Hartlepool United 1 Newport County 2: Late drama as unbeaten home run comes to an end

Hartlepool United’s unbeaten home run has come to an end after Dom Telford’s injury time winner for Newport County.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 10:29 pm

A bumper Friday night crowd witnessed a stunning David Ferguson free-kick at the Suit Direct Stadium as Hartlepool United came from behind and looked to be on their way to earning a point at home to Newport.

County striker Courtney Baker-Richardson had earlier powered the visitors in front with a brilliant first-half header before Ferguson’s second half strike from 20-yards.

A stunning crowd of 5,674 watched the action unfold but Newport snatched the win at the death.

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Newport County players celebrate their second goal against Hartlepool. (Credit: Michael Driver | MI News)

It was heartache for Pools and their incredible home support.

Ahead of the League Two match, Victoria Park was rebranded as the Suit Direct Stadium as part of a three season partnership.

It’s the first time The Vic has had a name sponsor since the 2018-19 campaign, when it was known as The Super 6 Stadium.

Suit Direct are a high street retailer home to iconic menswear brands such as Ted Baker, Marc Darcy, Ben Sherman, Racing Green and Limehaus. They are expanding rapidly and are on target to open 23 new stores across the UK and Ireland in 2021.

David Ferguson celebrates his free-kick. Picture by Frank Reid.

Suit Direct’s parent company, The Baird Group, has had a warehouse in Hartlepool since 1945 and remains at the same location to this day with its sizeable warehousing and distribution hub.

The Clarence Road offices have also been given an impressive uplift too as part of a stadium revamp connected to the new sponsorship deal.

Pools fans were hoping ahead of kick-off the players would play as sharp as they looked in their new suits.

This was caretaker boss Antony Sweeney’s third game in charge and there was a return in goal for Ben Killip, Jono Mitchell dropping down to the bench.

Meanwhile, Mark Shelton replaced the injured Gavan Holohan in midfield with Zaine Francis-Angol taking Luke Hendrie's place in the back three.

It was a positive start for Pools with good early pressure in the opening five minutes and a couple of corners, putting the Newport defenders under pressure.

Newport had their first sight on goal in the tenth minute, Cooper dragging his effort well wide. Moments later, Neill Byrne brilliantly blocked Cooper again, the County dangerman. Newport pressing higher up the pitch as the half wore on.

Pools should have taken the lead 13 minutes in, Francis-Angol with a deep cross to Ogle at the back post, his effort from a free header weak and wide.

Killip made a brilliant save, diving to his left, to deny Finn Azaz 20 minutes in, midfield duo Azaz and Cooper runs from midfield causing Pools problems.

Pools were allowing the Newport midfield too much time and space, Azaz with a long range effort 27 minutes in, comfortable for Killip.

It was the visitors that took the lead from a superb Matty Dolan corner, Courtney Baker-Richardson with a powerful header 32 minutes in.

Newport grew with confidence as the game wore on, with good movement and pressing from their midfield, Pools struggling to contain them at times.

It proved a frustrating first half for Ogle who missed a hat-trick of headers, all at the back post, and none of them looked dangerous, with Newport going in 1-0 up at the break.

A frustrated Pools started the second half with great intent, Luke Molyneux with a low cross, Cullen unable to get a touch on it as it flashed across the Town End. Daly then saw a smart volley dip over the crossbar, while Ferguson saw a free-kick go wide of the post in front of the Town End.

Pools were soon level, though.

Demetriou was booked for Newport when he brought Molyneux down as he ran at goal, the crowd calling for a red but a yellow card deemed sufficient by referee Samuel Barrott.

Up stepped Ferguson. A sublime curling free-kick, 20-yards out, into the top right corner of the net, Pools deservedly level after 64 minutes.

The stadium erupted with Pools much improved after the break, confidence back flowing through the team as they went in search of a win.

Newport, however, always posed a threat.

Caretaker boss Sweeney called upon Mike Fondop from the bench, with Shelton the midfielder to depart as Pools pressed for a winner in the closing 10 minutes of the game in front of a packed home support.

Newport looked to veteran forward Kevin Ellison in the final stages from their bench, the game evenly poised as it ticked towards full-time.

There were few chances in the final stages of the game, the league clash becoming scrappy with four additional minutes played under the lights.

For Pools, it was important to maintain their brilliant home form.

However, Newport struck in the second minute of added-on time, Dom Telford with a header to snatch the victory in front of the away end.

It came from a deep cross to the back post, Azaz was on hand to head back across goal and Telford scored with a header.

Next up for Sweeney & Co is a trip to Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday for the first round replay FA Cup tie.

Pools XI: Killip, Ogle, Byrne, Liddle, Francis-Angol, Ferguson; Featherstone (C), Shelton (Fondop, 80), Daly; Molyneux, Cullen (Grey, 75)

Subs not used: Mitchell, Hendrie, Odusina, Smith, Crawford.

Booked: Ferguson (54)

Goals: Ferguson (64)

Newport County XI: Day, J Clarke, Dolan, Demetriou, Norman, Azaz, Upson, Cooper (Cain, 71), Haynes, Telford, Baker-Richardson (Ellison, 84)

Subs not used: Fisher, Lewis, Abraham, Missilou, Townsend

Booked: Cooper (60), Demetriou (63), Upson (90)

Goals: Baker-Richardson (32), Telford (90+2)

Referee: Samuel Barrott

Attendance: 5,674

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