Hartlepool United 3 Maidstone 1: Match report, first home win for Pools

Keith Watson beats Lee Worgan to put Pools ahead. Picture by FRANK REID
Keith Watson beats Lee Worgan to put Pools ahead. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United clinched their first home win in style when they swept aside Maidstone United.

Defender Keith Watson scored his first goal for Pools in the 19th minute to set Craig Harrison's side on their way.

Connor Simpson celebrates his goal. Picture by FRANK REID

Connor Simpson celebrates his goal. Picture by FRANK REID

And two headers in the second half sealed the deal through Jonathan Franks and debutant Conor Simpson. Not even a last-minute Johan ter Horst consolation failed to send 4,000 fans home happy.

Simpson and Michael Ledger were today handed their debuts by Harrison,.

Ledger, signed on loan from Sunderland, came in for Scott Harrison who was ruled out with a foot injury.

A foot problem also ruled out Jake Cassidy so Simpson came in for his first start.

The 17-year-old appeared as a sub for the final two games of last season and then impressed in the second half of the 1-0 win at Guiseley.

There was a boost for Pools with Rhys Oates recovering from a groin injury to be named on the bench.

Pools carried on from where they left off at Guiseley be coming flying out of the blocks, keeper Lee Worgan making a decent diving save to keep out Devante Rodney's seventh-minute shot from the edge of the box with Michael Woods sking a shot fropm the resulting corner.

The home side really had the bit between their teeth and Simpson was inches away from a Nicky Deverdicsw cross two minutes later.

And a deserved opener arrived in the 19th minute. The Stones cleared a Deverdics corner to the edge of the box and when Lewis Hawkins put the ball aback into the area, WATSON swept his shot into the right corner of Worgan's net.

Harrison's team were almost unrecognisable from the August Pools.

Deverdics saw a 30-yard free-kick held at the second attaempt by Worgan, while a Michael Woods dead-ball soon after was defelected for a corner.

The home corners were casing difficulties and Ledger and Jonathan Franks both headed wide from good chances.

Maidstone barely had a kick in the first 45 minutes but right at the end of the half, Joe Pigott put a free-kick into the Town End before two smart Scott Loach saves in the space of a few seconds kept it 1-0 tp Pools.

Pools made a quiet start to the second half but from their first attack they doubled their lead when FRANKS headed in Deverdics cross from 12 yards on 57 minutes.

Maidstone should have pulled a goal back immediately when Pigott's header from Stuart Lewis's cross brought a great one handed save from Loach with Ledger

Pools made it safe in the 68th minute through SIMPSON.

The goal was all down to Franks who did brilliant work in the right corner, where he got the better of two defenders with his cross headed home by Simpson from six yards.

Pools: Loach, Magnay, Ledger, Watson, Deverdics, Featherstone, Hawkins, Woods, Rodney (Donaldson 62), Simpson (Oates 79), Franks.

Subs: Richardson, Newton, Munn.

Goals: Watson 19, Franks 57, Simpson 68

Booked: Watson 44, Hawkins 64

Maidstone: Worgan, Hare, Okuonghae, Paxman, Anderson, Wynter, Reason (Richards 58), Lewis, Hines (Wraight 79), Sam-Yorke (ter Horst 76), Pigott

Subs: Finney, Prestedge

Goal: ter Horst 90

Referee: P Gibbons

Attendance: 4,137 (away 147)