Last-gasp miss has Pools still on the up
INJURY-TIME goals – and a last kick of the match miss – eased Hartlepool United’s relegation fears.
While York and Stevenage both lost dramatically to Wimbledon and Northampton respectively, Pools were taking a point at Crawley.
But they too were so close to being deflated at the death. Crawley substitute Gavin Tomlin crossed from the left, and big centre-half Sonny Bradley dropped to head the ball home. He was a certain scorer, but somehow planted the chance wide.
Referee David Coote immediately blew for fulltime and Pools escaped, extending their advantage over second-bottom York to nine points, with two games in hand and a far better goal difference.
Stevenage are now two points behind Pools.
This was Pools’ second 0-0 away draw of the week, after a point at Newport.
The improvement under new boss Craig Hignett has been impressive and he said: “It’s been two tough away games, we showed first half here a lot and what a good team we are.
“We played good stuff, gave them a lot to think about.
“This was another clean sheet and a good defensive display when we need it. Last header, they could have scored, so I’ll take a point, but the way we went about it second half we could have won it.
“They put us under pressure last ten, we dug in and got a point. The ball came across and we thought, here we go. But the luck went our way and maybe it’s changing.'”
Pools had the game’s only first-half chances, both coming when Nathan Thomas went close within a minute.
First he curled a shot wide from 20 yards, before a second shot from similar range was deflected wide.
He later saw a shot tipped onto the crossbar by ‘keeper Paul Jones after Jake Gray got the ball tangled between his feet in the penalty area.
Crawley’s best chance – before the lastgasp miss – came when debutant Liam McAlindon broke from halfway and ‘keeper Trevor Carson smartly saved.
Home boss Mark Yeates said: “It was a bit fortuitous at times, but maybe a point if a fair result.
“It was tough first half, they had a couple of decent strikes from outside the box, but without testing the ‘keeper.
“I just wanted that bit extra second half, we had a bit more in the tank to give. They had chances second-half, Jones made a save onto the bar and then we started impose ourselves in the game and we made substitutions to do that.
“But it was tough out there, we want to dictate play and press the opposition, but we couldn’t do that.’’
STAR MAN JAKE CARRO