HALF-TIME MATCH REPORT: Dagenham & Redbridge v Hartlepool United in Sky Bet League Two

Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against York City. Photograph by FRANK REID

Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against York City. Photograph by FRANK REID

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HARTLEPOOL United go into the half-time break drawing 0-0 with Dagenham & Redbridge in their Sky Bet League Two clash.

It was an entertaining opening 45 minutes, with half-chances for both sides, but neither team could find the back of the net, although the Daggers did hit the upright.

Pools boss Colin Cooper made two changes to his team, with right-back Neil Austin not recovering from a badly bruised toe and he 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.

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 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 after bringing 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

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

Subs: Rafferty; Franks; Poole; Barmby; Compton; Sweeney; Rodney.

Booked: Holden.

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

Subs: Seabright; Ilesanmi; Saah; Bingham; Dickson; Shields; Azeez.

Booked: Doe.

Venue: London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Stadium

Referee: Steven Rushton (Staffordshire)