Torquay United 0 Hartlepool United 2: Match report, Oates and Franks win it for Pools

Rhys Oates heads Pools in front. Picture by GARETH WILLIAMS/ AHPIX
Rhys Oates heads Pools in front. Picture by GARETH WILLIAMS/ AHPIX

Hartlepool United clinched a vital three points with a victory at relaegtion-threatened Torquay United.

Desperately poor in the first half, Pools found their form after the break with goals from Rhys Oates and Jonathan Franks.

It stretched the unbeaten away run fo Craig Harrison's side to seven games.

The Pools boss handed Luke George his first start at Plainmoor.

The summer signing from Chester has been sidelined with injury for the first two and a half months of the season but strolled through an hour of Wednesday night's Durham Challenge Cup win over Hebburn.

George's first start was one of three changes to the Pools XI, replacing Lewis Hawkins in the midfield.

Carl Magnay was ruled out with a hernia problem which will likely see him undergo surgery this week. Michael Ledger started at centre-half with Liam Donnelly switching to right-back.

Fit-again Blair Adams came in at left-back for his first since August with Nicky Deverdics, as expected, moving further up the field.

Torquay made two changes, with wing-back Liam Davis missing out after becoming a dad last night while Rhys Murphy is injured.

Ruairi Keating, nephew of singer Ronan, came in along with Jennison Myrie-Williams.

Pools got under way with a 4-1-4-1 with Featherstone in front of back four and Oates, George, Woods and Deverdics behind Franks up top.

The away side struggled from the off with Torquay dominating play.

Ruairi Keating had the first shot in the sixth minute with Loach getting down well at the near post.

It then needed a Superb 11th-minute clearance by Laing from a Reid cross after he had got the better of Ledger.

Two minutes later, Keating went wide with a free header and soon after Loach produced a marvellous save low to his left to keep out a shot from McQuoid who could not get on end of the cross when the ball came back into the area.

Pools finally got forward through Adams, whose right-foot from the edge of box was comfortably taken by Vincent Dorel.

The visitors reached the Torquay box in trhe 24th minute but keeper Dorel made a confident catch.

Pools were struggling to contain the Gulls who should have scored when Reid drove the ball across the six-yard box but no one was there to put it away.

Reid fired wide from edge of box and then had a free shot on 37 minutes, but Loach saved well with right foot.

Having been lucky to get to the break goalless, Pools were first out of the blocks in the second period with Deverdics heading wide from an Adams cross.

And the bright start got even better in the 54th minute.

There was a neat inter-change in midfield from Featherstone and George to find Adams, who delivered a great ball from the left for Oates heads in from six yard box

The match had totally turned around as the once dominant Gulls were now struggling, with Franks winning a first Pools corner on the hour.

Pools doubled their advantage in the 68th minute with a sixth goal of the season from FRANKS.

The leading scorer found space outside the box and his speculative shot deflecting off Gowling and into the net.

Pools were not home and dry and it needed a super save from Loach to keep out McQuoid's piledriver at his near post.

There was an injury-time scare when Loach made a terrific save from Dowling with sub Harrison making a tremendous block in the ensuing scramble.

FULL-TIME

TORQUAY UNITED 0

HARTLEPOOL UNITED 2

Torquay: Dorel, Efete, McGinty, Gowling, Higgins (Lathrope 67), Young (Anderson 85), Evans (Dowling 67), McQuoid, Myrie-Williams, Reid, Keating.

Unused Subs: Clarke, Klukowski

Pools: Loach, Donnelly, Ledger (Richardson 62), Laing, Adams, George, Featherstone, Woods (Munns 90), Deverdics, Oates (Harrison 87), Franks.

Unused Subs: Hawkins, Simpson

Goal: Oates 54, Franks 68

Booked: Donnelly 61

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 1,987 (away 159)