Halifax Town 1 Hartlepool United 2: Pools turn on the style against NINE-man Shaymen
Hartlepool United turned on the style to claim all three points yet again on the road as they strolled past NINE-man Halifax Town.
After a goalless first 45, Pools made their dominance tell in the second as first Liam Noble struck from the spot after Matty Brown was dismissed for a foul in the area, before Nicky Featherstone banged in another goal of the season contender with his left to make it SIX unbeaten on their travels and nine in total for Matthew Bates' men this season.
In the midst of the drama Matty Kosylo was also given his marching orders at the Shaymen ended the game two men down. Jacob Hanson bagged a late, late breakaway consolation.
While Matthew Bates had reported on Thursday this weekend would come around too soon for club captain Andrew Davies, the Pools skipper was surprisingly named in the starting XI for the trip to the Shay, in place of the injured Ryan Donaldson.
The man he was handed the armband by - Noble - was right in the thick of the action, as ever, from the off.
Picking the ball up 30 yards from goal he saw an opportunity to add to his five goals, cracking off the top of the bar.
Jonathan Edwards went close at the other end, too. His low skidding effort from close range was sharply tipped around the post by an alert, as ever, Scott Loach.
Pools, on top but not in front, again impressed with some of their slick passing play. Moving the ball from right to left at will, creating chances and dominating the opposition they were a joy to watch in the opening 45. But, crucially, they did not break the deadlock before the break despite the best efforts of Noble, who also saw a long distance free-kick parried by Johnson between the sticks for the hosts.
While the first 45 was east on the eye, it had little in the way of drama to set pulses racing. That all changed within eight second half minutes.
Kioso saw a header from a Noble free-kick saved, but when the player went down injured the man in the middle - Daniel Middleton - consulted with his linesman and decided, after some deliberation that he would firstly send off home captain Brown, showing a straight red, then turn his arm towards the spot.
Noble, cool and calm, made no mistake from 12 yards to put Pools deservedly ahead. As ice cold as he was in the long wait to take the spot-kick, he was anything but in his celebrations, going wild in front of the travelling Poolies, cupping his ears and pumping his fists. He's been a class act since the first ball was kicked for Pools this season.
Scenes of jubilation ensued in the packed away end, who were in even better voice when Kosylo was shown a second yellow for a reckless challenge as Halifax went down to nine-men.
From then on in it was all Pools. Niko Muir turned an effort just wide, Mark Kitching went close with a header as Pools ramped up the pressure on their tiring hosts.
Hanson broke away in the closing stages to nab a consolation but Pools held on comfortably to head back up the road in FIFTH place, just three points off the top of the table.