Hartlepool United players fared well despite a late defeat. Picture by FRANK REID
Graeme Lee’s side enjoyed positive spells for large parts of the game against a Rovers side making their first League Two outing since mid-December.
Marcus Carver was handed his Pools debut and came close to opening the scoring in the first half before substitute Mark Cullen looked certain to give Pools the lead only to be denied by a wonderful save from man of the match James Belshaw.
And it was a save which would ultimately cost Pools the points as two late goals ensured they would leave the South West empty handed.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
Relatively untroubled. Came and punched well after a miscue from Byrne in the first half. Out of position slightly for Sterry’s red card. Nothing he could do with either goal. Picture by FRANK REID
Aaron Collins capitalised on a loose ball in the area three minutes from time before Anthony Evans fired in a beautiful freekick to double the Gas’ lead after Jamie Sterry was shown a straight red card for a tangle with Evans.
Despite defeat, Pools showed promising signs and here is how they were rated.
A message from the Football Clubs Editor
Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Hartlepool United coverage 365 days a year.
A threat going forward with some excellent crosses and dealt with Nicholson and Grant well. Sent off in stoppage time for a tangle of legs with Pools chasing. Picture by FRANK REID
This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.
Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor.
Got away with a miscue in the area but otherwise solid and brought it out well. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Confident in the air and on the ball. Threat in the Rovers penalty area. Just unable to clear for Rovers’ opener. Picture by FRANK REID
Looked comfortable up against a tricky customer in Evans and showed calmness when dealing with counter attack. Picture by FRANK REID
Continued on from last week. A threat down the left all afternoon. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Controlled the midfield well and part of a number of clever freekicks from Pools. Picture by FRANK REID
Lost the ball in his own half and got away with one in the first half but otherwise assured. Picture by FRANK REID
Third runner and pressed well all day. Unlucky not to score and had a penalty claim. (Credit: Will Matthews | MI News)
Good foil alongside Carver. Worked hard all afternoon in either channel. Picture by FRANK REID
Impressed on debut. Put his body in and made sure the defenders knew they were in a game. Had a good chance to give Pools the lead. Subbed on the hour. MI News & Sport Ltd
Impacted the game well from the bench. Brought a stunning save from man of the match Belshaw. Picture by FRANK REID