Havant 1 Hartlepool 2: Late Liam Noble penalty seals four our of four National League wins for Pools

Liam Noble puts Pools ahead from the spot.
Liam Noble puts Pools ahead from the spot.

A late Liam Noble penalty - his second of the game - made it FOUR wins out of FOUR for Hartlepool United in the National League.

Noble had put Pools ahead in the opening 45, but the hosts looked to have got a point as a late Ryan Woodford header sailed past Scott Loach.

Noble celebrates Pools' goal.

Noble celebrates Pools' goal.

But Mark Kitching was felled in the area as the clock ticked over to 90 and Noble again, made no mistake from 12 yards as Pools went into the play-off positions for the first time this season.

On the selection front Matthew Bates went with the same starting XI for the fifth game on the bounce, with two changes on the bench - Louis Laing and Jake Cassidy were left at home, with Josh Hawkes and Kenton Richardson given a chance.

In terms of possession these two sides were leagues apart in the opening exchanges, but when chances created, or gifted, then Havant had the better of it.

A Carl Magnay error almost got pulses racing as Nicke Kabamba hesitated when given the chance to shoot. The striker then capitalised on a mix up between Loach and Magnay and just as he was about to tuck home, the Pools keeper recovered to prevent an opener at the wrong end.



Having survived a couple of early scares, Pools made their dominance count as a Noble cross looked to have picked out Myles Anderson at the back post but the player was pulled back by Paul Robinson and man in the middle Carl Brook pointed to the spot.

On first viewing it looked a harsh one on the hosts, but Anderson and Pools were not complaining.

And from 12 yards, as he did against Dagenham, Noble made no mistake, sending Rory Williams the wrong way for 1-0.

With that, and the lion's share of the ball, you'd have expected Pools to go on and double their advantage, but it continued to be the Hawkes who threatened the most in the final third.

Theo Lewis thought he'd brought his team level just before the break but Loach was on hand to deny his goal-bound header.

And that was the way it stayed at the break with Pools feeling like they'd need another goal to make sure of their fourth fifth tier win on the trot.

They almost got it just three minutes after the interval - Mark Kitching, a constant threat in the air this season at the back post, got his head on a searching Ryan Donaldson cross but it grazed Havant's far post rather than nestle into the net.

Anderson has been of the most improved Pools players in recent weeks, and his stock continued to rise when he somehow put in a block tackle to deny what looked a certain equaliser for the hosts with around 20 minutes remaining. At the other end Niko Muir, who had a quieter afternoon, Luke James and Noble contrived to waste a three-on-three as Havant threw caution to the wind.

As the game wore on Pools began to retreat, as the hosts ramped up the pressure and they were rewarded in the 83rd minute when Woodford rose highest to nod in the leveller.

Pools looked to have Ryan Donaldson to thank for a point, when he somehow managed to deny Paul Robinson's header after it had beaten Loach but there was to be a sting in the tail for the Hawkes as Noble tucked in from the spot in added time.