Brentford 2 Hartlepool Utd 2: Own goal double saves Pools

A pair of own goals rescued a first point in four matches for managerless Hartlepool United at Griffin Park, writes Craig Hope.

Pools – under the care of Micky Barron following Neale Cooper’s midweek resignation - were headed a fourth straight defeat until Brentford centre-back Tony Craig put through his own net in the last minute.

That was after a Harlee Dean own goal had cancelled out Paul Hayes’ early opener only for the Bees striker to restore the lead after half-time.

Pools started brightly and Steve Howard should have tested Simon Moore when an intricate forward move culminated in Neil Austin finding his forehead from the right, but the striker instead opted to nod down for Tony Sweeney and the chance was gone.

But that positive opening counted for nothing when an Evan Horwood error led to Brentford’s 11th-minute breakthrough.

Shaleum Logan was freed down the right after Horwood’s errant pass and his pull-back was turned into the six-yard area where Hayes hooked home.

Horwood went a little way to making amends when smuggling Harlee Dean’s goal-bound volley from the line after the centre-back had connected with Harry Forrester’s out-swinging corner.

But within seconds Ryan Noble was presented with a gilt-edged chance for parity when Scott Flinders’ long punt downfield bounced in behind the home backline.

Noble elected for a first-time smash but his effort was blocked by the chest of Moore who had raced from his goalmouth to deny the striker.

Ritchie Humphreys then swept wide from 12 yards before Pools levelled on 24 minutes.

Simon Walton spun clear of his man in midfield before threading a through-pass for Tony Sweeney to chase.

The midfielder directed a cross-cum-shot to the near post where the ball skipped up off the studs of Dean and over a grounded Moore.

The goal lifted Pools and Sweeney again scampered clear before crossing for Noble who headed over at the near post.

Noble did find the target moments later but a crisp half-volley was slammed straight down the throat of Moore and he instinctively fisted clear.

Pools had been much the better of the two sides during the opening period and they again begun purposefully after the break.

That, though, counted for little when the hosts regained the lead on 58 minutes, Hayes out-jumping Jack Baldwin to nod Logan’s deep centre into the bottom corner from eight yards out.

Flinders denied Forrester a home third when he brushed the winger’s whipped free-kick over the crossbar on 65 minutes.

But Pools had proved they were capable of carving chances at the other end and Noble drew a fine save from Moore when he sized a 20-yard curler towards the far corner.

The visitors were somewhat predictable in their pursuit of parity and so it was that another own goal brought them level, Horwood’s swirling corner turned through his own net by the head of Craig.