Full Time report: Hartlepool United 0-1 Southend United

Marlon Harewood in action for Hartlepool United against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID
Marlon Harewood in action for Hartlepool United against Southend United. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United stayed outside the bottom two – despite falling to a single-goal defeat to Southend United.

It ended a six-game unbeaten but with the entire bottom five losing today they remained third from bottom.

The killer goal came in the 53rd minute when Will Atkinson had too much time and room in the home box to fire in from 12 yards.

Pools, with Scott Harrison pushed up front, dominated the later stages.

Brad Jones hit the cross bar while sub Lewis Hawkins went close with an overhead kick deep into stoppage time.

Pools suffered an early blow when they lost Jordan Hugill in the opening stages.

The on-loan striker went down after a collision with an away defender near the Cyril Knowles Stand touchline.

After treatment it seemed he may need stitches but the bench told Harewood to get ready and in the sixth minute the former West Ham striker was sent on.

Harewood made an instant impact, winning his first two aerial challenges and looking hungry for a piece of the action.

But for all that, the best early chance fell to the Shrimpers.

Stephen McLaughlin, Barry Corr and Will Atkinson combined to open up the defence but Corr went wide with the goal gaping.

Harewood was causing Southend problems and while his ninth-minute cross was not a good one, Brad Walker kept possession and his delivery was a good one but Aaron Tshibola was muscled out of it by two Shrimpers defenders.

Southend had the first corner in the 15th minute from which Cian Bolger had a free header but the centre-half’s attempt went high over the bar at the Rink End.

Scott Flinders was called into action twice, saving low attempts by Atkinson and Corr.

Pools were playing well and they had a pop at goal in the 26th minute but Nicky Featherstone shot over from the edge of the box.

And Moore’s side kept pressing with Scott Harrison sending over a good cross but the linesman’s flag went up for offside with Harewood and Tshibola in good positions in there six-yard box.

Tshibola then fired miles wide after good interplay with Harewood.

And it was Harewood who went closest with Pools in the five added minutes of stoppage time in an injury-interrupted first half.

He did well to make half a yard of room on the edge of the D and his hard, right-foot drive brought a diving save by Dan Bentley down to his left.

Half-time

Pools 0

Southend United 0

Pools made a bright start to the second half and went agonisingly close to taking a 48th minute lead but Walker’s left-foot shot was wide of Bentley’s right-hand post.

And they threatened again when Harewood and Michael Duckworth had sight of goal but neither would have a crack with their left boot.

But after all the encouragement came a hammer blow at the other end in the 53rd minute.

Pools made a hash of trying to clear the box and the ball fell invitingly for ATKINSON whose right-foot shot from 12 yards nestled in the back of Flinders net.

It did not deter Pools and on the hour, Harrison played a good cross but Tshibola could not make a clean connection with his header.

And the relegation fighters thought they had an equaliser in the 65th minute.

Harewood won a corner off Adam Barrett and when the ball came in, Jones let fly with his left foot with the ball crashing down off the crossbar.

Pools fans screamed for the goal but neither the referee or his assistant were moved.

Franks looked to be in on goal a minute later but full-back John White nipped in to intercept.

Pools almost gifted Southend a second when Mirfin’s weak header back towards Flinders let in Corr but the Shrimpers striker could not get his shot on target.

The final 15 minutes were all Pools but for all they huffed and puffed they could not blow the Southend door down.

They won a succession of corners but they were unable to stretch Bentley in the away goal.

Pools had a chance in the last minute when Harewood outmuscled Ben Coker and Barrett but his shot went wide of the target.

And Harewood was causing problems again when he bore down on a flick on from Harrison and a combination of Bentley and Bolger cleared.

The keeper needed lengthy treatment and deep in stoppage time Pools went so close when sub Luke Hawkins overhead kick went just wide of Bentley’s right upright.

Full-time

POOLS 0

SOUTHEND UTD 1