Hartlepool United 2 Doncaster Rovers 0: Michael Duckworth edges closer to first team return

Connor Smith in action for Hartlepool United's reserves
Connor Smith in action for Hartlepool United's reserves

Michael Duckworth edged closer to a first team return after helping Hartlepool United Reserves beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0.

Connor Smith and a Michael Carberry own goal ensured Pools’ second string, who beat Grimsby 2-1 in their last Final Third Development League outing, maintained their impressive form.

Jordan Richards was the first Hartlepool player to try his luck albeit his long-range effort sailed over the bar.

Brad Walker then showed good skill to get past his marker before setting up Kudus Oyenuga whose effort whistled just past the post.

Smith then made it 1-0 just before the break.

Duckworth - who hasn’t featured for the first team since December due to stomach muscle trouble - cut in from the right-hand side before finding Oyenuga, who then squared the ball to Smith who made no mistake in converting the opportunity.

The visitors started the second half strongly and were nearly back level, Lewis Collins shooting over.

Pools responded well and Josh Nearney nearly doubled the hosts advantage, the defender denied by Rovers goalkeeper Marko Marosi.

Hartlepool then started to dominate proceedings, and Nearney’s well executed pass freed Josh Laurent who showed good vision to find Oyenuga but he couldn’t finish.

Ryan Wanless nearly made the home side pay for their lack of cutting edge but his effort went over the bar after good defending from Ben Pollock.

Ebby Nelson-Addy almost produced a moment of magic but was denied by the inform Marosi after the shot stopper tipped the ball wide of the post.

Jordan Jewson then displayed some fine footwork on the right-wing, whipping in a low cross that defender Carberry could only turn into his own net to make it 2-0.

Pools: Catterick, Richards, Harrison, Pollock, D Jones (Nearney 50), Duckworth (Blackford 65), Green, Walker (Nelson-Addy 65), Laurent (Jewson 72), Oyenuga (Skidmore 72), Smith.