Story of the day: Maidenhead United 0-1 Hartlepool United – Niko Muir seals first National League win of the season
It was a case of third time lucky for Hartlepool United at Maidenhead United on Saturday.
Pools arrived at York Road desperate to get off the mark after suffering two goal defeats in their opening two National League matches against Sutton United and Halifax Town.
Craig Hignett didn’t need reminding of that though as he insisted there’s no panic stations yet despite the early set-back.
Maidenhead, meanwhile, had enjoyed an unbeaten start to the campaign with an opening day win at Stockport County followed up by a good draw at home to Chesterfield.
Hignett made three changes to the side that were beaten 2-0 at The Shay on Tuesday night as Gime Toure came in for the expecting Luke James, skipper Ryan Donaldson featured for the first time this season as he replaced Jason Kennedy in the starting-11 – Romoney Crichlow-Noble wasn’t involved due to personal reasons with Mark Kitching coming in at left-back.
Much like they did at Halifax, Pools made a positive start and applied a lot of the early pressure. Nicke Kabamba headed over early on with Michael Raynes and Toure also coming close.
As the game remained goalless, the importance of the first goal increased and Pools came within inches of getting it on the stroke of half-time. Kitching’s teasing cross was met by Donaldson at the back post but his six-yard diving header went agonisingly wide of the right hand post as the sides went in goalless.
The home side started the second half brightly but Pools continued to create chances with half-time substitute Niko Muir coming close with a close range effort which trickled wide of the right post.
Muir wasn’t to be denied a second time though as he reacted quickest to poke in Donaldson’s parried shot and give Pools the lead for the first time this season.
Pools then faces the task of holding out for their first points of the season as The Magpies started to apply the pressure in search of an equaliser.
Josh Kelly missed a golden chance late on as it proved to be Hartlepool’s day as they claimed their first three points of the campaign.