FULL-TIME REPORT: Pools 2 Exeter City 0

Nathan Luscombe breaks away with the ball against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID
Nathan Luscombe breaks away with the ball against Walsall. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United enjoyed their first home win of the season thanks to goals at either end of an entertaining affair.

Gary Liddle was the man on target as early as the fourth minute with Nathan Luscombe making sure of the points one minute from time.

Mick Wadsworth made three changes to the side which won at Rochdale seven days ago.

Stephen Wright, signed on Friday on a short-term deal, came in for his debut at the heart of the defence while Tony Sweeney and Nobby Solano were both recalled following injury.

And it was a dream start for the hosts.

Solano sent Sweeney clear and, when the midfielder saw his looping effort bounce off the post, Colin Nish smashed the rebound on goal.

Richard Duffy had recovered to block on the line but Liddle was steaming in for Pools to smash into the roof of the net for his first of the season.

Chris Shepherd threatened to level terms almost immediately and his 20-yard drive skidded inches wide.

Pools then had Scott Flinders to thank for preserving their lead when he extended an arm to turn over Rowan Vine’s goal-bound blast.

Solano was at the heart of everything for Mick Wadsworth’s men and he came within a lick of paint of his first Pools goal when striking the post on 36 minutes after a swift breakaway.

The Peruvian again went close within three minutes of the restart for the second period, his 20-yard half-volley deflecting onto the roof of Lenny Pidgeley’s net.

Solano, fatigued, departed soon after and, with the deadball specialist watching from the dugout, Neil Austin took responsibility with a 25-yard free-kick and shaved the frame of the goal with a curling effort.

Adam Boyd then went close with a 65th-minute effort which dropped inches wide after he’d stole space for a shot just inside the area.

Pools were in control and Liddle could have had a second when his rising, 20-yard drive flashed wide after good work from Nish in teeing up the midfielder.

But substitute Luscombe did find the back of the net when he climaxed a measured attacking move involving Boyd, James Poole and Andy Monkhouse, the former Sunderland trainee curling beyond the reach of Pidgeley from 10 yards out.

Pools: Flinders, Austin, Wright, Hartley, Humphreys, Solano (Poole 59), Liddle, Murray, Sweeney (Luscombe 83), Boyd, Nish (Monkhouse 66)

Subs: Rafferty, Haslam

Exeter City: Pidgeley, Tully, Dunne, Archibald-Henville, Duffy (Logan 54), Noble, Golbourne, Shephard (Jones 76), Coles, Vine (Nichols 66), Nardiello.

Subs: Bennett, Krysiak.