Hartlepool United 3 Salford City 2: Featherstone, Kabamba and James sink ten-man, promotion-chasing Salford City

Ten-man Salford City's automatic promotion hopes were blown out of the water by Hartlepool Untied, as Craig Hignett's men ended a difficult season with a flourish.

Saturday, 27th April 2019, 2:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 27th April 2019, 2:39 pm
Luke James in action against Salford (Shutterpress).
Luke James in action against Salford (Shutterpress).

Adam Rooney gave the visitors an early lead before Matthew Green was dismissed for two bookable offences, flipping the game on its head.

Nicky Featherstone netted the equaliser after the break before Nicke Kabamba and Luke James ensured Pools signed off their campaign on a positive note. Emmanuel Dieseruvwe netted a late consolation for the Ammies.

Due to wins for Halifax, Barnet, Dover and Bromley, all teams Pools could have overtaken, Hignett's side ended the day where they started it - 17th.

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Hignett made three changes from the side humbled at Barrow - Myles Anderson, Mark Kitching and Liam Noble all coming in, with Fraser Kerr (injured), Danny Amos and Gavan Holoahn dropping out.

Salford, with a slim chance of automatic promotion still in their sights, came out like a steam train. And they were in front after just three minutes when a cross from the Pools right was met by Rooney, who made no mistake in slotting past Scott Loach.

Pools then had their keeper, who picked up the players' player of the year award before kick-off, to thank for keeping things at one - Loach pulled off a top class reaction stop to deny Lois Maynard.

James and Luke Molyneux both tested the waters with efforts from distance but it was the visitors who remained the more likely to add to their tally.

Pools began to work their way into the game as the half wore on, drawing a few tasty challenges from the frustrated Ammies as tensions began to flare.

Then, on 45, came the flash point which turned things around in Pools' favour.

Having already been booked Green flew into a challenge with Loach, catching the keeper and giving Andrew Miller no option but to draw out his yellow, then red.

After the break Pools took full advantage with Kabamba knocking down to the advancing Featherstone, who timed his run to perfection, who levelled.

It didn't take long for the hosts to edge in front as a goalmouth scramble after a move down the right, fell kindly for Kabamba, who turned in from five yards out.

Then James, the newly crowned fans' player of the year, put the icing on the cake for Pools as he netted his fifth goal of the season to seal all three points.

Substitute Dieseruvwe, on for Rooney, tapped in a late consolation but it did little to change the outcome as Pools held on for the win, consigning Salford to the National League play-offs, as well as restoring a little pride at the Vic.