Hartlepool United seal long-awaited win as forgotten man shines again at Maidenhead
Hartlepool United brought their ten-game winless run to an end with a well-deserved win at Maidenhead United.
A first-half goal from Josh Hawkes proved enough for Pools who put an end to their dismal run of form.
Hawkes, often a forgotten man under former manager Matthew Bates, impressed yet again as United secured a long-awaited victory.
Craig Hignett made just one change from the side that surrendered a late lead against Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend, with Myles Anderson recalled after recovering from injury.
And Pools began brightly, putting their hosts under some early pressure without seriously testing goalkeeper Carl Pentney.
Niko Muir threatened to get on the end of a cross while Liam Noble saw an in-swinging free-kick punched away as the visitors upped the pressure.
The pressure eventually told on 17 minutes, when Hawkes’ low effort found its way past Pentney to hand Hignett’s side a deserved lead.
Maidenhead rallied, with Anderson and defensive partner Carl Magnay doing well to crowd out Remy Clerima as he looked to convert a teasing cross.
Pools were dealt a blow, however, when youngster Peter Kioso was withdrawn through injury ten minutes before the break. A stretcher was called for the defender, who was replaced by Kenton Richardson.
The last chance of a fairly tepid first half fell to Liam Noble, but United’s vice-captain saw his long-range effort deflected wide by Rene Steer.
But the visitors were handed an advantage at the start of the second half when James Comley saw red for the hosts - his reckless challenge on Luke James seeing him given his marching orders.
And Hignett’s side looked to make that advantage count immediately - Muir forcing a good save from Pentney before Noble sent a free-kick from distance narrowly wide.
Ultimately, though, one goal proved enough for Pools who put an end to their wretched form of late.
Hartlepool United XI: Loach; Magnay, Anderson, Kioso (Richardson), Kitching; Donaldson, Featherstone, Noble, Hawkes (McLaughlin 83); James, Muir
Subs not used: Butler, O’Neill, Dinanga
Goals: Hawkes 17
Yellow cards: Featherstone 25
Maidenhead United XI: Pentney, Clerima, Steer, Obileye (Cole 65), Kilgour, Comley, Kelly, Worsfold (Odametey 77), Nana-Twumasi, Clifton (Bird 71), Massey
Maidenhead United subs: Owusu, Peters
Red card: Comley 50