Hartlepool United 2 Braintree Town 1: Pools come from behind against National League basement boys to claim vital three points

Hartlepool United came from a goal down at the break to claim three points against Braintree Town, halting a run of three defeats on the bounce.

Saturday, 26th January 2019, 3:58 pm
Updated Saturday, 26th January 2019, 4:04 pm
Nicke Kabamba scored his second goal in two games for Pools. (Shutterpress)
Nicke Kabamba scored his second goal in two games for Pools. (Shutterpress)

The National League basement boys deservedly took the lead in the opening 45 when Justin Amaluzor smashed in past Scott Loach for 1-0.

But Pools turned things around in seven second half minutes when Nicke Kabamba got his second goal in two games with a header before Josh Hawkes scored the winner from the spot.

In his third stint in the Pools dugout manager Craig Hignett, who replaced Richard Money in the hotseat this week, made four changes to the side beaten at Harrogate last week.

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Reverting to the three at the back the players started the season with, Peter Kioso was recalled, so too Danny Amos and Josh Hawkes.

While Pools looked improved from their last outing under Money, they still struggled to carve open a side who have won just five times all season.

Robert Atkinson went close early on, beating Scott Loach to a looping cross, but seeing his header sail over the top.

That was a let off, but not one Pools took notice of as goalscorer Amaluzor cracked off the foot of Loach's post soon after with the visitors enjoying some considerable success against a hesitant Pools.

At the other end Hawkes and Luke Molyneux were the hosts' most likely to cause problems and it was the former who laid one on a plate for striker Kabamba, but the lanky striker's long legs could not stretch to get on the end of the Hawkes centre.

Braintree opened the scoring all too easily just before the break when a lobbed pass caught Danny Amos out of position on the left and Amaluzor did what he could not 20 minutes earlier, this time sneaking it inside Loach's post for 1-0.

One down at half time, but improved from previous shows, the players had to improve in the second period. And luckily for those in attendance, they did just that.

Within 14 minutes of the break the tables had turned, Pools had done the unthinkable and gone from 1-0 down at home to 2-1 up.

First Amos made up for his error for the opener by putting a cross straight on to the head of Kabamba, the Havant loan man making no mistake with a diving finish with his head.

Then it was half-time substitute Luke James' turn to make an impact. The forward, bright and full of endeavour off the bench, nipped in to take a back pass off the bootlaces of keeper Ben Killip, squared for Kabamba but he was felled by Atkinson. Referee Rebecca Welch had no hesitations in pointing to the spot.

Hawkes made no mistake from 12 yards to send the Town End into raptures.

We've seen many a nervous afternoon at Pools where points have been binned in the closing stages but this was not one of those. Despite retreating into their shell somewhat, Pools held on for a vital three points on manager Hignett's third home debut.

It was a win that saw Pools end the day in 14th place, 11 points off the top seven and nine from the bottom four.