Hartlepool United's 1-1 draw at Eastleigh analysed – what the downfall will be for Craig Hignett's side this season in the National League

It was better, but was it better enough?

Sunday, 29th September 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Sunday, 29th September 2019, 11:51 am
Nicke Kabamba of Hartlepool United is challenged by Joe Partington of Eastleigh during the Vanarama National League match between Eastleigh and Hartlepool United at the Silverlake Stadium, Eastleigh on Saturday 28th September 2019. (Credit: Paul Paxford | Shutter Press)

After lacklustre displays in recent weeks, Hartlepool United had a spring in their step when they visited Eastleigh on Saturday.

Gime Toure’s sixth of the season gave them an early lead as he chopped inside from the left before dinking the ball into the right corner – something of a trademark finish for the Frenchman.

From there the expectation was for Pools to kick-on but the Spitfires came back strong in the second half.

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Aaron Cunningham conceded a penalty for the third time this season but was let off the hook by a fine stop from Ben Killip to deny Ben Williamson from 12-yards.

United were finally undone by a set-piece as Eastleigh skipper Danny Hollands glanced in a near post header to draw the hosts level at the Silverlake Stadium with 18-minutes remaining.

Both sides created chances late on but had to settle for a point as Hartlepool’s winless run in the National League stretched to five.

And for the second consecutive game they’ve led early against opposition who were there for the taking yet failed to capitalise.

While Eastleigh came strong as the game went on, they were, like Chesterfield, very sloppy in the opening half-hour and couldn’t live with the pace and purpose of Pools going forward.

While it’s pleasing to see Gime Toure get back on the score sheet after a barren run, it’s clear Pools lack a consistent threat in the final third.

You hope Toure can go on another strong scoring run but the fact of the matter is it’s one goal in seven matches for the forward, Nicke Kabamba is yet to get off the mark, second top scorer Liam Noble looks set to join Morpeth Town which leaves defender Peter Kioso as the side’s next top scorer on two along with Ryan Donaldson.

This risks being Pools’ downfall, while they have players who can pop up and score goals all over the pitch, those players need to actually do it and put teams to the sword.

14 games, 16th in the table, three points off the relegation zone and five off the play-offs – it has an awfully familiar feel about it.