Dover Athletic 4 Hartlepool United 0: Match report, another defeat for Pools

Scott Loach is beaten by Mitch Pinnock as Pools go 1-0 down. Picture by GARETH WILLIAMS/ AHPIX
Scott Loach is beaten by Mitch Pinnock as Pools go 1-0 down. Picture by GARETH WILLIAMS/ AHPIX

Hartlepool United's promotion chances suffered another set-back when they lost for the fourth time in five matches.

Pools dominated possession throughout at a freezing-cold Crabble ground only to concede two in each half.

Mitch Pinnock scored with a low drive in the second minute and doubled their lead when he tapped in on 25 minutes.

Craig Harrison's side had all the ball in the second half but leaked two late goals, but to former loan striker Ryan Bird.

Harrison today made one change to his side and it was no shock with Scott Harrison left out following last Saturday's late giveaway to Macclesfield with Michael Ledger coming in for his first start since the 2-0 win at Torquay.

There was still no place for Jonathan Franks because of a hamstring strain.

Pools needed a strong start, but they had just the opposite.

PINNOCK played a one-two with Nortey, cut in from his place on the left and fired a low drive past Loach.

Pools quickly settled with Louis Laing bringing the ball forward superbly with Jake Cassidy wining a corner, which came to nought.

Dover almost doubled their advantage on 10 minutes when Ryan Bird went just wide with his right foot after a good Dover passing move.

Michael Woods needed to make a great tackle to deny Nortei Nortey and concede the first corner to the home side in the 19th minute with Manny Parry's header saved onto his left post by Loach.

But Athletic were 2-0 up in the 25th minute when Anthony Jeffrey got the better of Laing who stumbled and crossed for PINNOCK who could not miss from a couple of yards.

The rest of the half was all-Pools.

Deverdics almost jinked his way through, only to lose the ball on the edge of the box, while Donnelly had a shot saved by Walker after a good inter-change with Cassidy.

A Minute before the break, Donnelly this time was not as accurate as his shot flew out of the ground at the River End.

Pools had loads of the ball again but could open the home defence.

Harrison brought on Tomi Adeloye just after the hour and he had a shot soon after with Walker saving low to his left.

For all the away domination of possession, they could not frighten the Dover goal.

And there was a third Dover goal to kill off the match 11 minutes from time and, inevitably, it was Bird.

Sub Kadell Daniel crossed from the left and BIRD beat Loach from just a few yards out with his header.

To make matters worse, there was a red card for Deverdics for a challenge on Connor Essam. Referee signalled it as an elbow but the Pools fans nearby in the away end reacted angrily, as did Deverdics.

And to complete the away side's misery, there was a fourth goal in stoppage time when BIRD converted Pinnock's free-kick from close range.

FULL-TIME
DOVER ATHLETIC 4
HARTLEPOOL uNITED 0

Dover: Walker, Ilesanmi, Parry, Okosieme, Essam, Brundle, Pinnock, Gallifuoco, Bird, Nortey, Jeffrey (Daniel 65)
Unused subs: Alabi, Deen-Conteh, Fazakerly
Goal: Pinnock 2, 25; Bird 79, 90
Booked: Okosieme 61

Pools: Loach, Magnay, Laing, Ledger (Adams 77), Deverdics, Donnelly, Woods, Newton, Munns, Cassidy, Oates (Adeloye 61).
Unused Subs: Richardson, Hawkins, Rodney
Booked: Laing 57

Referee: Richard Hulme
Att: 1,083 (away 116)