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Hartlepool 1 Stanley 2

19 April 2016

Seamus Conneely and Tariqe Fosu were on target as Stanley moved into second spot in League Two with what could prove a vital victory at Hartlepool.

With other results going Accrington's way, the Reds jumped up two places and lead the chasing pack by a point with three games to go - and secured a place in at least the play-offs.

It was a dream start for the Reds at Victoria Park when a corner was only headed clear to Conneely on the edge of the box and he curled the ball into the far corner of the net with just over two minutes on the clock.

Billy Kee tried his luck from around 20 yards on 16 minutes but it was narrowly over the bar while Piero Mingoia also fired over from distance as the Reds dominated the early stages.

In their first meaningful attack on 25 minutes, Hartlepool equalised when a Jordan Richards corner was headed home by Rakish Bingham at the far post.

Stanley tried to bounce back immediately when Conneely put Josh Windass through but the front man dragged his effort wide.

At the other end it took a crucial tackle from Mark Hughes to stop Nathan Thomas – who had scored three goals in a week – racing through while wideman Thomas came close again with a cross/shot which wasn't far off sneaking in the far post.

It was a lively encounter and Stanley upped the pressure in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

In the 35th minute, Kee forced a diving save out of Trevor Carson and Adam Buxton fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

And Stanley took the lead in injury time of the first half when Windass hit the far post from the right and Reading loan winger Fosu was there to fire home the rebound for his second Stanley goal in his short loan spell.

There wasn't much goalmouth action in the opening 20 minutes of the second half until Hartlepool threatened when Thomas's free kick found the head of Matthew Bates and it was straight into the arms of Ross Etheridge.

Stanley came close to a third on 68 minutes when Fosu forced a superb save out of Carson and they were furious when Windass was booked for diving in the area when it seemed the defender had clipped him.

On 80 minutes, Tom Davies had a chance to make life a bit easier on the bench but headed narrowly wide from a Windass corner- however Stanley didn't need a third as they secured an important three points.

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