Hartlepool United 2 Stevenage 0: Brad Walker and Nicky Featherstone strikes seal win

Brad Walker.
Brad Walker.

A first-half double from midfield duo Nicky Featherstone and Brad Walker ensured Hartlepool got back to winning ways at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Pools dominated from the first whistle and appeared to have a bit more purpose about their passing.

They looked set to make the breakthrough five minutes before the break, when referee David Webb pointed to the spot after a visiting defender handled as Walker looked set to nod in.

Rhys Oates stepped up and struck low but it was palmed away by keeper Jamie Jones diving to his left.

It didn't take Pools long to net, though - a minute, in fact. As Featherstone burst through on the right-hand side of the area and his effort was saved brilliantly by Jones with his feet. Following it up, the skipper clipped high over the keeper to give Pools a deserved lead.

Right on the stroke of the break it was 2-0 as some outstanding play down the right by Oates, who dropped a shoulder and beat a man, saw the striker pick out recalled Walker, who stroked home.

After the break the visitors showed some signs of getting back in it, with Matt Godden rattling Adam Bartlett's crossbar twice. But on the whole Pools, watched on in the stands by new boss Dave Jones, were comfortable and saw the game out with a swagger not seen at the Vic for some time. It truly is amazing what a new manager can do for the same set of players.

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