Leamington 0 Hartlepool 1: Richard Money tenure kicks off with FA Trophy win thanks to Ryan Donaldson wonder strike

A superb solo strike from Ryan Donaldson ensured Richard Money's Hartlepool United tenure kicked off with victory.

Saturday, 15th December 2018, 15:50 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th December 2018, 15:53 pm
Paddy McLaughlin in action down at Leamington.

Donaldson, a star under Money for Cambridge United, helped Pools progress to the second round of the FA Trophy for the first time with a 1-0 win at Leamington.

The new manager made a number of adjustments to the Pools side on his first outing in the dugout with Marcus Dinanga brought in up front. Paddy McLaughlin got a midfield recall while Kenton Richardson came in for the injured Peter Kioso.

Liam Noble missed out due to a hamstring problem, so too Conor Newton, while an ankle issue kept out Myles Anderson. Signing Harvey Rodgers was handed a first start.

With an icy wind and unrelenting rain battering a sodden Warwickshire, this was no afternoon for the faint-hearted, or those of the silky footballing variety.

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Pools did go close twice in the opening exchanges with the crossbar and the flying figure of Leamington keeper Tony Breedon standing in their way.

A looping corner by McLaughlin was headed on to his own bar by a home defender, then within 90 seconds recalled Dinanga had a fantastic opportunity to open his Pools account.

Another attack down the left saw the ball squared by Niko Muir, but with the goal seemingly at his mercy, Dinanga guided towards goal only for Breedon to produce an unbelievable stop diving to his left.

McLaughlin and Dinanga combined to almost conjure an opener at the end of the half when their neat one-two allowed Northern Irishman McLaughlin to fire at goal, but his shot was saved by the feet of Breedon then Dinanga's follow up was wide.

After the break it was the hosts, second best in the first 45, who had a period of dominance - it did not really mean they troubled Pools' keeper Scott Loach, though.

In-form striker Colby Bishop saw a ball drop to him the area but the impressive debutant Rodgers got in a timely block.

Quality was in short supply in this encounter, much of that was due to the fact Donaldson, so often Pools' main point of attack this season, was quiet. When he did get the chance to perform, though, he took it with both hands.

Donaldson picked up a loose ball on halfway and drove, with purpose, towards the opposition box. After out-pacing one midfielder he think jinked past two defenders before slotting into the bottom corner for 1-0.

As quick as Pools were in front, they almost opened the door at the other end as some poor defending allowed Kieran Dunbar a chance at the back post but his volley was over the top.

Dinanga's last act on the park was waste a gilt-edged chance to seal Pools' progression. A cross from the left by Muir found his strike partner but he somehow hit straight at the keeper from close range.

Despite some late home pressure, 1-0 was how it stayed as Money started his Pools reign with victory - and it was a bit of magic from his old boy Donaldson he had to thank for it.