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Pool hang on after a fast and furious four minutes; HARTLEPOOL 2 NEWPORT 2.

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BHARTLEPOOL United, under Craig Hignett, appear to be setting their stall out to attack and entertain this season. The opening four minutes of this encounter brought more action and incident than some have witnessed in months.

Two goals and a sending-off, all by the time fewer than four minutes were on the clock.

Nicky Featherstone scored for Pool, Toto Nsiala was sent-off for handball and from the free-kick Sean Rigg levelled for the visitors.

Pool spent 87 minutes playing with 10 men and looked the most likely side to win the game as they created the better chances and openings.

"We started and wentin front, within 30 seconds they equalise and we are down to 10 men,'' said boss Craig Hignett.

"Then we are up against it for 87 minutes yet we were the better team, kept our shape and were disciplined.

"We had a good week being hard to beat and not giving teams easy chances.

"Nicky scored and it was a great goal, good play on the edge of the box and from then you think go on and press on.

"To give it away like we did, a straight ball, to misjudge it and then Toto, as the ball skids off the surface and goes past him, his natural reaction is to put his hand out.

"No doubt about it, a sending-off, but then for 87 minutes we play with 10 men and the lads put an unbelievable shift in.

"If you put effort in like that, the crowd will get behind you, they could see the effort the lads put in and they were with us.'' After four points from two away games, Pool expected more than one point from the following successive home matches.

However, while they were disappointed the week earlier in losing at home to Notts County, they left on Saturday with pride intact.

Three games without a win on home soil this season so far but the first one won't be long coming on this effort and application.

Visiting boss Warren Feeney admitted Pool were the better side and deserved to win it.

The opening goal was a fine effort as Pool passed their way through the defence for Nicky Featherstone to drill in only his second goal in 240 career outings.

However, from the restart, Nsiala was caught out and as the ball spun up off the surface he threw out an arm to stop it.

No doubt about the red card and the low free-kick from the edge of the area crept under the defensive wall and in.

Pool trailed with some fine skill from Jon Parkin, who pulled the ball down, turned and volleyed in from 25 yards.

The leveller was more simple as Padraig Amond, who played the majority of the game as a central midfielder after dropping deep, headed in from a corner.

Nsiala will miss Saturday's League Two game at Stevenage but can play in Wednesday's Checkatrade Trophy game at Notts County as new competition rules do not recognise the game as a first-team match.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Carson; Richards, Nsiala, Bates (Donnelly 75), Carroll; Alessandra, Featherstone, Woods, Thomas; Paynter (Harrison 57), Amond (Hawkins 81). Subs: Bartlett (gk), Oates, Deverdics, Laurent.

Goals: Featherstone 2, Amond 36 Sending-off: Nsiala NEWPORT COUNTY (4-4-2): Day; Bignot, Jones, Bennett, Butler; Jackson (Barnum-Bobb 76), Randall, Labadie (Tozer 64), Myrie-Williams (Compton 53); Parkin, Rigg. Subs: Bittner (gk), Owen-Evans, Sheehan, Green.

Goals: Rigg 4, Parkin 28 Booked: Jones Referee: Andy Haines (Newcastle) Attendance: 3,261.

CAPTION(S):

Hartlepool boss Craig Hignett saw Nicky Featherstone, inset, give his side a superb start
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 29, 2016
Words:607
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