Hartlepool United's impressive 2-2 comeback draw at Exeter City analysed as Dave Challinor secures place in FA Cup third round draw

For the first time in four seasons, Hartlepool United can look forward to being in the third round draw of the FA Cup – but they didn’t do it the easy way!

Sunday, 1st December 2019, 5:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st December 2019, 5:37 pm
Hartlepool United's Nicke Kabamba runs away to celebrate after scoring their second and equalising goal during the FA Cup match between Exeter City and Hartlepool United at St James' Park, Exeter on Sunday 1st December 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Hartlepool United's Nicke Kabamba runs away to celebrate after scoring their second and equalising goal during the FA Cup match between Exeter City and Hartlepool United at St James' Park, Exeter on Sunday 1st December 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

For the second time in the space of a week, Pools came from 2-0 down to earn a well deserved draw following a spirited second half display at Exeter City.

A simple Ryan Bowman header and a close range strike from Nigel Atangana put The Grecians in a commanding position going in at half-time.

The League Two outfit were showing the gulf in class between the two sides at St. James' Park.

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But as dominant as Exeter were in the first half, things turned around completely after the break as Pools emerged on the front foot and started to create several decent chances as the half wore on.

The hosts still had opportunities to put the game to bed, the best of which came on the 70-minute mark as Ben Killip made a quite outstanding triple save to somehow keep the score at 2-0.

Moments like that can change games and that certainly proved to be the case as less than a minute later the visitors had pulled a goal back in stunning fashion.

Just like at Boreham Wood last weekend, Nicky Featherstone popped up to fire an unstoppable strike into the top left corner of the goal to make it 2-1.

Pools had momentum behind them and around five minutes later they were level as Kenton Richardson’s strike was fumbled by former Pools goalkeeper Jonny Maxted as Nicke Kabamba reacted quickest to make it 2-2.

Pools more than deserved to be level after a far more convincing second half display and they could have potentially gone on to win the game as well as they continued to push for a winner late on.

But 2-2 is how it finished as we now face a replay back at Victoria Park a week on Tuesday.

First, Monday night’s third round draw will take place with Pools and Exeter being ball 52.

It’s now five games unbeaten for Dave Challinor as manager and in that time we’ve seen 23 goals scored. It’s certainly been entertaining!