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18:31 9th October 2011

Notts Put Three Past Pools

Notts County put three past Hartlepool United this afternoon to take all three points.

Karl Hawley put in a Man of the Match performance and added another two goals to his tally, following his midweek strike. His finishes came either side of the break, the first a volley on 29 minutes and the second a delightful chip in the 55th.

Cristian Montano came off the bench to round off the scoring with a great hit from distance. This ensured that Martin Allen's side climbed into the Play-Off places.

The Sky television cameras were in attendance for the match, which gave both teams an opportunity to move into the top six. Neither had been beaten during September, but came into the game on the back of a defeat eager to bounce back and keep up the momentum.

Defensive duo Mike Edwards and Krystian Pearce recovered from their midweek knocks, and Ben Burgess returned from a knee injury to partner Hawley in attack. Lee Hughes came through a late fitness test to take up a spot on the bench.

Nolberto Solano's cross from the right almost put the visitors ahead within two minutes of kick-off. Antony Sweeney rose at the back post but his downward header was fisted away by Stuart Nelson.

Burgess caused the Pools a few problems early on with his aerial dominance. From one of his headed flick-ons, Hawley laid the ball into the path of Jeff Hughes, who volleyed wide from the edge of the box.

On 16 minutes, the away stopper, Scott Flinders, was tested for the first time. Edwards' cross from the left flank was met by Hawley's header and forced Flinders to claim well under his crossbar.

Notts maintained possession well, after primarily utilising Burgess in the early stages, and were unlucky not to break the deadlock on numerous occasions. Alan Sheehan's in-swinging delivery saw Alan Judge's finish gathered and Burgess cleared the bar from 25 yards.

Hawley, who netted his first of the season in the midweek Johnstone's Paint Trophy loss the Chesterfield, made it two in as many games in the 29th minute. Hartlepool had failed to clear Edwards' long throw and Burgess fired across goal, allowing Hawley to find the bottom corner with a sideward volley.

Karl Hawley

Burgess and Hawley combined twice more within minutes of the Magpies taking the lead to great effect. Burgess' headers were met by his strike partner in good positions and Flinders had to produce two difficult saves.

The closest the visitors came to levelling before the break was through Paul Murray's long-range header, which skidded just past the post. At the other end, Notts could have doubled their lead when Jeff Hughes' shot almost found the corner.

County continued to look sharp after the interval and Alan Sheehan's out-swinging corner was almost turned into his own net by Sweeny, only for his goalkeeper to tip over. Flinders later had to gather low on his line to keep out Julian Kelly's placed attempt.

10 minutes into the second period, Burgess nodded Pearce's targeted pass behind the Pools' backline. Hawley chased, holding off his marker, Peter Hartley, and lifted over Flinders to make it 2-0.

Karl Hawley

Meadow Lane rocked, everyone delighted for Hawley, who had waited almost two years for a goal and now had three inside six days. The frontman was moved into midfield shortly after the goal, after Lee Hughes replaced Judge.

The Magpies dictated the play for the majority of the second period, though there were limited goal-scoring chances. This didn't seem like it was going to change in the final 10 minutes, as they played possession football.

Ben Burgess received a deserved standing ovation when Montano replaced him late on. It was the West Ham loanee's final game in a Notts shirt and the home support gave him a vocal introduction.

With two minutes remaining, Hartlepool had two good opportunities to make it a nervy finish for Notts. Colin Nish came close with a header and Nelson had to rush off his line to deny Gary Liddle with a fine block, after the ball had broke for the midfielder inside the area.

The game was put to bed by Montano during five minutes of added time, when he drove powerfully inside the post from outside the area. It was a fitting close to the attacker's two months with the club and he celebrated with Lee Hughes' trademark dance.

Attendance: 6,172 (284 away supporters)

Man of the Match, sponsored by Chino Latino: Karl Hawley

Chino Latino

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.