TT MATCH PREVIEW
Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Hartlepool United versus Torquay United
Venue: Victoria Park
Date: Saturday 31st October 2020
Current Form (all competitions):
Hartlepool: W – W – W – D – W – D
Torquay: L – W – W – W – W – W
Leading scorers (all competitions):
Hartlepool: Ryan Johnson, David Parkhouse & Gavan Holohan – 2
Torquay: Danny Wright – 3
Head to Head:
Hartlepool: 28 Draw: 24 Torquay: 29
Last time the two teams met: Saturday 31st August 2019, Torquay United 1 Hartlepool United 2 – National League
On the 28th anniversary of the death of former Gulls’ manager Cyril Knowles, Hartlepool United edged out Torquay United in the battle of two of his former clubs.
Jason Kennedy gave Pools a first half lead before Jamie Reid equalised early in the second half with his fifth goal of the campaign, before right-back Peter Kioso secured three points from their longest away trip of the season with ten minutes to go, as Hartlepool made it back to back wins following their Bank Holiday Monday victory over Wrexham.
Hartlepool enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and went close in the 13th minute when a cross from Liam Noble – who netted a brace against Wrexham – took a looping deflection off Jake Andrews and hit the bar and bounced to safety.
Three minutes later, Pools were in front when Kennedy nodded home after the Gulls defence failed to clear their lines following a corner from Noble.
Indeed, Pools looked to add to their lead and on 23 minutes Gime Toure appeared to have doubled their advantage from close range – after Kioso’s initial effort hit the post – but it was ruled out for offside.
Whatever Johnson said to his players at half-time appeared to have had the desired effect as Torquay levelled matters on 51 minutes when Liam Davis made an overlapping run and played a one-two with Armani Little, before picking out Reid, who found the target with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The Gulls then had goalkeeper Lucas Covolan to thank for keeping the scores level in the 70th minute when he produced a point-blank save to deny Pools defender Fraser Kerr, who connected with a free-kick from deep from Noble.
With ten minutes to go, Hartlepool restored their advantage as Toure teed up Kioso for an angled effort that he fired home past Covolan, a strike that ultimately proved to be decisive.
Manager: Dave Challinor
Dave Challinor was appointed as the new first team manager of Hartlepool United in November 2019, succeeding Craig Hignett in the dug-out at Victoria Park.
He arrived at Hartlepool on the back of a long and hugely successful spell as boss at AFC Fylde, during which he oversaw The Coasters’ impressive elevation through the footballing pyramid, which saw him take them from the Northern Premier League Division One North to the National League.
Challinor began his playing days with Tranmere Rovers where he came through the ranks to develop in to a hugely popular centre-back at Prenton Park. Whilst with Tranmere he caught the eye due to his enormous throw-in – in 1998 he claimed the World Record for the longest thrown when he hurled a ball 46.34 metres to beat the record held by Andy Legg. Challinor enjoyed success with Tranmere, playing for them in the 2000 League Cup Final, before Stockport County stumped up a fee of £120,000 to take him to Edgeley Park in January 2002.
After a couple of seasons with the Hatters he was allowed to join Bury on loan in January 2004 and he made that move to Gigg Lane a permanent one in the summer which followed. He was installed as club captain at Bury and spent four years there before a knee injury forced him to retire from professional football at the end of the 2007-08 campaign.
Challinor was able to play part-time and became skipper of Colwyn Bay with whom he reached the play-offs two seasons in succession and secured promotion in 2010, after which he was appointed as player-manager of the club.
His first season as manager saw The Bay finish runners-up in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and they triumphed in the play-offs to be promoted to National League North.
It was in November 2011 that Challinor was tempted away to join AFC Fylde as boss and his magic touch continued as they were promoted from Northern Premier League Division One North as champions in his first season in charge.
The Coasters made it to the play-offs in the second season under his watch, while also making it through to the First Round Proper of the FA Cup.
They went one better in the 2013-14 campaign when Fylde won the play-offs to take their place in National League North. In 2016-17 there was more joy for Challinor and the Fylde supporters as they clinched another promotion as Champions of National League North and he led the club in to the fifth tier for the first time in their history.
He then led them a third place finish in the National League in the 2017-18 season, only to fall in the play-offs. In the following 2018-19 season, he led the Coasters to Wembley twice where they won the FA Trophy and lost to Salford City in the National League play-off final.
One to watch: Gavan Holohan
Gavan Holohan joined the Pools in February 2019 on a short-term deal until the end of the season after impressing during a trial.
Having come through the ranks with Kilkenny in his native Ireland, Holohan was picked up by Hull City in 2008 and he went on to spend the next four years with The Tigers, captaining their youth team.
Upon his release he signed for Alfreton Town but returned to Ireland in 2013 to join Drogheda United where his form in the engine room earned him a move to Cork City.
A box-to-box midfielder who is capable of scoring and creating goals, Holohan most recently spent time with Galway United and Waterford before returning for another crack at English football with Pools. A run of seven appearances that saw him find the back of the net once helped to earn him a new deal in the summer of 2020.
Lewis Cass – Ryan Johnson – Timi Odusina – David Ferguson
Nicky Featherstone – Mark Shelton
Luke Molyneux – Gavan Holohan – Ryan Donaldson
Ben Wynter – Kyle Cameron – Sam Sherring – Dean Moxey
Aaron Nemane – Asa Hall- Adam Randell – Ben Whitfield
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