Newport County 3 Hartlepool United 1: Poor Pools sunk by three corners

Ryan Bird heads in Newport's opener. Picture by FRANK REID
Ryan Bird heads in Newport's opener. Picture by FRANK REID

Ryan Bird came back to haunt Hartlepool United when he scored the opening goal in today's defeat at Newport County.

New Pools boss Dave Jones, in the dug-out for the first tuime, saw Pools concede from three corners, with sub Padraig Amond's goal deep into injury time of little consolation.

Bird, who this week became Newport's 12th January signing, got up above Matthew Bates and Liam Donnelly to head in a 15th-minute corner.

The giant striker had scored a couple of vital goals in Pools' great escape and County boss Graham Westley will be hoping for the same in Wales.

The second goal also came from a corner, Craig Reid's 56th-minute delivery being headed to the near post where Aaron Williams nodded in.

A third followed 19 minutes from time as Dan Butler scored a beauty from the edge of the box.

Conditions were difficult at Rodney Parade as the players struggled to come to terms with a heavy, bobbly surface.

So it was no shock the first goal of the afternoon came via a header.

Pools conceded a 15th-minute flag-kick which Reid lifted into the box from the right corner.

New signing BIRD met it firmly to head in for a dream debut goal.

It was a day for no frills and no football and Newport adapted best, getting the ball into the away half, where Pools defender well.

Pools improved as the half wore on with Rhys Oates and Sean Kavanagh firing over.

Half-time:

Newport 1 Pools 0

Five minutes after the break, Oates was nearly through from a Donnelly through ball but Mark O'Brien executed a superb tackle.

Jones brought on Connor Smith in the 54th minute but before the sub could get a touch, Pools were two down.

Reid floated over the corner which Pools could not clear and WILLIAMS forced his header in from very close range.

There was a bit of life from Pools after Padraig Amond was sent on and the striker, fellow sub Smith and Donnelly combined to get ball in home box but County cleared.

But all hope was ended in the 71st minute after another corner. Pools this time got the ball to the edge of the area where BUTLER beat Bartlett with a stunning finish.

Pools pulled back a goal in the last of four added minutes.

Smith made a lively run and Kavanagh swung in a good cross from the left which AMOND converted from close range.

FULL-TIME:

NEWPORT COUNTY 3

HARTLEPOOL UNITED 1

Newport: Day, Jones (Demetriou 72), O'Brien, Butler, Nelson, Pipe, Bennett, Rose (Flynn 78), Reid, Williams (Samuel 85), Bird

Unused Subs: Bojaj, Bittner, Rigg, Sheehan

Goals: Bird 15, Williams 56, Butler 71

Pools: Bartlett, Donnelly, Bates, Harrison, Kavanagh, Walker, Featherstone, Woods (Smith 54), Hawkins (Laurent 85), Oates (Amond 66), Alessandra

Unused Subs: Martin, Richardson, Deverdics, Fryer

Goal: Amond 90

Referee: Kevin Johnson. Got all his decisions right. 6

Att: 2,271 (away 103)