A DOUBLE from Jonathan Franks was enough to see Hartlepool United into the second round of the FA Cup after a 2-0 win over East Thurrock United.
It wasn’t pretty but Pools deserved the win with Rocks keeper David Hughes making several smart saves to keep the scoreline down at Victoria Park.
Franks opened the scoring with a 32nd minute strike from 25-yards out, a well-hit finish.
It came at just the right time and helped settle the nerves as John Coventry’s side had begun to grow in confidence.
Franks’ second - a header on the line - in the 86th minute sealed Pools’ passage into the second round.
Murray made three changes to his Hartlepool United side for the first round FA Cup match at home to non-league East Thurrock United, who
On-loan duo Charlie Wyke and Scott Harrison were not been allowed to play by their parent clubs Middlesbrough and Sunderland, respectively.
In came Dan Jones at left-back, with Neil Austin partnering Sam Collins and Jordan Richards on the right wing.
Dutch winger Sidney Schmeltz also made his first start for Pools, replacing Michael Woods who was benched.
A place in the second round of the competition and £18,000 in prize money was up for grabs at Victoria Park between fourth tier Pools and seventh tier Rocks from the Ryman Premier League.
After a poignant minute’s silence held in recognition of Remembrance weekend, there was a lively start to proceedings.
Mitchell Gilbey hit the upright for Rocks after playing a nice one-two on the edge of the area, with Scott Flinders beaten in the 10th minute.
It was a let-off for Murray’s side, who then went straight up in the other end and forced Hughes into a smart save from a close range Jonathan Franks shot.
After a frantic start, the play settled but Pools struggled to break down their non-league opposition.
Coventry’s Rocks side looked dangerous on the break, with defender Paul Goodacre causing Flinders problems with a shot from 35-yards plus.
The longer the game went on, the more Rocks grew in confidence.
But Pools got the breakthrough in the 32nd minute, thanks to a sublime Franks strike.
Michael Duckworth played in Franks on the half-way line, the forward then burst through the middle before unleasing a low, fizzing shot past Hughes into the bottom left-hand corner of the net from 25-yards.
It should have been 2-0 in the 40th minute but Harewood was denied twice by Hughes within seconds, first from a well-struck shot and then from a close range header.
Half Time: Pools 1 East Thurrock 0
Pools carved out the clearer chances in the opening stages of the second-half.
Midfielder Nicky Featherstone was allowed time to run through the heart of the Rocks defence but his shot was comfortably dealt with Hughes.
Walker went within inches of doubling the lead, fizzing a controlled shot from 30-yards just inches over the Rocks crossbar on the hourmark.
Two minutes later and Walker was again involved, playing in Duckworth but his shot inside the area was saved and Schmeltz couldn’t convert the follow-up.
The Rocks then enjoyed a spell of pressure, with Pools on the backfoot and the crowd getting restless and cagey inside the Vic.
Higgins bustled his way into the area but his low shot was comfortably saved by Flinders.
Pools needed a second goal to calm the nerves.
Murray then withdrew Schmeltz in the 73rd minute, with Michael Woods coming on in his place.
It was hard going in the second-half, with both sides struggling to carve out clear chances.
That was until the 79th minute, when Harewood played in Franks who had the goal gaping.
But keeper Hughes got across well to deny the forward his second goal of the match.
The tension-relieving second finally came in the 86th minute, Harewood’s cross was spilled by Hughes and Franks nodded the ball in on the line to seal the win.
Full-Time: Pools 2 East Thurrock 0
Pools (4-4-2): Flinders (C), Duckworth, Collins, Austin, Jones, Richards, Featherstone, Walker, Franks, Schmeltz (Woods, 73), Harewood.
Subs Not Used: Holden, Bates, Hawkins, Smith, Green, Crooks.
Goal: Franks (32, 86)
Booked: Duckworth (58)
East Thurrock United (4-4-2): Hughes, Peddie, Wood, Goodacre, Stephen (C), Witherspoon (Symons, 87), Parmenter, Bryant (Sammons, 80), Smith, Gilbey (Harris, 65), Higgins.
Subs Not Used: Anderson, Paxman, Burton.
Booked: Higgins (52) Harris (70)
Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire)
Attendance: 2,800 (104 East Thurrock)