Hartlepool 1 Chesterfield 0: Nicky Featherstone cracker makes it three out of three for Pools

Nicky Featherstone celebrates his goal.
Nicky Featherstone celebrates his goal.

Nicky Featherstone's second goal in nine days ensured Hartlepool United made it three wins out of three in the National League.

The midfielder cracked home his sixth career goal in blue and white midway through the opening 45 to seal victory over Martin Allen's pre-season promotion favourites.

For the fourth game in a row, manager Matthew Bates named an unchanged XI, despite hinting he may make some changes following the club's 2-1 win at Dagenham at the weekend.

It was a subdued start from the hosts as Martin Allen's men peppered Scott Loach's six yard box with a whole host of long throws from Samuel Muggleton, whose rockets from the touchline put Rory Delap and Dave Challinor to shame.

It was Pools, though, against the run of play, somewhat, who broke the deadlock.

And it was again a player not known for his goalscoring prowess who lit up the Super 6 Stadium.

Featherstone, fresh from his first goal of the season last time out at the Vic against Maidenhead United nine days previous, smashed home with a low, left-footed effort from the edge of the area, to send the Town End in to raptures.

That goal saw Pools burst into life. After Featherstone's belter they were rampant.

Niko Muir played in Michael Woods through the middle and with only the keeper to beat, the midfielder somehow guided wide of the goal. It could, and should, have been 2-0.

Mark Kitching, a constant threat at the back stick, also went close with a header from a Ryan Donaldson centre as Pools looked to build on their advantage, which seemed unlikely just a few minutes previous.

A half that ebbed and flowed then swung back the way of the Spireites, as Zavon Hines was guilty of a miss that should have seen his team level.

Muggleton's launch into the area found the frontman, but he could only guide straight at Loach, with the goal at his mercy.

A threat with the ball in hand, Muggleton almost did the business with his feet shortly before the break, too.

His shot from the edge of the area, bound for one corner, took a wicked deflection, and despite having initially dived one way Loach managed to recover and claw the ball away as it headed for the opposite corner of his net. It was some save from the big man.

After a half of football that had chances at both ends, drama and incident, goals in the second half seemed a certainty.

It didn't really materialise. Muir went close with an effort from 18 yards, while the tackles flew in as the Spireites became increasingly frustrated. It's certain their approach was aided by the fact the man in the middle's approach was hesitant at best.

Yet more baffling decisions from ref Joe Hull made for an ill-tempered close to this one, where the cards came out, and tensions built.

But, as they did at Dagenham and against Maidenhead, Pools showed they've learned lessons from their early season wobbles and saw the game out with a degree of ease.

Hartlepool's rise up the National League table continues and so does their impressive start to the fifth tier campaign, in which they've lost just one game out of seven. This was arguably, against their toughest opposition to date, too.