With having games Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, if I was going to miss a game, it would have been tonight. I had thought about giving it a miss, but when offered a lift I opted for it. I’ll be at games tomorrow and Thursday, and then I’m down in Leeds on Friday before Easington on Saturday. It’s quite busy! The two occasions I have watched Exeter have been quite momentous games. The first time I watched Exeter at Hartlepool was when I was in the press box. I was up there with pen and paper while everyone else had laptops etc. The second time I watched Exeter, and most recent with it being 2015, was when Hartlepool won 2-1 to avoid relegation to the then Conference.
Pools book FA Cup third round spot with victory over Exeter
Hartlepool United booked their spot in the third round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win at home to Exeter City on Tuesday night.
Josh Hawkes’ 93rd minute goal proved the difference between the two sides after extra time.
To put further misery on Exeter’s night, Jack Sparkes was sent off in the 113th minute.
The result means Hartlepool face a trip to Oxford United in the third round.
Following a cagey start, it was Exeter who created the first real chance as Ryan Bowman worked the ball to Lee Martin who fired narrowly wide.
As Pools settled into the game, Mark Kitching and Ryan Donaldson both had chances come and go.
Clear-cut chances were at somewhat of a premium as the first half wore on, but Hartlepool’s Ben Killip was forced into a save to deny Martin shortly before the break.
Just before the break, Hartlepool almost took the lead in bizarre circumstances. A Hartlepool cross dropped at the back post and Pierce Sweeney opted to knock the ball back towards his goalkeeper. However, he was only a couple of yards away from former Hartlepool ‘keeper Jonny Maxted who was forced into a good reaction save to prevent Sweeney from scoring an own goal.
Early in the second half, Exeter’s Bowman forced a smart from Killip, before Hawkes fired over at the other end.
Substitute Nicke Kabamba then had a half chance for Pools, before Hawkes’ had an effort crucially blocked.
It was a tight competitive game throughout, and it didn’t look as if a goal was on its way for either side.
Gime Toure was next to go close for Pools, before Jake Taylor had an effort crucially blocked at the other end.
A crucial block at the other end prevented Hawkes, and extra time did look the most likely outcome.
With just three minutes remaining, Nicky Law teed up Alex Fisher for the visitors, but his low shot failed to find the target.
Extra time it was.
Pools couldn’t have hoped for a better start to extra time as they broke the deadlock in the 93rd minute. The ball was worked to Toure who turned on the edge of the penalty area and he picked out Hawkes. He took aim with a quick effort, and his high shot darted past Maxted and into the far top corner.
Having taken the lead, Pools looked to manage the game.
Exeter came at them and Law forced a good save from Killip, before Tom Parkes headed wide for the Grecians.
In the second period of extra time, Exeter kept trying for an equaliser, but they couldn’t create any chances as Hartlepool defended well.
And, in the 113th minute, their task was made even harder when they were reduced to 10 men. Sparkes stopped a dangerous break with a cynical foul, and the referee had no option but to show him a second yellow card.
In the closing minutes, Pools saw the game out well to book their spot in round three.
Full-time: Hartlepool United 1-0 AET Exeter City
Next up for me is Jarrow FC vs Easington Colliery tomorrow night.
Hartlepool United: Killip, Richardson, Kerr, Raynes, Kitching, Mafuta, Featherstone, Hawkes (Crichlow-Noble, 103′), Donaldson (c), James (Kabamba, 59′), Toure (Holohan, 115′)
Unused subs: Muir, Kennedy, Grey, Shepherd
Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney, Aaron Martin, Parkes, Richardson (Williams, 56′), Collins, Taylor (c) (Moxey, 92′), Law, Sparkes, Bowman (Atangana, 81′), Lee Martin (Fisher, 62′)
Unused subs: Visser, Jay, Seymour
Admission: £15 adults, £10 over 60s, £5 under 19s
Attendance: 2,398 (69 from Exeter)
Referee: Scott Oldham