Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Hartlepool Utd 2: Williams sparks super Pools

SECOND-half goals from Luke Williams and Andy Monkhouse secured a 2-0 win for Hartlepool United against Dagenham & Redbridge in Sky Bet League Two.

Both sides went into the half-time break unable to break the deadlock but a fine 30-yard dipping deflected volley from Williams opened the scoring in the 68th minute.

Monkhouse eventually doubled the lead in the 89th minute, with a low shot from six-yards out to seal the win and three vital points for Pools.

Pools boss Colin Cooper had made two changes to his team, with right-back Neil Austin had not recovered from a badly bruised toe and was replaced by Jordan Richards, back from a three-match suspension, while Marlon Harewood replaced on-loan Manchester United forward Jack Barmby in the starting eleven.

That meant Luke James partnered Harewood up front, with on-loan Middlesbrough forward Luke Williams playing just behind.

Sam Collins took over the captains armband from Austin, who had travelled with the squad.

Daggers dangerman Rhys Murphy started up front for the home side in the match at the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium.

Pools are currently 15th in Sky Bet League Two, with 35 points from 29 matches, while ninth-placed Dagenham & Redbridge are just two places outside the play-offs but eight points adrift.

Daggers started the game well with Murphy and Zavon Hines looking dangerous for the home side.

The first chance of the first-half came in the 10th minute after Hines broke free down the left wing, cut inside Richards and passed to Medy Elito who blasted high over the bar from 14 yards, despite having time and space to do better.

Pools then carved out their first opening in the 12th minute, Brad Walker and Andy Monkhouse combining well before Richards whipped in a fierce cross to James, who was free inside the penalty area but bundled his shot wide of the left post.

Then, three minutes later it was again James who had the chance to open the scoring but again he fired wide from a similar position.

Harewood had done well to close Daggers left-back Jack Connors down before Walker released James who should have hit the target but shot wide.

Murphy looped the ball over the bar in the 21st minute from nine yards when he should have done better for the home side at a blustery stadium.

Then Daggers’ Hines then tested Pools keeper Scott Flinders from distance but the stopper managed to get down and palm it past the post in the 23rd minute and from the resulting corner Lawson D’Ath saw a shot blocked by Collins.

Scott Doe entered the referee’s notebook just past the half-hour mark for a cynical foul on James to bring the 19-year-old down just past the halfway line, when he would have been in on goal.

Darren Holden, playing left-back, was then booked for Pools in the 37th minute for a foul on the left-hand flank.

From the resulting Hines free-kick to the far post, Luke Wilkinson headed the ball firmly against Flinders’ right-hand post but Luke Norris missed the rebound as the ball trickled wide of the left post.

It was a let off for Pools, who forced Chris Lewington into a diving save through Williams two minutes before the break.

Their was a frantic finish with Harewood finding himself in space six-yards out but unable to connect with the ball, while up the other end Hines nodded the ball just past the Pools post moments before referee Steven Rushton blew the half-time whistle.

HALF-TIME: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Pools 0

It was a pedestrian start to the second half from both sides and the first chance of any note didn’t materialise until the 54th minute.

First on-loan Middlesbrough defender Christian Burgess had to be on his guard to clear off the line from Murphy’s flicked effort, before seconds later Collins had to head the ball away from six-yards out.

Dagenham came out of the break showing more intent, but Pools edged their way back into the match.

In the 57th minute, James weaved in and out of Scott Doe but his pass across the box couldn’t find Walker and the ball was cleared.

Hines then tested Flinders from the edge of the box after the hour mark but the Pools keeper was able to gather the ball.

Murphy had a goal disallowed in the 65th minute, for a foul on Collins in the build-up, much to the disappointment of the home fans but it was the right decision.

And Pools took full advantage, taking the lead in the 68th minute courtesy of a deflected looping volley from Williams from around 30-yards.

It was fantastic technique from the 20-year-old forward, his first goal for Pools.

Holden had to be alert to divert a Hines shot from inside the penalty box wide of the post minutes later, as the Daggers threatened to crank up the pressure.

But Pools stood firm and Walker hit a shot straight at Lewington from 20-yards out as the game entered the final five minutes.

The three points were sealed for Pools in the 89th minute, Monkhouse finishing from six-yards through the defenders legs after an excellent knock down from James after a deep cross from Jonathan Franks, who had earlier come on for Harewood.

Pools had the better of the second half and in the end it was a deserved three points for Pools.

FULL-TIME: Dagenham & Redbridge 0 Pools 2

Hartlepool United (4-4-2): Flinders; Richards; Holden; Collins (C); Burgess; Walton; Walker; Monkhouse; Williams; Harewood (Franks, 71); James.

Subs: Rafferty; Sweeney; Hawkins; Compton; Rodney; Poole.

Booked: Holden.

Dagenham & Redbridge (4-3-3): Lewington; Hoyte; Connors (Shields, 84); Ogogo (C); Wilkinson; Doe; Elito; D’Ath; Murphy (Azeez, 75); Norris (Dickson, 75); Hines.

Subs: Seabright; Ilesanmi; Saah; Bingham.

Booked: Doe, Hines.

Referee: Steven Rushton (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 3,357 (196 Pools fans)