FULL-TIME REPORT: Hartlepool United 1 Bournemouth 2

EARLY EXIT: Tony Sweeney in action before injury forced him off against Bournemouth. Picture by FRANK REID
EARLY EXIT: Tony Sweeney in action before injury forced him off against Bournemouth. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United’s home woes continued as they suffered a seventh straight defeat at Victoria Park.

Playoff-chasing Bournemouth were the latest side to benefit as they strode out deserved winners thanks to Lewis Grabban’s second-half penalty after Pools teenager Jack Baldwin earlier had cancelled out Josh McQuoid’s first-half opener.

It was a first-ever senior goal for Baldwin and it prompted Pools’ best spell of the game but that expired when Grabban tucked home from 12 yards on 63 minutes.

Pools boss John Hughes had been forced into one change before the game with knee-victim Jordan Richards replaced by Neil Austin at right-back.

And Pools’ injury woes were multiplied when Tony Sweeney succumbed to a knee problem inside three minutes, an innocuous landing the cause of his obvious discomfort.

It could have been even worse for Pools just 60 seconds after Baldwin replaced the stricken Sweeney when Grabban, the Bournemouth striker, blazed over from 12 yards when a well-worked corner ran invitingly into his path.

Pools eventually found a foothold in the game after a shaky opening and Charlie Wyke sliced wide from 20 yards after a neat exchange with Evan Horwood.

The best chance of the opening exchanges came the way of Jon Franks when he was sprung clear by Baldwin.

The Pools midfielder scampered clear but his his attempted steer around Shwan Jalal lacked precision and the visiting keeper parried to safety.

McQuoid made no such mistake with his accuracy with the opening goal on 28 minutes, climbing between home bodies to nod a Eunan O’Kane centre into the bottom corner.

But Pools should have been on terms within five minutes when Ritchie Humphreys came within inches of climaxing a forward move he had begun on halfway, steaming onto Franks’ cross only to plant an eight-yard header the wrong side of the upright.

That was the last opening of note from the first half but Pools had restored parity within six minutes of the restart.

Horwood’s high, hanging free-kick caught Jalal in two minds and, when the ball cannoned down off the crossbar, Baldwin put his head on the line to bundle home from point-blank range.

The goal lifted the home crowd but they soon had a familiar sinking feeling when Grabban restored the visiting lead from the penalty spot on 63 minutes, Sam Collins the guilty party for a trip on O’Kane as he jinked towards goal.

The Cherries went in search of a third and Harry Arter took aim for range only for Flinders to repel his drive on 76 minutes.

There was a chance for Steve Howard at the other end to bring about level terms but his snap shot was shovelled clear by Jalal.