FULL-TIME REPORT: Hartlepool United 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2

NEAT FOOTWORK: Michael Duckworth in action against Wycombe Wanderers. Picture by FRANK REID
NEAT FOOTWORK: Michael Duckworth in action against Wycombe Wanderers. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United fell to a third successive League Two defeat at Victoria Park as Wycombe Wanderers emerged 2-1 victors.

Visiting substitute Max Kretzschmar proved the difference between the sides after coming from the bench during the interval to net a second-half double.

Pools did end a run of nine hours without a league goal when James Poole headed home in stoppage-time, but it was all too late for Colin Cooper’s men.

It started badly for the Pools boss when teenage midfielder Brad Walker was forced off with an ankle injury after just four minutes, Simon Walton his replacement.

And it wasn’t until the 17th minute that Pools fashioned the game’s first opening when Luke James, who had begun brightly, returned Jon Franks’ deep centre to the feet of strike partner Andy Monkhouse.

He controlled just eight yards out but was denied his first goal of the season when Leon Johnson blocked his low blast inside the goalmouth.

Jack Compton, on the left flank, then skipped by his full-back before dropping a cross to the far stick where Franks blazed over.

It was all Pools and Christian Burgess thought he had located the breakthrough when he hooked Jack Compton’s corner on target from close range, Wycombe defender Marvin McCoy somehow scrambling clear.

The visitors’ only moment of promise arrived just before the break when Sunderland loanee Billy Knott flashed a cross through the six-yard area.

But they had the lead within six minutes of the restart, substitute Kretzschmar smashing into the bottom corner from fully 25 yards after Pools had failed to deal with the danger from a routine throw-in.

It was nearly two when skipper Stuart Lewis broke free in the area but his volley was gloved to safety by Scott Flinders.

But on 69 minutes the Chairboys did double their advantage, Kretzschmar breaking clear after Matty Dolan had surrendered possession and the midfielder did not pass up the chance of a second, dinking beyond Flinders in confident fashion.

Dolan tried to make amends for that error when curling a 20-yard free-kick narrowly wide on 83 minutes, but it was the first time the hosts had threatened in the second half.

Monkhouse then fired wide from 12 yards and Kretzschmar stubbed the wrong side of the post from close range when in pursuit of his hat-trick.