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Vital Win For Hartlepool – Leaders Held

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There were two games in the Vanarama National League on Wednesday night and both had significance at either end of the table.

Macclesfield Town travelled to Kent to take on a Maidstone United side who were looking to make it three successive home wins at the Gallagher Stadium and continue their climb away from relegation danger.

The Silkmen were hoping to stretch their advantage over second-placed Sutton United to six points, but in the end, the spoils were shared after a 2-2 draw.

The visitors came close to opening the scoring early on but Elliott Durrell`s effort came back off a post.

Indeed, it was the Stones who drew first blood after 19 minutes when Joe Anderson`s powerfully-struck free-kick was parried by Macclesfield `keeper Shwan Jalal but the ball fell kindly for Alex Wynter to net the loose ball.

It looked as though it was going to be `one of those nights` for the Silkmen when Nathan Blissett hit the bar.

However, 7 minutes into the second half, the industrious Danny Whitaker grabbed the equaliser when he beat Lee Worgan from close range after a defensive mistake when Wynter collided with the keeper.

And then 15 minutes from time, the visitors took the lead with a fine goal from Durrell, who cut in and curled a lovely effort past Worgan.

It was the Stones` turn to berate their luck when Anderson hit the bar.

But Maidstone did manage to level matters in the 83rd minute, Anderson’s free-kick dropping in the box and sub Ross Lafayette finished neatly.

The evening`s other game was where BT Sport decided to take their cameras to show live the relegation `six-pointer` between Barrow AFC and Hartlepool United.

It was a crucial game for both sides, who started the game level on thirty-nine points – equal with Solihull Moors, who currently occupy the final play-off berth.

It ended with Pools – desperate to avoid back-to-back relegations – moving above the Cumbrians with a three-point advantage following a 2-1 win at the Furness Building Society Stadium.

The visitors started much the better as the Bluebirds showed a bit of early stage fright.

However, it was Barrow who did take the lead – against the run of play – after 18 minutes and it was joy for on-loan striker Luke James, who made almost 100 appearances for Hartlepool after coming through their youth ranks, as he was played in by Donovan Makoma to slot the ball under goalkeeper Scott Loach.

Crucially though, the visitors were back on level terms in first half injury-time when a long ball caused confusion in the Barrow box and the ball fell kindly for Conor Newton to beat Steve Arnold from a narrow angle.

Just 5 minutes after the break, Pools were in front with a goal from boss Carl Magnay, who showed his lads just how it`s done with an ambitious 35-yard drive that flew past Arnold.

And the visitors could have extended their lead with Michael Woods and sub Devante Rodney both going close, but it was a vital three points won.

It was Hartlepool`s first away win since October and a massive boost ahead of what could be a big week for the club, who are expected to be taken over by Raj Singh in the next few days.

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