Scunthorpe 0 Hartlepool Utd 2: Pools’ mettle shatters Iron

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HARTLEPOOL United’s impressive away form continued as they ran out deserved 2-0 winners at Scunthorpe United today, writes Craig Hope.

Mick Wadsworth’s men have lost five on the spin at Victoria Park but have slipped to defeat just once on the road all season.

And, thanks to goals from Andy Monkhouse and Antony Sweeney, they recorded a comfortable victory which takes them to 10th in League One.

Pools made two changes to the side beaten by Stevenage seven days ago with Andy Rafferty replacing suspended goalkeeper Scott Flinders and Paul Murray, returning from his one-match ban, coming in for Ritchie Humphreys.

The visitors started brightly and Sweeney should have headed Pools in front on eight minutes when Neil Austin’s deep free-kick was helped onto his brow by Monkhouse.

The midfielder had just Sam Slocombe to beat but nodded straight at the Iron keeper from six yards out.

But the opener did arrive on 21 minutes after a concerted spell on visiting pressure, Monkhouse scuffing into the bottom corner from 12 yards for his first of the season.

James Poole then came with a fingertip of doubling the advantage just moments later when his 25-yard blast was brushed over the crossbar by a backpedalling Slocombe.

Monkhouse should have had his second on 37 minutes when picked out unmarked by Evan Horwood on the edge of the six-yard area but he flashed a headed effort well wide.

It was a let-off for the hosts and they managed to survive until the break trailing by just one.

But even after what was sure to be a half-time rollicking Scunthorpe were equally sluggish in the second period.

Horwood almost presented them with a gift of a goal when attempting to chest back to Rafferty but the stand-in keeper was off his line in a flash to block bravely at the feet of Chris Dagnall.

But the game was put beyond Scunthorpe’s reach 12 minutes from time when Sweeney, from Horwood’s centre, steered a smart header into the top corner for his first league goal of the campaign.