MATCH REPORT: Hartlepool United v Cheltenham Town

Manager Colin Cooper gives instructions during the game against Plymouth Argyle. Picture by FRANK REID
Manager Colin Cooper gives instructions during the game against Plymouth Argyle. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United are losing 2-0 at half-time away to Cheltenham Town.

Goals from Jermaine McGlashan in the fourth minute and a Kemar Roofe header in the 37th minute have given Mark Yates’ side a comfortable half-time lead.

Pools boss Colin Cooper made three changes to his side for the Sky Bet League Two match away at The Abbey Bishop Business Stadium.

In came Jonathan Franks, Darren Holden and Antony Sweeney with James Poole, Luke James and Jack Compton all dropping to the bench as Cooper opted for a new 3-5-2 formation.

Andy Monkhouse and Franks started up front with Michael Duckworth and Holden in the wing-back positions.

Sweeney, Matty Dolan and Simon Walton make up the midfield three as Pools looked to turn around their away form, which has seen them lose the last three away from Victoria Park.

It wasn’t the start Cooper would have been looking for though as Cheltenham took the lead within the opening four minutes.

McGlashan took advantage of a mix-up between Scott Flinders and Neil Austin in the box and slotted the ball home with his right boot from a tight angle to give the home side the lead.

It was an open and entertaining first 10 minutes and Cooper’s side should have levelled through Franks.

His strong header from a pin-point Holden cross was palmed away by the outstretched Scott Brown and away from danger.

Craig Braham-Barrett and Roofe were causing Pools problems down both flanks, making the most of the lack of full-backs with both Holden and Duckworth pushed high up the field.

Cheltenham had another opportunity to score but Jason Taylor’s effort was deflected over the bar by Walton, who had started the match deep in front of the back three.

Holden was finding himself in space down the left flank but was unable to deliver a killer cross into the middle.

Franks, meanwhile, was again causing problems and found himself free just outside the penalty area but his right-footed shot was dragged wide of the post.

The pace settled down as the game approached the 30 minute mark.

Monkhouse was denied a penalty in the 30th minute, challenged as he tore down on goal but the referee Steven Rushton gave a corner kick.

And it was the versatile Monkhouse at the heart of the action again moments later.

His strong header from the six-yard box was well saved by Brown after Christian Burgess had flicked on a Dolan corner.

But it was Cheltenham that doubled their lead, in the 37th minute, courtesy of a looping Roofe header from close range after a fine cross from David Noble.

Flinders had no chance as the ball sailed over his head and into the net.

A bitter blow for Cooper, whose side had just started to come back into the match.

Pools did have the ball in the back of the net courtesy of a fine finish from Franks just before the half-time whistle but it was disallowed for what looked like a soft challenge by Sweeney on Craig Braham-Barrett.

HALF TIME: Cheltenham Town 2 Pools 0

Hartlepool United (3-5-2): Flinders, Duckworth, Austin, Baldwin, Burgess, Holden, Walton, Dolan, Sweeney, Monkhouse, Franks.

Subs: Rafferty, Collins, Walker, Poole, James, Rodney, Compton.

Cheltenham Town: (4-4-2): Brown, Taylor, Brown, Elliott, Harrison, McGlashan, Richards, Jombati, Braham-Barrett, Roofe, Noble.

Subs: Roberts, Cureton, Deering, Gornell, Goldson, Penn, Ajala.

Referee: Steven Rushton