Hartlepool Utd 1 AFC Wimbledon 0: Adam Jackson eases any lingering drop fears

Adam Jackson celebrates
Adam Jackson celebrates
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Adam Jackson's winner sent Hartlepool United 11 points clear of second bottom York City to surely end their relegation fears.

On-loan Middlesbrough man Jackson's header from a first half set piece proved sufficient for Craig Hignett's men at Victoria Park as they eased any lingering drop fears against promotion-chasers AFC Wimbledon.

But while it was Jackson's goal which secured the three points, the centre-half's contribution at the other end was just as important, as Pools registered a third successive clean sheet after soaking up all of the Dons' second half pressure.

After a cagey opening from both sides, it was Pools who went ahead in the 21st minute.

Carl Magnay's lofted free-kick into the Wimbledon box from halfway was not dealt with properly and it bounced up for Luke James.

James attempt at an overhead kick was mis-hit, but it floated perfectly into the path of Adam Jackson, who directed his header into the top corner past the helpless keeper.

The woodwork denied Pools what would have been a controversial second 10 minutes before the interval after Hignett's side counter-attacked at pace following what appeared to be a handball on the edge of his own area from Carl Magnay.

Jake Gray carried it forwards and fed Billy Paynter on the left-hand side of the box, who had the opportunity to shoot.

Payner opted instead to pull it back into the path of Luke James, whose curling shot from 18 yards struck the outside of the near post.

Dons dangerman Lyle Taylor was a whisker away from drawing the visitors level on the stroke of half-time when he got the wrong side of Jackson to a high ball over the top, but his half-volley was palmed away at full stretch by Trevor Carson.

The visitors put the pressure on after the break in their search for an equaliser, yet Pools defended well and looked comfortable holding on to their one-goal advantage.

But Carson wasn't forced into a save until stoppage time, when the ball bounced to substitute Ade Azeez down the left-hand side of the area.

Azeez hit an improvised half-volley, but the Pools keeper was able to push it away with his legs.

Pools: Carson, Magnay (Richards 90), Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Featherstone, Gray (Woods 59), Hawkins, James, Paynter, Thomas (Oates 83). Subs not used: Bartlett, Laurent, Walker, Bingham.

AFC Wimbledon: Roos, Fuller, Meades, Sweeney, Charles, Francomb, Barcham (Akinfenwa 71), Bulman, Reeves, Murphy (Elliott 59), Taylor (Azeez 71). Subs not used: Shea, Kennedy, Rigg, Fitzpatrick.

Attendance: 4,365