Hartlepool United 3 Exeter City 1: Alessandra at double in stunning Pools comeback

Lewis Alessandra brings Pools level. Picture by FRANK REID

Lewis Alessandra brings Pools level. Picture by FRANK REID

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The A-team did it again as Hartlepool United came from behind to beat Exeter City at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Ollie Watkins' 14th goal of the season looked like putting Exeter on the way to another away win.

But two superb goals in four second-half minutes from Lewis Alessandra and Padraig Amond turned the game on its head.

Alessandra put the seal on the deal with his second goal in injury time.

Pools started brightly with all departments looking good in the opening exchanges, Lewis Alessandra having a shot blocked after good work down the left from Nathan Thomas.

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But Exeter, with the best away record in the division, had the best chances, including an 11th-minute 'how-did-he-miss?' from David Wheeler.

Joe Fryer made a great save from Reuben Reid, with Wheeler smashing the rebound off bar with the goal at his mercy, Brad Walker clearing the loose ball off the line.

But it was only a brief respite as the Grecians were ahead three minutes later with a superb goal by WATKINS.

The in-form striker made a great turn wide on ride, held off Sean Kavanagh and scored with excellent left-foot shot from 20 yards into the keeper's right corner.

Pools saw plenty of ball and had a number of corners but did not threaten Bobby Olejnik.

Half-time:

Pools 0

Exeter 1

Pools put some footy together in the 52nd minte, with Amond heading at the keeper from 12 yards after Rhys Oates headed Liam Donnelly's deep cross from the left back into the box.

Jones made his second sub just before the hour, replacing Michael Woods with Lewis Hawkins.

Pools switched from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2, Oates joining Amond up top, with Alessandra going left and Thomas right in midfield.

And Pools were level in the 66th minute through ALESSANDRA'S third goal in the last two games.

Pools come forward, Thomas puts ball in and Alessandra volleyed in superbly from the left of the goal.

And Pools were ahead three minutes later, with a swift and decisive counter-attack.

Exeter had strong shouts for a penalty when Watkins went down under a challenge from Donnelly.

Pools cleared, and great strength from Oates took him away from Troy James and he found AMOND to his left, with the striker thumping in his 13th goal of the season with his left foot.

The hosts had another chance shortly afterwards when Thomas found Amond who shot wide.

Pools were not finished and ALESSANDRA scored his fourth goal of the week in the first minute of stoppage time.

And what a way to clinch victory. The midfielder came off the left side and this time scores with right foot into keeper's bottom right corner from the edge of the box/.

FULL-TIME:

HARTLEPOOL UNITED 3

EXETER CITY 1

Pools: Fryer, Donnelly, Harrison, Walker, Kavanagh (Richardson 29), Featherstone, Woods (Hawkins 58), Alessandra, Oates (Hawkes 90), Amond, Thomas.

Subs: Bartlett, Bates, Hawkes, Orrell, Rooney.

Goal: Alessandra 66, 90; Amond 69

Booked: Thomas 90

Exeter: Olejnik, Stacey, Brown, Moore-Taylor, Woodman (Sweeney 87), Wheeler, James, Taylor (Grant 79), Harley, Reid (McAlinden 65), Watkins

Subs: Henville, Tillson, Oakley, Hamon, Croll

Goal: Watkins 14

Booked: Moore-Taylor 90

Referee: Rob Lewis

Attendance 3,775, (away 166)