HALF-TIME REPORT: Pools 1 Scunthorpe 0

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JONATHAN Franks scored Hartlepool United’s first goal of the season to give them a 1-0 lead over bottom-club Scunthorpe United at the break.

Pools were sharp out of the blocks and an Evan Horwood free-kick on six minutes brought sighs of despair from the home crowd as it dropped just inches wide of the upright with keeper Sam Slocombe well beaten.

Opposite number Scott Flinders was in trouble moments later when scrambling to reach Mike Grella’s 12-yard drag, but the ball was always bobbling wide and the score remained goalless.

Despite their lowly status as the division’s 24th-placed side, The Iron were inventive in the final third and fashioned a string of half openings with only some last-ditch defending denying them an opener.

But Pools were still enjoying the odd sight at goal and both Steve Howard and Tony Sweeney fired into the away fans behind the visiting target after working room for a shot on the fringe of the area.

Franks, however, did find the target on 23 minutes when he steamed onto Horwood’s far-post dink and the wideman made no mistake with a first-time smash into the bottom corner.

But Pools were lucky to take their lead into the break after a sloppy Neil Austin pass lead to a Scunthorpe corner.

From that delivery Niall Canavan got the better of Sam Collins before hammering a volley into the turf which bounced up onto Flinders’ crossbar before bouncing to safety.

There was still time for Franks to land a cross onto the head of Sweeney but his effort was straight at Slocombe.