Yeovil Town 1 Hartlepool United 2, Roy Kelly’s match analysis

Nathan Thomas shoots home his equaliser. Pictures: Gareth Williams/
Nathan Thomas shoots home his equaliser. Pictures: Gareth Williams/

If only all days could be like this. For the second time this season, Hartlepool United reserved their best for their fewest number of fans.

After fighting from a goal down to win 2-1 at Exeter in front of 121 travelling fans, Pools repeated the trick at Yeovil thanks to a double from the sublime Nathan Thomas.

Stevenage aside, the away form has been more than acceptable with seven points from a possible 12


A total of 66 Poolies made the journey and, of course, seven days after seeing their side humiliated at Stevenage, they absolutely loved it.

Now, it is time for Pools to deliver three points to the masses at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Or better still, six points, given the visit of Mansfield Town to the Vic this Saturday is followed by a tasty clash with Luton Town a week tomorrow.

Stevenage aside, the away form has been more than acceptable, with seven points from a possible 12.

On home soil, the stats do not bear comparison, two points from nine, though the last match against Newport, a 2-2 draw, was greeted rapturously by the Vic faithful.

There is no reason why Pools can’t move forward having buried the memories of Stevenage thanks to a gritty effort at Yeovil.

Mesmerising it was not, though this reporter defies anyone to find a better match-winner than that from Thomas in League Two over the weekend.

This was Pools roll up their sleeves day and how they battled. Yeovil had better footballers than Stevenage and, like Boro, were not short of corners – they had nine – but unlike Broadhall Way, Pools never looked like collapsing.

Yes, there are areas to address. Pools need to find their system. Craig Hignett sent out a much-changed side at Huish Park in a 3-5-2, with Rob Jones, Toto Nsiala and Scott Harrison the defensive unit in front of Trevor Carson, with Carl Magnay and Liam Donnelly as the wide men.

A back problem to Jones forced a change at the break, with Pools reverting to Hignett’s favoured 4-3-3, with Lewis Alessandra coming on and joining Thomas and Padraig Amond in attack.

This reporter would love to see Jones a permanent fixture at the back as the team finds its feet, but the rest of that 4-3-3 deserves another outing or two and, hopefully, will get it, allowing Pools to build some momentum on the foundation of stability.

The midfield trio of Nicky Featherstone, Josh Laurent and Lewis Hawkins were not as slick as the Yeovil triumvirate but worked tirelessly and grew as a unit.

Up top, Alessandra worked a home defence who had previously had a comfortable afternoon and it would be nice to see them given more time together.

Alessandra moving down to the bench was one of six Hignett changes. The boss loves attacking football, but on Saturday he took a leaf out of his fellow son of Liverpool, Ronnie Moore, who had an oft-used saying of “puting the wedge in”.

For Hignett, romanticism gave way to pragmatism at Huish Park. Pools defended solidly, which was nice to see after the events of Broadhall Way, but showed a more cynical approach, with no shortage of time-wasting.

It made it a bit of a dull first half, but an interval score of 0-0 was nothing to complain about.

Thomas, perhaps with a hint of things to come, was just wide of Artur Krysiak’s left stick with a shot from the edge of the box with the outside of the boot, just after the half-hour.

The better football and threat came from Yeovil, with Poolie, Matty Dolan, heavily involved.

But the Pools defence did their jobs, Jones and Nsiala making crucial blocks, and on the rare occasion they were beaten, Carson saved well with his legs from Ryan Hedges and then got down low deep in injury time to catch Dolan’s free-kick.

Pools were more adventurous after he break, Thomas warming the keeper’s gloves in the 54th minute. It was therefore disappointing that it was Yeovil who got the first goal of the afternoon two minutes later following a corner.

The ball arrived at the feet of Matt Butcher with his back to goal. He had Laurent and Harrison for company, but he was afforded so much space to control and swivel, he had time to ring home before turning and shooting, his effort going through a crowd of players and beating an unsighted Carson.

But when the Glovers had another corner in the 67th minute, it led to another goal, but this time for Pools.

Carson collected and, on this occasion, wasted no time, spearing a long clearance into the home half. Liam Shepherd missed his header and Thomas was away, coolly slotting the ball under Krysiak from just inside the box. Harrison rescued Pools at the other end on 74 minutes when he executed his tackle on Otis Khan to perfection when the striker looked ‘in’ on goal.

It was to be the last real fright for Pools who proceded to match last year’s 2-1 success in Somerset.

Alessandra thought he had put Pools ahead 10 minutes from time when Krysiak could only beat out a rocket from Thomas (who else?).

The summer signing calmly converted the loose ball past the Polish goalie only for the linesman to abruptly ruin the celebrations with an offide flag. The rotter.

Alessandra looked cross but the 27-year-old soon recovered his composure. In fact, he threaded a nice ball through to Thomas out wide in the second minute of stoppage time.

The man of the match cut in, got half a yard on sub Tahvon Campbell and let fly with a sho from the right corner of the 18-yard box which curled beyond the outstretched arms of Krysiak and into his top right corner.

What a finish, what a win. Now it’s time to do it at home.