MATCH REPORT: Huddersfield Town 1 Hartlepool United 0

Peter Hartley wins a header at a Pools corner. Picture by FRANK REID
Peter Hartley wins a header at a Pools corner. Picture by FRANK REID
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A SPIRITED display from Hartlepool United passed without reward as a below-par Huddersfield Town stole a narrow victory at the Galpharm Stadium.

Neale Cooper’s men survived an early onslaught before frustrating their promotion-chasing hosts and they had been the better side by the time substitute Alan Lee fired the only goal 15 minutes from time.

James Brown battles for the ball. Picture by FRANK REID

James Brown battles for the ball. Picture by FRANK REID

It had taken just two minutes for Simon Grayson’s side to threaten and Jordan Rhodes should have scored when Danny Ward landed a cross on his brow six yards out but the Scotland international headed straight at Scott Flinders.

And Flinders again had to be on his guard to claw clear an Antony Kay back-heel on 10 minutes with the skipper’s improvised effort headed for the top corner.

Pools, though, soon found a foothold in the game and the home crowd became frustrated as the visitors bossed proceedings as the first half wore on.

There were half chances for Andy Monkhouse and James Poole as Pools enjoyed large spells of attacking possession.

And so it was that the half-time whistle was greeted with groans of discontent from the home fans.

Pools were forced into a change at the break as Poole, making just his second appearance after two-month hamstring layoff, was replaced by James Brown, an apparent thigh strain the reason behind the withdrawal of the striker.

Still the Terriers struggled to find their rhythm and their frustration was amplified when Ward, presented with a sight at goal just 12 yards out, lashed horribly wide.

At the other end Tony Sweeney drew a save from Alex Smithies at his near post after Sam Collins had served up a throughball for the midfielder to chase.

Collins, in his 500th career game, had been magnificent at the heart of the defence but it was he who was undone for the Huddersfield goal on 75 minutes.

Jack Hunt’s angled centre was taken by the chest of Alan Lee and the substitute stepped away from Collins before drilling into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

Cooper thrust Adam Boyd and Colin Nish into the fray in a bid to salvage a point but it was Monkhouse who came closest to drawing parity six minutes from time when his 25-yard raker rattled the woodwork.