Hartlepool United 2-2 Morecambe: Four key talking points from Pools' penalty win in the Papa John's Trophy

Hartlepool United were on the right side of a Papa John’s Trophy penalty shoot out this time around.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 12:01 pm

Some late drama saw the group stage match against Morecambe end 2-2 at Victoria Park as Pools went on to win 4-2 on penalties and secure two points.

Here are some key talking points from the game…

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Pools were dealt yet another injury blow before the match as striker Fela Olomola, who was likely to be involved in the game, was spotted on crutches prior to the match at Victoria Park.

Former QPR defender Clint Hill was also spotted as part of Pools’ coaching staff on the evening as the appointment of a new assistant manager grows closer.

Dave Challinor made nine changes to the side who were beaten 2-0 at Stevenage with only Neill Byrne and Matty Daly keeping their place.

It was a welcome return for David Ferguson at left-back after a couple of games out with a calf problem.

Victoria Park.

The match also saw Hartlepool switch to a more traditional four at the back set-up with Timi Odusina and Byrne as the central defenders.

Tom Crawford was also given his first start of the season alongside Martin Smith in midfield.

Daly and full-debutant Jordan Cook were advanced midfielders while Mark Cullen and Will Goodwin were handed a chance to impress up front.

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Hartlepool United 2-2 Morecambe player ratings – full debutant and Huddersfield ...
Dave Challinor.

Taking chances

After a solid showing from the bench at the weekend, eyes were on both Cullen and Goodwin to make their presence known up front and take the opportunity presented to them.

Both players showed good movement with Goodwin releasing Cullen for a great one on one chance in the opening minutes of the game. Unfortunately for Pools’ number 9, it was straight at the goalkeeper.

And that sort of set the tone for the rest of Cullen’s evening as he got into some good areas but just couldn't take the chances that fell his way.

Mark Cullen in action for Pools.

Goodwin was more of a support player up front, bringing his teammates into the game and running the channels when needed. He put a number of teasing balls into the box and caused problems but was perhaps guilty of not doing enough of the dirty work in the middle of the park.

Just behind the front two were Daly and Cook, who were able to shine in miserable conditions at The Vic. The pair combined brilliantly for the opening goal as Cook glided past the Morecambe defenders before pulling the ball back for Daly to apply a smart finish. 1-0.

Pools speak very highly of Daly and it’s easy to see why based on his showings in the Papa John's Trophy. It’s just a matter of translating that into League Two and making more of an impact.

It was a crowd-pleasing full debut for Cook with the former Sunderland man showing good ability and vision in possession on numerous occasions and plenty of tenacity to win the ball back in midfield when Morecambe were in possession.

Of the players who came into the side, he was arguably the one that took his opportunity.

First half collapse

Matty Daly of Hartlepool United. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

After an impressive start to the game, Pools somehow found themselves 2-1 down at half-time following two very soft goals to concede.

Morecambe’s equaliser came from a long throw-in which caught every defending Pools player out as Shane McLoughlin cleverly dinked the ball over the charging Jonathan Mitchell. Take nothing away from the finish but it was a case of Pools not reacting quickly to the danger.

Seven minutes later, Pools shot themselves in the foot again as Reagan Ogle pulled Jonah Ayunga down inside the penalty area and the referee quickly pointed to the spot. Mitchell dived the right way but Callum Jones’ penalty was able to sneak into the left corner as Morecambe led at the break.

Interestingly it was the first time Pools had trailed any game after taking the lead since their 4-1 FA Cup third round defeat at Oxford United in January 2020.

Pools’ lucky charm

After the break, Hartlepool got the momentum behind them and were creating good opportunities. But a failure to convert was once again proving troublesome as time started to run out.

A lull in the game saw one ball boy keep some of the fans entertained before Daly finally found his and Pools’ second of the game.

The introduction of Luke Molyneux was an effective one as the winger burst down the right and played a fine ball into the box which was eventually converted by the 20-year-old.

At 2-2, Pools pushed for a winner and they ought to have found it with virtually the last kick of the game as Mike Fondop was brought down by goalkeeper Jokull Andresson.

After the game Challinor admitted Daly, who was on a hat-trick, probably should have been given the penalty but instead the more experienced Molyneux stepped up only for his effort to crash off the crossbar and the referee blew for full-time.

Like in the previous match at Carlisle United, it would be decided by penalties with the winner securing two points and the loser one.

Referee Simon Mather may be a familiar name to Pools fans as the man in charge of their play-off final victory over Torquay United which was decided on penalties.

And Pools would win once again as Morecambe’s McLoughlin saw his penalty saved by Mitchell before Arthur Gnahoua skied his effort over the bar. Meanwhile, Hartlepool scored all four of their penalties with Daly, Molyneux, Ferguson and Crawford all converting to confirm a 4-2 shootout win.

All in all, another entertaining Pizza Cup outing for Pools which means their final group game against Everton under-21s will effectively be played in knock-out conditions at The Vic with both teams needing to win, either in normal time or penalties, in order to progress – the loser will be eliminated.

Pools XI: Mitchell; Ogle, Byrne, Odusina, Ferguson; Crawford, Smith, Daly, Cook; Goodwin, Cullen (Molyneux 72)

Pools subs: Killip, Hendrie, Francis-Angol, Featherstone, Shelton, Molyneux, Fondop

Pools bookings: Smith (2), Ogle (39), Odusina (50), Fondop (78)

Morecambe XI: Andresson; Jones, Wildig, Delaney, Mensah, Ayunga, McLoughlin, Cooney, Price (Gnahoua 74), Pye (McDonald 74), Wooton

Morecambe subs: Letheren, O’Connor, McDonald, Phillips, Gnahoua, Rooney, Stockton

Morecambe bookings: Price (63)

Referee: Simon Mather

Attendance: 1,572 (43 Morecambe)

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Hartlepool United v Morecambe