Hartlepool United 2-0 Aldershot Town: Mani Dieseruvwe scores 21st league goal of the season as Pools dent Aldershot's play-off hopes with second successive home win

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Mani Dieseruvwe scored his 21st league goal of the season from the penalty spot and Tom Parkes powered in a late header as Hartlepool United made it seven points from the last nine with a 2-0 win over play-off chasing Aldershot.

Dieseruvwe dusted himself off after being fouled in the box by wing-back Ryan Glover before continuing his prolific campaign with a perfectly-placed penalty into the top right-hand corner in the 18th minute and Parkes made sure of the result four minutes from time as Pools kept a third successive home clean sheet to make almost mathematically certain of their National League status.

Pools were, unsurprisingly given the lack of options available to boss Kevin Phillips, unchanged from Easter Monday’s draw with Rochdale, while academy trio Campbell Darcy, Max Storey and Alfie Steel were all named on the bench.

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Aldershot, who had former Pools promotion-winner Tommy Widdrington in the dugout, arrived in the North East just inside the top seven although their play-off push had been faltering of late, with the Shots winless in their last four prior to kick-off.

Mani Dieseruvwe celebrates opening the scoring with his 21st goal of the season from the spot.Mani Dieseruvwe celebrates opening the scoring with his 21st goal of the season from the spot.
Mani Dieseruvwe celebrates opening the scoring with his 21st goal of the season from the spot.

The sides switched ends at the coin toss, meaning Pools were kicking towards the Town End in the first half and, with the strong wind at their backs, Aldershot looked a threat whenever they ventured forward and Cian Harries almost picked out James Daly with a deep cross eight minutes in.

Pools, meanwhile, were experimenting with a slight tactical adjustment in midfield as skipper Nicky Featherstone sat in front of the back four while Tom Crawford lined up in a more advanced role alongside Callum Cooke.

The home side, who were battling the breeze as well as the visitors, survived a few hairy moments in the opening exchanges before threatening themselves for the first time in the 12th minute when Luke Waterfall, who was up from the back for a David Ferguson free-kick, turned the ball towards his fellow defender Tom Parkes but his cross was taken off the former Livingston man’s head by an important defensive header.

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Aldershot skipper Lorent Tolaj, who once scored eight goals in one game for Switzerland under-19s, was proving a handful up front but was unable to add to his 18 league goals with his first attempt of the afternoon as Pete Jameson got down well to save his low effort following a sharp turn after a quarter-of-an-hour.

Dieseruvwe beats Dutch goalkeeper Jordi Van Stappershoef from 12 yards after he was fouled by wing-back Ryan Glover.Dieseruvwe beats Dutch goalkeeper Jordi Van Stappershoef from 12 yards after he was fouled by wing-back Ryan Glover.
Dieseruvwe beats Dutch goalkeeper Jordi Van Stappershoef from 12 yards after he was fouled by wing-back Ryan Glover.

Although the visitors had probably shaded the opening period, Pools went ahead after 18 minutes when Mani Dieseruvwe scored from the spot for the second home game in succession.

The in-form frontman won the penalty after he was wiped out by wing-back Ryan Glover and picked himself up to beat Dutch goalkeeper Jordi Van Stappershoef, who guessed correctly, with a perfectly-placed effort into the top right-hand corner to make it 1-0 with his 21st league goal of the season.

Both sides, who had conceded 150 National League goals between them this season, were creating chances, with Tom Crawford shooting straight at Van Stappershoef from a tight angle after good work from Callum Cooke before Laurent Tolaj stung the palms of Pete Jameson with a powerful drive following a well-worked free-kick.

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Pools were almost punished following a rare mix-up between Tom Parkes and Luke Waterfall after 35 minutes but Lorent Tolaj shot wide of Pete Jameson’s far post as the Shots pressed for an equaliser.

The home side had to survive a spell of sustained pressure before the break but held their shape well and the Shots were unable to create a clear cut chance as Pools preserved their one goal advantage at half time.

Pools, who now had the wind in their favour, took a while to get going after the restart and Jameson was forced into a sharp save with his legs after Bristol City loanee Josh Stokes, who has bagged 18 goals from midfield this term, went through on goal 90 seconds into the second period.

And the teenager tested Jameson again in the 49th minute when the Pools goalkeeper turned his shot from the corner of the box behind as the visitors, who needed at least a point to keep their play-off hopes in their own hands, started the second half strongly.

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The hosts started to settle as the game became increasingly end-to-end, with Cooke’s wind-assisted corner evading everyone and almost sneaking in at the back post while up the other end Luke Waterfall did well to block Olly Scott’s goalbound drive.

The home side, who had both Dieseruvwe and Featherstone booked for dissent, were sitting deep and inviting pressure as Aldershot’s approach turned from attacking to the Alamo although the home side still posed a threat on the break and substitute Chay Cooper passed up a presentable opportunity with nine minutes of normal time remaining, curling an effort well wide.

Pools had two golden chances to put the game to bed late on when Callum Cooke attempted to round Van Stappershoef before Dieseruvwe’s half-volley was cleared off the line.

However, the hosts weren’t made to wait much longer and, from the resulting Featherstone corner, Tom Parkes capped another superb performance with a towering header that cannoned off the crossbar and in to make it 2-0.

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There was still time for a late scuffle in the home team’s box but the result was never in doubt as Pools all but guaranteed they’d be playing National League football again next season, severely denting Aldershot’s play-off hopes in the process.

Pools: Jameson, Ferguson, Parkes, Waterfall, Stephenson, Featherstone (capt), Crawford, Cooke (sub, Darcy, 89), Agyemang (sub, Cooper, 71), Grey, Dieseruvwe (sub, Steel, 90+1).

Aldershot: Van Stappershoef, Mnoga (sub, Kadni, 32), Harfield, Harries, Widdrington, Tolaj (capt), Stokes, Glover, Scott, Daly (sub, Ghandour, 89), Willard (sub, Thomas,69).

Attendance: 4,470 (344 away).

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