MATCH REPORT: Stevenage 2 Hartlepool Utd 2

GOALDEN BOY: Peter Hartley
GOALDEN BOY: Peter Hartley

HARTLEPOOL United squandered a two-goal lead as Stevenage salvaged an unlikely point at Broadhall Way.

Pools were leading 2-0 entering the final 25 minutes thanks to first-half efforts from Peter Hartley and Adam Boyd and heading towards a first win of the season.

But a defensive lapse allowed Byron Harrison to pull one back before Scott Laird rescued a draw two minutes from time.

The visitors had started brightly and had the first chance of the afternoon when Boyd did well to steer a header to Andy Monkhouse who wasted no time in skidding a low ball across the face of goal. Colin Nish was stretching to connect but his toe diverted the ball up and over the crossbar.

Stevenage soon found a foothold in the game, however, and Harrison outmuscled Hartley in the right-hand channel before racing into the area and squaring for Lawrie Wilson.

He dispatched first time on goal but Scott Flinders read his intention and leapt to palm clear on 14 minutes.

Ritchie Humphreys then saw a deflected strike cannon off the turf and up onto the crossbar on 23 minutes, much to the relief of a rooted Chris Day in the Stevenage goal.

It was end-to-end stuff and Darius Charles should have tested Flinders when Wilson dropped a cross onto his brow but the burly forward headed over from eight yards.

Pools took heed of that warning and went ahead on 34 minutes, Evan Horwood’s deep corner powered into the top corner by the head of Hartley for his first of the season.

Within seven minutes Pools had extended their lead, Laird toppling Nish with a clumsy challenge inside the area and Boyd stepping up to slot home from the penalty spot.

Nish had a wonderful chance to put the result out of sight seven minutes into the second half but the forward, through on goal with just Day to beat, overran the ball allowing the keeper to gather.

They were made to rue the passing of that opening when Boro clawed one back on 69 minutes, Harrison capitalising on a Horwood error to guide beyond Flinders from close range.

And Laird broke Pools hearts at the death when he headed in from Wilson’s corner.

Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Larkin (Brown 84), Murray, Humphreys, Monkhouse, Boyd (Poole 64) (Haslam 90), Nish

Subs: Rafferty, Holden

Stevenage: Day, Wilson, Laird, Charles (Beardsley 64), Ashton, Edwards, Long (Myrie-Williams 55), Roberts, Mousinho (Shroot 60), Bostwick, Harrison

Subs: Julian, Reid