The Non-League Football Paper - - FA CUP 1ST ROUND - By David Ram­sey

HARTLE­POOL boss Matthew Bates hailed his side’s de­fen­sive re­solve af­ter they dug deep to earn a pre­cious re­play against Gilling­ham.

Pools cap­tain Liam No­ble wasted the best chance to put his side into the sec­ond round for the fourth time in six years, shoot­ing straight at Gills goal­keeper To­mas Holy from 12 yards when un­marked in the box. But de­spite the frus­tra­tion of not com­plet­ing an un­likely smash-and-grab raid in Kent – Bates was more than sat­is­fied with the shift his side had de­liv­ered.

“We set up to frus­trate them with our shape and it worked,” he said. “To come away to a League One side, a team who have won two of their last three games 3-0 and 4-0, to limit them and then have the best chance of the game is very pleas­ing.”

Holy pro­duced a top save from Ryan Don­ald­son and was equal to Nicky Feather­stone’s shot from range.

Gilling­ham’s best chance came 15 sec­onds af­ter the break, but Bran­don Han­lan’s shot wide.

Gilling­ham man­ager Steve Lovell said: “They did their jobs bet­ter than we did ours to­day; that sums up the game.”

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