Classy Kennedy scores first senior goals as Stevenage defeat Hartlepool United

Andy Bond

Andy Bond - Credit: Archant

Match report: Hartlepool United 1 Stevenage 3

Ben Kennedy’s first goals in senior football handed Stevenage a first win in five matches.

The teenage striker struck twice in the second half as a confident and controlling Boro side kept within touching distance of the League 2 play-off places with a win against basement side Hartlepool United.

With injuries continuing to blight Stevenage, they made five changes to the side that drew with Bury midweek including replacing three of the four defenders – Darius Charles, Ronnie Henry and Jon Ashton – who featured in that match.

Charlie Lee and Bruno Andrade also missed out, with both on the bench, while in came Bira Dembele, Dean Parrett, Roarie Deacon and Kennedy.

There was also a first start for the club for Dave Martin, the former ex-Luton Town winger who signed for the club ahead of the game on a free transfer.

Hartlepool started with a high tempo, with runners from midfielder supporting Marvin Morgan and Marlon Harewood in attack, but it was Boro who had the better chances of the first half.

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First, Dean Wells got on to the end of a free-kick only to flick it wide of goal. Then, with Martin pulling the ball back from the left, Kennedy fired wide under pressure from a defender.

Stevenage took the lead with a little over five minutes left of the first half, and it came from the boot of debutant Martin.

Bond sent in a cross from the right, and with time to adjust his body the winger struck the ball with his left boot across Scott Flinders for the opening goal.

Buoyed by their first, Stevenage almost had a second moments later but Parrett headed wide after Kennedy had sent in a tempting cross from the left.

Hartlepool made a change at half-time with Scott Fenwick coming on for Marlon Harewood, and three minutes after the interval the substitute composed himself after almost losing his footing to fire low past Day to give his side the equaliser.

The home supporters sensed a turnaround in fortunes for their side, but within two minutes they were behind once again when Kennedy, unmarked, nodded past Flinders with a bullet header from 12 yards.

It was the striker’s first goal in senior football, but just moments later the teenager had his second.

This time he found himself on the edge of the box with just Flinders to beat, and although the goalkeeper got a hand to his shot the ball bounced into the net with a chasing defender unable to stop it from crossing the line.

It was a deserved win from Graham Westley’s side, and up next is a home match against promotion hopefuls Southend United at the Lamex Stadium next weekend.

Hartlepool United: Flinders, Duckworth, Harrison, Mirfin, Austin, Franks, Woods, Tshibola, Compton, Harewood (Fenwick 46), Morgan (J Jones 75). Subs: Maxted, Walker, Featherstone, Richards, D Jones.

Stevenage: Day, Dembele, Bond, Wells, Deacon, Whelpdale, Walton, Parrett (Lee 77), Martin (Andrade 73), Kennedy (D Johnson 89), Beardsley. Subs: Beasant, R Johnson, Pett, Zola.

Ref: S Martin

Att: 3,388 (72)