Hartlepool United 1 Eastleigh 2: Match report, Pools shot down by Spitfires

Rhys Oates puts ion a tackle. Picture by TOM BANKS
Rhys Oates puts ion a tackle. Picture by TOM BANKS

Hartlepool United's five-match unbeaten run in the National League came to a halt, sunk by two early second-half goals.

After a desperately drab first half, the game came to life with two Eastleigh goals inside six minutes.

Eastleigh skipper Callum Howe got the first when Pools culd not clear a corner and Mark Yeates doubled the tally with a stunning finish.

Sub Jack Munns pulled one back in the last minute with a fine finish from just outside the box.

Pools boss Craig Harrison was forced into a double change at the heart of his defence.

Keith Watson (knee) and Michael Ledger (back) were both ruled out with Harrison pairing Louis Laing and Liam Donnelly in between full-backs Carl Magnay and Nicky Deverdics.

Watson and Ledger have been at the centre, literally, of the club's transformation in fortunes and their absence came as a bitter blow to Harrison.

There was a return to the squad for Blair Adams, with the left-back named on the bench.

Harrison's injury woes though were nothing compared to those of opposite number, Richard Hill who was minus seven players.

However, his side still looked strong enough, packed with EFL experience, including Gary McHeffrey and Danny Hollands.

The Spitfires included for Pools loanee Andrew Boyce at the centre of defence.

To say little happened in the first 45 minutes would be an understatement.

Pools forced two corners and had one attempt at goal when Ryan Donaldson fired just over the bar in the 32nd minute after a nest four-man move.

There was a brief - very brief - scare at the Prostate Cancer UK stand six minutes from the break whemn Scott Loach clawed away an Andrew Boyce cross from under his crossbar, but the linesman's flag was up for offside anyway

The game needed a goal and it arrived in inside two minutes of the re-start, but it came from the Spitfires.

Loach did well to block following a McSheffery's free-kick but the corner led to the opener.

Pools could not deal with the ball into their near post and from the scramble. HOWE prodded home from very close range.

The hosts almost hit back immediately, Rhys Oates heading just wide from a Nicky Deverdics cross.

However, Eastleigh doubled their lead in the 52nd minute and if the first was a scramble the second was sublime, YEATES finishing superbly with a half-volley from the right side of the box.

Harrison made two changes, bringing on Conor Simpson and Devante Rodney and both were soon involved.

Rodney should have pulled one back in the 67th minute but Graham Stack made a great save while Simpson shot over moments later.

Pools were much better as the match wore on, it was a shame it took until being two down for it to come.

FULL-TIME

HARTLEPOOL UNITED 1

EASTLEIGH 2

Pools: Loach, Magnay, Laing, Donnelly, Deverdics, Featherstone, Hawkins (Rodney 58), Woods, Donaldson (Munns 77), Oates (Simpson 54), Franks.

Unused Subs: Richardson, Newton

Goal: Munns 90

Booked: Rodney 70

Eastleigh: Stack; Obileye, Johnson, Howe, Wood, Constable, Hollands (Strevens 69), Cavanagh, Yeates (Msatthews 78), McSheffrey, Zebroski

Unused Subs: Reid, Stearn

Goals: Howe 47, Yeates 52

Referee: Marc Edwards

Att: 3,374.