goals from Gavan Holohan and Luke James for the visitors made this an entertaining match for the neutral, but one Hartlepool will be disappointed to have let slip.
Proceedings began before kick-off as the Magpies marked Remembrance Day with the Last Post and a minute’s silence in honour of the club’s former chairman, Jack Dunnett. Dunnett brought legendary manager Jimmy Sirrel to Meadow Lane in November 1969 and oversaw three promotions from the Fourth Division to the First Division from 1971 to 1981. Dunnett was also elected as President of the Football League from 1981-86 and 1988-89.
Sean Shields came in for Regan Booty after Notts’ 4-0 win at Woking in midweek, as Notts faced an unchanged Pools side which went ahead after eight minutes. A cross from the right was headed away, but only as far as GAVAN HOLAHAN whose shot deflected off Ben Turner and past Sam Slocombe at his near post. Notts 0 – 1 Hartlepool.
Notts enjoyed the lion’s share of possession early-doors but everything seemed to break down on the edge of the area and the visitors looked dangerous on the counter. Luke James plucked a long ball out of the sky well, but pulled his shot just wide of the post.
Goalscorer Holohan brought Sean Shields down on the left; the free-kick narrowly missed Ben Turner who was flagged offside anyway.
Connell Rawlinson almost put the ball into his own net at the Kop end as he put it behind for a corner. Play broke down after the delivery was cleared, Boldewijn being booked for a late tackle.
The visitors doubled their advantage on 42 minutes as Rawlinson slipped and LUKE JAMES stole onto the loose ball, turning inside Ben Turner before picking his spot past Slocombe. Notts 0 – Hartlepool.
The hosts pulled one back right before the interval as WES THOMAS trickled one over the line from a tricky angle as Ben Killip and Fraser Kerr tried to beat the forward to it. Notts 1 – 2 Hartlepool.
HALF-TIME: NOTTS COUNTY 1 – 2 HARTLEPOOL UNITED
James curled one past Slocombe’s far post on 52 and Kioso ran onto a ball out wide five minutes later as Donaldson allowed it to nutmeg him; the right-back’s shot was saved well by Slocombe at his near side.
Half-time substitute Regan Booty retook his place in midfield from Sean Shields and spread the ball out wide for Damien McCrory. The Irishman’s second cross found WES THOMAS who headed home for his second of the day. Notts 2 – 2 Hartlepool.
Gus Mafuta looked largely comfortable in possession throughout but gave the ball away to Boldewijn on 73. The winger set Mitch Rose but his shot from 25 yards was saved by Killip. Ben Turner’s header was comfortably claimed from the corner.
Jason Kennedy replaced Ryan Donaldson on 80 minutes and joined Michael Raynes as the second former Carlisle United player on the pitch for Pools.
Richard Brindley put the ball in from the right, Wootton might have got a nick on it but Wes Thomas slipped and put his shot well over the bar on the slide.
Notts had the ball in the net on 89 minutes through Kyle Wootton but he was adjudged to be offside after poking home a rebound from Kristian Dennis’ shot.
On balance, a draw was probably a fair result as Notts grew into proceedings but Hartlepool’s early two-goal advantage proved a bridge too far.
FULL-TIME: NOTTS COUNTY 2 – 2 HARTLEPOOL UNITED