MATCH REPORT: Hartlepool United 0 Huddersfield Town 1

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HARTLEPOOL United went down to a controversial 1-0 defeat as Huddersfield Town strengthened their automatic promotion hopes.

Pools honoured record-appearance maker Ritchie Humphreys prior to kick-off, after he moved onto 473 outings during the weekend win at Exeter City, but they were unable to celebrate his achievement with another victory.

The deciding moment came in the 11th minute when Scott Arfield nicked the ball from the slightly-lowered head of Steve Haslam on the fringe of the penalty area.

But, despite suspicions of a whistle from referee David Coote for the high boot, Anthony Pilkington was allowed to pounce and smashed home from 10 yards to silence the home crowd.

The Terriers weren’t in any mood to relax behind their one-goal cushion and instead pressed in search of a second.

Pools failed to deal with Stephen Jordan’s near-post centre and only Scott Flinders, spreading his frame to block Gary Roberts’ close-range stab, prevented further concession on 19 minutes.

The closest the hosts came to leveling during the opening period was an inadvertent backward header from centre-back Antony Kay which was kept out by Ian Bennett.

Mick Wadsworth switched to a 4-5-1 formation in a bid to deal with the threat of widemen Pilkington and Roberts and Pools did survive at nil-one until the break.

Again, though, they had Flinders to thank for keeping it that way after half-time as he repelled Peter Clarke’s bullet header from Lee Peltier’s arched centre.

Pools were perhaps buoyed by that fine save and enjoyed some attacking pressure of their own around the hour mark.

Evan Horwood swept a wicked free-kick into the area and, when all inside the danger zone failed to connect, an unsure Bennett fumbled the pacey delivery around the upright.

Seconds later Andy Monkhouse got a sight at goal after a mistake from Kay and he was unlucky to see a low, left-footed drive skid inches wide.

That spell passed without the arrival of an equaliser and the closest they came in the remaining 25 minutes was a Sweeney strike which was blocked by Clarke on the edge of the six-yard area.

Pools: Flinders, Haslam, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Sweeney, Liddle, Murray (Larkin 69), McSweeney, Donaldson (Brown 78), Monkhouse.

Subs: Rafferty, Gamble, Yantorno, Boyd, Bjornsson

Huddersfield Town: Bennett, Kay, Peltier, Clarke, Jordan, Kilbane, Gudjonsson, Arfield, Roberts, Pilkington, Novak (Afobe 90)

Subs: Smithies, Atkinson, McCombe, Hunt, Rhodes, Lee.