Hartlepool United suffer heaviest defeat of the season as local rivals Gateshead put seven past Pools

Hartlepool United suffered their heaviest defeat of the season, losing 7-1 at local rivals Gateshead, on a miserable Tuesday evening for Kevin Phillips and his side.
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Pools made a bright enough start and took the lead thanks to Joe Grey’s 10th goal of the season but lost control after Luke Hannant equalised from the spot and capitulated after the break, with impressive teenage forward Dajaune Brown bagging a brace.

After Alex Lacey, who had been filling in at full-back, was ruled out following a hamstring injury sustained in the second half of Saturday’s draw with Eastleigh, Pools boss Kevin Phillips opted to change shape, switching from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2 for just the second time since taking over.

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Manny Onariase returned to the side after featuring from the bench at the weekend, lining up in a back three alongside Tom Parkes and Luke Waterfall, while Kwaku Oduroh was back in the XI for the first time since being taken off at half time during his debut against Barnet.

Luke Hannant equalised for Gateshead with a well-placed penalty after Manny Onariase had fouled Dajaune Brown in the box.Luke Hannant equalised for Gateshead with a well-placed penalty after Manny Onariase had fouled Dajaune Brown in the box.
Luke Hannant equalised for Gateshead with a well-placed penalty after Manny Onariase had fouled Dajaune Brown in the box.

Callum Cooke was the other casualty from the weekend as Terrell Agyemang moved into a more central role in midfield and Joe Grey stepped forward into a slightly more advanced role, acting as a foil to Mani Dieseruvwe up front.

Gateshead, who had former Poolie Kenton Richardson in their side, were likewise operating with a 3-5-2, and named former Pools frontman Marcus Dinanga, who failed to score in 15 appearances during a challenging loan spell in 2018, on the bench.

Dinanga has found his shooting boots since his stint at Pools and came into the game, like Pools marksman Mani Dieseruvwe, on 19 National League goals.

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Both sides headed into the game in need of a victory although for altogether different reasons, with Pools winless in their last four and still lingering just five points above the drop zone, and sixth-placed Gateshead looking to tighten their grip on a play-off place.

Hartlepool United suffered their heaviest defeat of the season, losing 6-1 at local rivals Gateshead.Hartlepool United suffered their heaviest defeat of the season, losing 6-1 at local rivals Gateshead.
Hartlepool United suffered their heaviest defeat of the season, losing 6-1 at local rivals Gateshead.

Local bragging rights were also on the line, with more than 1,000 Pools supporters making the trip along the A19.

The visitors started well and had the first effort of the game just three minutes in when Mani Dieseruvwe, looking to end a run of four games without a goal, turned and unleashed a powerful strike from the edge of the box which Gateshead goalkeeper Nathan Harness parried, somewhat unconvincingly, clear.

Pools, who proved up to the task of defending several Regan Booty long throws, were rewarded for a positive beginning with the opening goal after seven minutes.

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Following a spell of Gateshead pressure, Pools regained possession and skipper Nicky Featherstone had the presence of mind to turn out of trouble before picking out Joe Grey, who had run in behind Heed defender Louis Storey, with a well-weighted ball over the top.

Pete Jameson had a busy evening and had to be at full stretch to keep out a long range strike from midfielder Ed Francis.Pete Jameson had a busy evening and had to be at full stretch to keep out a long range strike from midfielder Ed Francis.
Pete Jameson had a busy evening and had to be at full stretch to keep out a long range strike from midfielder Ed Francis.

Grey was hesitant to pull the trigger and instead tried to square the ball for strike partner Mani Dieseruvwe but his pass rebounded straight into his path and the 20-year-old finish overcame his initial indecision to finish well from a tight angle, handing Pools the lead and taking his goalscoring tally to double figures for the first time in his career.

The hosts thought they’d equalised five minutes later when Kieron Evans cannoned a free-kick against the crossbar following a clumsy challenge from Terrell Agyemang and Callum Whelan was on hand to nod in the rebound, but the linesman on the far side flagged after adjudging that the former Oldham man had been in an offside position.

Gateshead, who had former Pools stalwart Carl Magnay in the dugout and caretaker manager Rob Elliot watching from the stands, were looking to dominate possession but were causing themselves a few problems with their high line and also looked susceptible at set-pieces, with Luke Waterfall forcing a save from Harness after finding himself unmarked from a Featherstone corner.

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It was, for the most part, an entertaining and evenly-contested opening 25 minutes although the home side were slowly forcing Pools onto the back foot and Ed Francis had Pete Jameson stretching to produce a fingertip stop following the midfielder’s strike from distance.

Pools opened the scoring after Joe Grey scored his 10th goal of the season from a tight angle.Pools opened the scoring after Joe Grey scored his 10th goal of the season from a tight angle.
Pools opened the scoring after Joe Grey scored his 10th goal of the season from a tight angle.

And Pools were punished for taking one too many steps back towards their own goal when Luke Hannant equalised from the penalty spot in the 27th minute.

The lively Dajaune Brown was proving difficult to pick up with his runs across the visitors’ back line and after being well picked out by Ed Francis, who was being given too much time to dictate the tempo in midfield, he was tripped by Manny Onariase, leaving referee Dale Baines no choice but to point to the spot.

Pete Jameson guessed correctly for the second game in succession but, much like Chris Maguire’s penalty on Saturday, Hannant’s low effort was well-placed and nestled in the bottom corner to restore parity.

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Pools were hardly in the game for the remainder of the first half, with the home side’s wing-backs in particular causing all sorts of problems, forcing the visitors to drop deeper and deeper as the opening period wore on.

However the back three remained compact and, despite Gateshead’s best efforts to play through them as well as a number of speculative strikes from distance, Pools held on to reach half time with the scores still level.

The second half started much as the first had ended and Gateshead were deservedly ahead less than two minutes after the restart.

The goal came following a rare misstep from Tom Parkes, who found himself off balance and cleared a cross from the right straight to the feet of Kieron Evans, allowing the Cardiff loanee to fire a low shot across Jameson and into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.

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Pools were looking increasingly unsure of themselves and fell further behind seven minutes later when Daujaune Brown, who was enjoying an excellent evening, headed home from close range.

The visitors had been unable to get to grips with the raiding runs of Luke Hannant and allowed him the time and space to float a cross towards Brown, who was completely unmarked and added the home side’s third goal from five yards.

Things went from bad to worse on the hour when Pools failed to clear their lines again and Regan Booty drilled a low strike through a host of Pools bodies and into the corner to extend the home side’s advantage and put them out of sight at 4-1.

The home side were relentless while Pools were proving unable to offer much resistance and Brown added a fifth, his second, 20 minutes from time.

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Ed Francis, who had been pulling the strings all evening, lofted the ball over the Pools’ back line and the teenager dinked the ball over the onrushing Jameson, off the post and in.

Less than four minutes later and Francis played an almost identical scooped pass that again unlocked the Pools’ defence and this time Callum Whelan, perhaps the home side’s outstanding performer, capped his superb showing with a clever finish to compound the struggling travellers’ misery.

An already difficult situation went within a whisker of becoming even worse when Regan Booty clipped the post with 10 minutes to go as large sections of the away support headed for the exit.

And yet, there was still time for a seventh and final goal as substitute Tom Allan’s effort deflected off Courtney Duffus and in to bring an end to one of the most difficult nights of a turbulent season that will surely leave Pools looking over their shoulders.

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Pools: Jameson, Ferguson, Parkes, Waterfall, Onariase (sub, Duffus, 74), Oduroh (sub, Cooke, 57), Featherstone, Crawford, Agyemang, Grey, Dieseruvwe.

Gateshead: Harness, Tinkler, Richardson, Storey, Francis, Booty, Whelan (sub, Worman, 78), Evans (sub, 66, Olley), Hannant, Adom, Brown.

Attendance: 2,685 (1,314 away)