HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0 STEVENAGE 1

Andy Monkhouse sends this header crashing against the Stevenage cross bar. Picture by FRANK REID
Andy Monkhouse sends this header crashing against the Stevenage cross bar. Picture by FRANK REID
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WHEN three players are struck down with injury on the eve of the game and your goalkeeper is sent off within seven minutes, you must get the feeling your name isn’t, to borrow the footballing phrase, “on the cup”.

In the build up to this one Mick Wadsworth had spoken about some of his fonder FA Cup memories – chief amongst which was a game racked with ill fortune, Newcastle United’s 2-1 semi-final loss to Chelsea when he was assistant to Sir Bobby Robson.

Bad luck, it seems, is a recurring theme at present – remember Peter Hartley’s goal that never was at Leyton Orient last weekend and Paul Murray’s soft sending off?

Within one devastating hour on Friday Wadsworth watched in disbelief from the sidelines at Maiden Castle as James Brown, Sam Collins and Colin Nish all succumbed to injury.

For Brown, a player beset with misfortune in the fitness stakes, it was a double blow, for he had been set to win his first start of the season.

As it was, Wadsworth shuffled his pack, hoping no doubt that events of matchday would deal him a better hand.

Such optimism, however, was to prove in vain.

Within seven minutes Flinders was off.

Gary Liddle, so mystifyingly out of form of late, dwelt dozily in possession 25 yards out allowing John Mousinho to steal.

A slipped through ball sent Chris Beardsley clear and, having nicked the ball wide of Flinders, he flopped over the outstretched arms of the exposed gloveman.

Read Craig Hope’s full match report on Pools’ FA Cup exit in today’s Sportmail.