MATCH RATINGS: Hartlepool United 1 Sheffield United 1

Hartlepool United keeper Adam Bartlett saves a Sheffield United penalty. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United keeper Adam Bartlett saves a Sheffield United penalty. Picture by FRANK REID

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A major improvement. That was the Hartlepool United performance in the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy defeat to Sheffield United.

Here are the player ratings for Pools:

Adam Bartlett: The way the ‘no2’ keeper is playing it is hard to see Trevor Carson getting the jersey from him. Some brilliant early saves when Pools were at sixes and sevens, and one near the end when Woolford looked a cert to score. 8

Michael Duckworth: Injured after saving a certain goal but before then had followed criticism of not being positive enough by getting forward more. 6

Scott Harrison: After a torrid opening he improved but will be disappointed wit his penalty in the shoot-out. If you had expected anyone to blast it instead of placing it, it would have been him. 6

Harry Worley: Good to see him back and he led the side too. Like Harrison, he improved after a bad start. Conceded a lot of free-kicks so it was no surprise he found his way into the ref’s notebook. 6

Dan Jones: Tough start to his first game of the season but looked more solid after the change from3-4-4 to 4-4-2. Dug in well. 6

Rhys Oates: Started in a from three but then took a wide midfield role. Gave it his all and there were a couple of nice runs. Took his pen well. 6

Nicky Featherstone: A lot rested on his shoulders after the absence of Wood and Magnay. Had a difficult start with a very lively Blades midfield but picked up his game in the 4-4-2 and he too took his spot-kick with aplomb. 6

Lewis Hawkins: Forgive the repetition but his opening was also uncertain but grew into the game and did excellent in the middle before tiring. 7

Jake Carroll: Like Duckworth, he was more positive. Had one screamer go just wide, but continues to over-hit set-pieces. 6

Rakish Bingham: So fast and so athletic, you pray for the day he scores the goals his play threatens but what a run and pass for Fenwick’s goal. Great pen. 6

Scott Fenwick: Brilliant goal, dreadful pen, but you sense there are more goals to come from him. 6

SUBS:

Josh Nearney (for Duckworth 63): Slotted in well at the back: 6

Ebby Nelson-Addy (for Hawkins 90): Saw very little action. N/A

Unused subs: Denton, Oyenuga, Smith

Goal: Fenwick 51 Booked: Worley

SHEFFIELD UNITED:

Long, Alcock, McGahey, Kennedy (Sharp 85), McEveley, Basham, Wallace, Woolford, Flynn (Campbell-Ryce 72), McNulty, Higdon. Unused subs: Howard, Collins, Sammon

Goal: Flynn 7

Referee: Scott Duncan: 6