Hartlepool 1 Notts County 2: Despair as ex-Sunderland duo stun Pools
Hartlepool United squandered a first-half lead to lose 2-1 at home to Notts County.
A first-half goal from Toto Nsiala had Pools deservingly in the lead at the interval, but the away side improved significantly after the break, scoring through former Sunderland duo Louis Lang and Jon Stead.
Pools boss Craig Hignett made just one change from the team that drew 3-3 with Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday night, Nicky Deverdics making way for Michael Woods in central midfield.
On eight minutes, the lively Lewis Alessandra beat County’s Carl Dickinson twice on the right of the box and zipped the ball low into the area where Nsiala managed to squirm the ball over the line to break the deadlock.
County came back into it though. Stead had a shot from an acute angle tipped onto the bar by Trevor Carson’s legs, before his teammate Jonathan Forte wasted a chance from the left.
Pools striker Padraig Amond narrowly dragged the ball wide of the goal from an Alessandra cut back, and then Matthew Bates curled a shot from 18 yards off the post.
Stead, with a header well saved from Carson, and Adam Campbell, with a shot cleared by Nsiali, both went close before the half-time whistle for the visitors.
Nathan Thomas did well to forge out two of chances of his own early in the second half, but it was County who looked the most threatening, Stead smashing a shot off the left post.
On 66 minutes, John Sheridan’s team equalised when a routine cross was headed back into the area where Pools were disorganised and Lang prodded the ball beyond Trevor Carson.
Ten minutes later, Stead turned a shot past Carson from the right of the box to give County the lead, which they held onto for the win.