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Match Report

 

Posted Thu 21 Jun 12 at 22:58 PM

PNE 5 Hartlepool United 0

North End scored five as they thrashed Neale Cooper's Hartlepool United in style at Deepdale.

Two powerful first half strikes from Joel Byrom and Stuart Beavon were added to with second half header from Jack King and two late goals from Scott Laird.

Byrom set the night going with a left foot strike from 15 yards out, before Beavon blasted a 25 yard pile driver into the top right hand corner. King finished off a great PNE counter attack before Laird nodded in Stuart Beavon's corner and then scored wonderful individual goal to cap off a superb night. 

Manager Graham Westley made five changes to the side that had lost at home to Crawley Town 72 hours earlier. Goalscorer Paul Huntington was ruled out with an injury, Keane was also still out, but Club captain Mousinho returned on what was a powerful looking bench alongside Akpo Sodje and Jeffrey Monakana.

It meant a first League start for both Joel Byrom and David Amoo, who both played their parts in a first half that took a while to get going, but when it finally did saw North End play some exciting fluid football with goals to go with it.

Despite torrential showers during the afternoon, the pitch looked superb and nice and zippy for the Lilywhites to play their favoured brand of football on.

It was a contrast of styles in the first period with PNE passing the ball around, switching play as often as possible and Hartlepool playing a more direct game up to the dangerous Steve Howard in attack, but after a cagey opening quarter of an hour the game came to life.

First up skipper Nicky Wroe fired in a curler inches over the left hand apex of post and cross bar, following a spell of passing down the left by the Lilywhites. Then moments later a ball in from the left by Scott Laird was headed just past the left hand post by Chris Beardsley, partnering Stuart Beavon in attack.

The visitors too were looking threatening and had a series of set pieces. Neil Austin firing over three corners from the left hand side in front of the Town End. Excellent defending from Bailey Wright and two good punches from Steve Simonsen prevented any danger.

But the more the game went on the tighter North End took a grip of the play. On 24 minutes Shane Cansdell-Sherriff played a ball into the chest of Chris Beardsley. The frontman did well to hold it up and bring Stuart Beavon into the play. He then in turn fed the ball out to the right to David Amoo – the winger, who became more influential as the half went on – held the ball up to the back post and Beardsley managed to head it downwards, but wide of the left hand upright.

Shortly after the Lilywhites won their first corner, which would eventually lead to the opener. A poor back pass by Evan Horwood gave away the needless corner and Nicky Wroe played in a low outswinger to John Welsh on the edge of the box. The Liverpudlian, playing in an unfamiliar right back role, saw his shot blocked, as did Scott Laird.

However, the ball eventually found its way back out to the right hand side. Nicky Wroe collected it and played a clever ball through the legs of a defender into Beavon. North End’s No.29 turned and shot, Scott Flinders only able to palm out the 25 yard piledriver. 

It came back to Wroe who was in the box, but couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet and eventually it fell to Joel Byrom 15 yards out who blasted high into the top left hand corner with his left foot – a great way to mark his first start.

And just before the half hour mark it was two, with as sweet a strike as you’re likely to see. Stuart Beavon picked up the ball 30 yards out, drove forward and unleashed a right footed effort into the top right hand corner from 25 yards out – in complete contrast to the poachers goal he scored against Swindon on debut.

North End were by this stage zipping the ball about full of confidence, but still needed to guard against the danger of Steve Howard up the other end an Cansdell-Sherriff, the most experienced defender in the backline, was required to snuff out a chance for the former Leicester man on 33 minutes.

North End almost made it three on 36 minutes; David Amoo cutting in from right after a ball out by Byrom. His left footed curler from 25 yards dipped towards the top right hand corner, but Flinders tipped over for corner. Wroe’s deep corner found the unmarked Bailey Wright, who headed downwards and as it looked like Stuart Beavon would make it three, he flicked a header up and over the bar as his marker clattered into him, requiring treatment for a gash on his head. 

Just before the interval the manager needed to make a change as the hard-working Chris Beardsley appeared to be suffering with hamstring problem and was substituted - Jack King replacing him.

The visitors also made a change at the break, on loan Sunderland striker Craig Lynch introduced in a three-pronged forward line for Pools in a second half effort to get back into the game.

And on 50 minutes they had a glit-edged chance to halve the defecit as a corner from Jonathan Franks on the left was not dealt with and Andy Monkhouse had a chance three yards out to poke home, but only managed to put the ball over the bar.

Akpo Sodje replaced David Amoo just after the hour mark and he was only on four minutes as he watched North End make it three. It was the most simplistic but effective goal of the night as King won the ball in midfield, spread it to the right from the centre circle and set off on a run, Stuart Beavon went down the right and delivered deep to where King had made his way to and he headed downwards and it bounced up into the top right hand corner, simplicity and a perfect counter-attacking move rolled into one!

And the North End No.22 was inches away from a second and PNE's fourth at the midway point in the half as Sodje this time raced down the right before flashing a ball right across the six yard box towards the onrushing King, but he was inches away from converting.

From the corner that followed North End could and should have been awarded a penalty as Bailey Wright's past post header from Wroe deep cross was palmed out of play, but the referee saw nothing but gave another corner! Two more corner followed and from the last by Scott Laird, Sodje flashed a left foot volley an inch past the right hand post.

Skipper John Mousinho made a return to the action with 11 minutes left on the clock, replacing Joel Byrom, who would eventually earn the sponsors' man of the match.

With seven minutes to go North End's Scott Laird broke his much publicised goal drought. It was a corner from Nicky Wroe on the left and Laird came through a crowd of players to put a powerful header in at the near post to joyous celebrations from the No.3.

And as they say in cricket, one brings two and Laird scored North End's fifth with a fantastic individual goal. He picked up the ball 45 yards out in a left hand channel and drove at the heart of the Pools defence before unleashing a left footed drive into the bottom right hand corner... celebrated even more wildly by the Somerset-born full back.

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