Cheltenham Town 1 Hartlepool United 0: Match report, Pools lose but still alive
Hartlepool United live to see another day in the Football League - despite losing to relegation rivals Cheltenham Town.
Danny Wright’s 19th minute header handed the Robins victory but Pools are still in with a chance of survival thanks to Newport County’s defeat at Carlisle United.
After a week that saw Matthew Bates take temporary charge, Pools were filled with optimism ahead of the trip to Whaddon Road.
The caretaker boss made four changes as he named his first team, with Trevor Carson, Jordan Richards, Lewis Hawkins and Padraig Amond all recalled.
And Pools started well - Nathan Thomas volleying wide after capitalising on a poor defensive header.
But, somewhat against the run of play, it was the hosts who took the lead as Wright leapt highest to head home Harry Pell’s cross from close range.
Pools were still the better side though and could have levelled when Michael Woods’ cross was met by a fine header from Hawkins, with Scott Brown acrobatically tipping it over the bar.
An even better chance presented itself moments later as a weak back pass from Carl Winchester gave Amond a sight of goal.
The Irishman got a toe onto the ball but couldn't steer it past Brown, with the stopper using his legs to keep the effort out.
Pools threw everything at their hosts after the break but rarely troubled Brown in the early stages of the second half.
Cheltenham were still looking a threat, however, and Wright saw an effort trickle wide of the far post after Pell had headed down Billy Walters’ cross into his path.
Lewis Alessandra then saw a shot blocked after he had cut inside before United had penalty shouts waved away after an Amond header looked to strike a hand.
Momentum was growing and Amond looked to have levelled for the visitors when he got a flick on Hawkins’ cross, only for defender Liam Davis to clear off the line.
Bates introduced teenage striker Connor Simpson in a bid to find a leveller and the substitute almost had an immediate impact as he found himself on the end of a flick-on from Amond, but the substitute saw Brown get down well to deny him at the far post.
The visitors were unable to find a late leveller, with Nicky Featherstone coming closest as he saw a dipping volley well-saved.
Defeat doesn’t spell the end of the road for Pools just yet, there’s still one game to save their 96-year tenure in the Football League.
Pools XI: Carson, Richards, Harrison, Walker, Magnay, Featherstone, Woods, Hawkins (Simpson 79), Thomas (Oates 55), Alessandra, Amond
Subs Not Used: Fryer, Bates, Deverdics, Rooney, Rodney
Yellow Cards: Woods (21), Amond (60)
Referee: Ben Toner
Attendance: 5606 (704 away)