Story of the night: Halifax Town v Hartlepool United – poor start continues

Surely things couldn’t get any worse than Saturday, right?

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 21:45 pm
Nathan Clarke of Halifax Town blocks a shot by Hartlepool United's Jason Kennedy during the Vanarama National League match between FC Halifax Town and Hartlepool United at The Shay, Halifax on Tuesday 6th August 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

After the grounding opening day defeat at home to Sutton United, Craig Hignett confirmed he be changing things up for the trip to The Shay in an attempt to get off the mark for the campaign.

But just two changes were made with Nicky Featherstone coming in for goalscorer Gime Toure and the forced change of Peter Kioso replacing the injured Kenton Richardson at right-back.

And while the changes in personnel were minimal, a change of system was apparent as it was clear Hignett had chosen to divert from playing three forwards and instead opted for a midfield diamond.

The tactical switch looked to be a smart move as Pools dominated the opening stages with some slick, purposeful passing in the attacking third. But apart from a few blocked chances, they had little to show for it.

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As the first half wore on, Halifax started to get in the game more and more.

After 29-minutes they should have gone ahead as Jeff King’s cross was headed wide by Josh Staunton before Tobi Sho-Silva blasted over from close range.

The hosts continued to push for the opening goal but Pools defended well before ending the half strongly as Luke James came close with a back-heel flick from a low Peter Kioso cross.

After a goalless first half, there was the sense that the side that broke the deadlock would likely go on to take the three points.

And after starting the half on the front foot, it was Halifax who opened the scoring as Jamie Allen burst forward before seeing his shot parried by Ben Killip into the path of Staunton who couldn’t miss from six-yards.

Pools had a few chances to equalise but were undone by a corner kick as Matty Brown’s header was well saved by Killip before Sho-Silva pounced to poke in the rebound and make it 2-0.

Luke Williams came off the bench for his first competitive appearance since rejoining Pools but he couldn’t make any impact as the game ended 2-0 to The Shaymen.

After opening the season with back-to-back defeats, Pools will now look to get off the mark at Maidenhead United on Saturday.