Altrincham 2 Hartlepool United 2: Supersub Grey helps Askey’s men earn away point
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Young forward Joe Grey was Hartlepool United’s hero as his equaliser earned his side a hard-earned point at much-fancied Altrincham.
The hosts made a lively start to the contest and came within inches of opening the scoring with just 12 minutes on the clock when a Joey Jones header was cleared off the line after his effort had beaten Pete Jameson.
Buoyed by that let-off, Pools took the lead just three minutes later with a goal of genuine class as Kieran Burton’s fine pass allowed Ollie Finney to calmly chip the advancing Ethan Ross before taking the acclaim of his team-mates and the travelling faithful.
The lead would last until the midway point of the half as the impressive Chris Conn-Clarke continues to pose a real threat to the Pools defence. The classy attacking midfielder did all of the hard work to allow Issac Marriott to fire home the equaliser as the Robins got themselves back on level terms.
The two sides swapped chances after the half-hour with Tom Crawford denied by a brave block from home keeper Ross and hosts winger Joey Jones was off target with a header. There was to be one final push from Altrincham as they took the lead just before half-time as a powerful effort from Lewis Baines rocketed beyond the helpless Jameson to put his side in front for the first time in the game.
Despite seeing their hosts take the momentum into half-time, it was Pools that enjoyed the better of the exchanges during the opening stages of the second-half. Charlie Seaman found space on the edge of the area but saw his powerful effort blocked by a home defender and Josh Umerah brought a routine save out of Ross as the hour-mark approached.
That brought the introduction of substitute Grey as John Askey looked to inject further attacking intent into his side - but it was the hosts that looked to hold the upper-hand as the final 20 minutes were reached. Their forward momentum brought the best out of Pools keeper Jameson as he produced an outstanding save to deny Osborne as his drive looks set for the bottom corner of the net.
That gave Grey a platform to claim a deserved point for his side as the young forward kept his cool to beat Ross after linking up with the ever dangerous Dieseruvwe. Gray and Crawford came close to putting Pools ahead for the second time in the game as the home stopper produced two smart stops to preserve parity.
The four minutes of injury-time slid away, there was drama in both areas as a brave block from Pools defender Burton denied a goalbound shot from home substitute Justin Amaluzor after good work from former Darlington winger Justin Donawa.
There was little time to breathe as an incisive break into the hosts area gave Pools a chance to snatch all three points - but they were left to rue an instinctive double save from Robins keeper Ross as he denied Umerah and Dieseruvwe to ensure the points were shared.
Pools will now turn their focus back towards another away day as they travel to Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday.
Altrincham: Ross, Banks (Donawa), Jones, Baines, Osborne, Marriott, Conn-Clarke, Angus (Amaluzor), Cooper, Roscoe, Jones Subs: Jones, Gould, Burroughs
Hartlepool United: Jameson, Burton (Dolan), Onariase, Hendrie, Ferguson, Seaman, Wallace (Aghatise), Crawford, Finney (Grey), Umerah, Dieseruvwe Subs: Dixon, Paterson