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George Thomson’s first Town goal at the CNG Stadium was the highlight of a successful afternoon as Hartlepool United were beaten 2-1.
After an uneventful first 45, Dominic Knowles converted Ryan Fallowfield’s cross to put Town ahead, just seconds after James Belshaw had saved the visitors’ biggest chance through Rhys Oates.
Thomson then ensured Town would come out on top when he unleashed a thunderous strike into the bottom corner under ten minutes after the opener.
With almost the last kick of the game, Nicky Deverdicks gave Pools fans something positive to remember the game by as the second half substitute smashed a free kick in off the bar.
Simon Weaver made five changes to the team that started at Parkgate, including replacing Liam Agnew who suffered a fractured arm in the 1-0 win.
The home side started well and had the first shot on goal of the contest after a quarter of an hour as Jordan Thewlis’ effort was deflected wide following Simon Ainge’s flick on.
Thewlis was more involved than anyone on the pitch, and almost gave his side the lead with an ambitious effort after Pierson’s punch had sat up nicely for a volley, that in the end could not be kept down.
The winger then will be cursing his luck after Hartlepool’s stopper’s weak pass fell to the feet of Thewlis who could only divert the ball back into the grateful Pierson’s path.
The visitors had not offered much of an attacking threat in the first 45, but full back Liam Donnelly fired just over the cross bar with a fierce shot from 25 yards two minutes before the interval.
Hartlepool’s boss made five changes at the break in an attempt to spark his side into life, but only had Josh Hawkes’ wayward finish ten minutes after the restart to show for his tactical switch.
The visitors biggest chance yet then came from a Town mistake as Ben Parker’s pass intended for Warren Burrell fell to the feet of Rhys Oates, only for James Belshaw to deny the striker with his feet.
Prior to the chance Weaver had introduced Knowles into the action, and it took the forward just five minutes to get his name on the score sheet.
George Thomson played a through ball into the path of Ryan Fallowfield whose accurate low cross found Knowles unmarked at the far post to tap in.
The goal looked to have given Town a lift that saw them two goals to the good less than two minutes later.
Fallowfield and Josh Falkingham exchanged some neat passes down the right flank before offloading to Thomson who unleashed a powerful strike that beat Pierson at his near post.
With four minutes to play, Town almost secured a third as Emmett fed through Knowles, only for a Pools defender to recover, but almost divert into his own net.
Belshaw, Fallowfield, O’Hanlon (Parker 30), Falkingham, Middleton, Burrell, Thomson, Emmett, Ainge (Day 68), Thewlis (Knowles 63), Leesley
Subs not used: Wakefield, McIntosh, Gooda, Lees, Charles, Worrall, Hallwood