HT: Hartlepool Utd 1 Brentford 1

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Hartlepool United are level with promotion-chasing Brentford at half time after letting a one goal lead slip.

Pools led for quarter-of-an-hour after the impressive Luke James put the home-team 1-0 up after 25 minutes.

But the visitors levelled five minutes before the break, moments after keeper Flinders had made a top-class stop.

Brentford could have taken the lead in the first minute when danger-man Bradley Wright-Phillips picked up the ball in the middle of Pools’ half but he scooped his shot over the bar.

A neat move starting with the busy Luke James picking up a loose ball and involving Monkhouse and Baldwin before a Franks shot was deflected wide was Pools’ first effort on the Brentford goal.

Other than the first minute half chance, it wasn’t until half way through the first half when Brentford threatened again. A cross wasn’t cleared and Wright-Phillips laid it off to the fast-approaching Jake Reeves whose shot was palmed over by Flinders. The resulting corner came to nothing.

Just two minutes later and Pools were ahead. Baldwin picked up a cross and his goalbound effort was cleared just yards in front of the line. But constant threat James was on hand to pick up the loose ball and hit the back of the net.

Ten minutes before the break a Bradley Wright-Phillips shot was charged down in the area and a quick break-away led to James breathing down on the Brentford defence. He was hauled down on the edge of the area by Brentford skipper Kevin O’Connor who received a yellow card for his troubles. The Humphreys free-kick was charged down.

The Brentford equaliser came despite the best efforts of stopper Scott Flinders. He made a brilliant point-blank save to keep out a Jonathan Douglas header in the 39th minute but Pools didn’t clear and Marcello Trotta’s left foot strike hit the back of the net.