HALF-TIME REPORT: Pools 0 Crawley 1

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ANOTHER lacklustre display from Hartlepool United sees them trailing 1-0 after 45 minutes at home to Crawley Town.

Hope Akpan fired the half's only goal on 14 minutes but Richie Barker's men will be disappointed not to have added to their advantage.

Pools were without skipper Peter Hartley and veteran midfielder Paul Murray for the visit of the fourth-placed Reds, both having picked up knocks during the midweek defeat at Leyton Orient.

In came Sam Collins and Simon Walton, while James Poole replaced Ritchie Humphreys.

Crawley started the stronger of the sides but were unable to fashion any clear openings despite their early dominance.

And so it was that Ryan Noble was first to threaten, sliding infield from the left before blasting narrowly over the visiting goal from 20 yards.

But it came as no surprise when Crawley seized a 14th-minute lead, Akpan smashing Walton's soft headed clearance back into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Rather than rest on their advantage the Red Devils went in search of a second and Jonathan Forte was thwarted by the gloves of Scott Flinders when he spun and levelled on goal from 12 yards.

Michael Jones was next to waltz through the home backline but he skewed horribly wide from the angle of the six-yard area.

That prompted a smattering of groans among the home crowd and they were again evident as the first-half wore on with little sign of improvement from the hosts.

And Flinders was again called upon just before the break when Gary Alexander drew another smart save from Flinders as he went airborne to claw from the top corner.