TWO Nicky Featherstone goals earned Hartlepool United a fourth successive home victory, the third in a row by the same 2-0 scoreline.

The midfielder’s second half strikes saw off poor opposition – who sit a point above Pools in the play-off chase.

Dave Challinor’s side are 11th in the National League table, one point behind Notts who occupy the final play-off spot.

The manager set his side a target of eight wins from their last 12 games. One down, seven to go.

But few will be as routine as this one.

Pools started sharply. Mark Kitching surged down the left and Gime Toure was denied by keeper Joe McDonnell. Ryan Donaldson blasted the follow up over.

Pools remained on top throughout the opening half and two blocks inside the away penalty area denied an opener.

Notts shifted to 4-5-1 from 4-4-2 to try and stifle Pools further and, after a defensive-minded half time change, Pools took the lead.

Featherstone floated a cross into the area and the ball sailed over the head of hapless keeper Joe McDonnell.

He was further embarrassed on the hour mark as Featherstone’s free-kick from the left curled into the far side of the net.


HARTLEPOOL UNITED (4-1-4-1): Killip; Southam-Hailes, Liddle, Odusina, Kitching; Featherstone; Toure (Keena 83), Shelton, Donaldson, Molyneux (Holohan 89); Harker (Mafuta 65). Subs: Hawkes, Anderson.

NOTTS COUNTY (4-4-2): McDonnell; Brindley, Rawlinson, Long, Kelly-Evans; Roberts (Osborne 81), Rose (Crawford 81), Doyle, Boldewijn; Wotton, Dennis (O’Brien 46). Subs: Bird, Bagan.

Referee: Ben Speedie (Liverpool)

Attendance: 3839