FULL-TIME REPORT: Hartlepool United beat Wimbledon 2-1 for first league win of season

Colin Cooper against Dagenham and Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper against Dagenham and Redbridge. Picture by FRANK REID

GOALS from Charlie Wyke and Marlon Harewood secured Hartlepool United’s first league win of the Sky Bet League Two season.

Both goals came in the second-half after Wimbledon had taken the lead in the 10th minute at Kingsmeadow through Matt Tubbs, who found himself free inside the penalty area, to put the Dons in front.

But within 60 seconds of the re-start loan striker Wyke scored Pools’ first league goal of the season to level, a header from a yard out.

Pools looked a different side after the break and Harewood made it 2-1 in the 68th minute with a cool finish from 10-yards.

The home side even missed a penalty but Pools managed to hold on for their first - and much-needed - league win of the season.

Pools were missing their star striker Luke James, the want-a-way 19-year-old was not included in the squad.

In the past week, James has handed in two transfer requests to club officials - after the first was rejected - and he has been strongly linked with a big money move to League One side Posh.

Darren Ferguson has already had a bid for the striker rejected - although it is understood to be not close to the £1m mark reported.

New loan signing Wyke started up front for Pools - against the side he was on loan at last season - in place of James, the Boro striker signed a month-long loan deal on Thursday.

Colin Cooper made three other changes to his team for the Sky Bet League Two game against AFC Wimbledon at The Cherry Red Records Stadium.

Marlon Harewood is back in the line-up for the game.

Tommy Miller returned from a back injury and was restored to the centre of midfield in place of Stuart Parnaby, who missed out with a hamstring problem.

Neil Austin is back at left-back, while Sam Collins returned to central defence.

The club’s other new loan signing Scott Harrison started the match on the bench.

Pools, starting the match with two banks of four, started well and Wyke had a chance in the first minute to open his account.

His strike from the edge of the penalty area was saved by Dons keeper James Shea.

Man mountain Adebayo Akinfenwa clattered Neil Austin three minutes in but the Pools left-back was able to get back to his feet.

The away side had started reasonably well but on the 10-minute mark the Dons had taken the lead.

A cross from the left-flank found Matt TUBBS free near the penalty spot - having got in between Sam Collins and Matthew Bates - and he fired low past Scott Flinders into the bottom right-hand corner.

Again, it was yet another poor goal to concede.

Fifteen minutes in and Bates had a glorious chance to nod Pools level. Ryan Brobbel’s pin-point free-kick from the left-wing just managed to evade everyone including the head of Bates.

Sean Rigg then fired a shot over the bar in the 16th minute, sailing comfortably over the bar of Flinders.

The Dons almost doubled their lead in the 25th minute through right-back Barry Fuller.

He sneaked in past Brobbel and fired in a volley from the edge of the penalty area but it rattled off the crossbar with Flinders beaten.

It was a let off for the away side, with Neal Ardley’s home side dictating play.

Up the other end Wyke had another effort on goal, managing to connect with his head to another good cross in from Brobbel from the left wing.

Sadly for the away side, Shea was there to make a comfortable save.

The game went flat as the match approached the half-way stage, with Pools in urgent need of a spark.

Flinders had to be alert to prevent Akinfenwa from doubling the home side’s lead. The burly front man didn’t get enough on it but the Pools stopper was still at full-stretch.

The stopper was then forced to tip George Francomb’s lofted effort over the bar.

First Half: AFC Wimbledon 1 Pools 0

Within a minute of the re-start Pools had levelled the scores through WYKE - the club’s first league goal of the season.

It was a scrappy goal but nobody with a connection to Pools cared.

Brobbel’s free-kick into the area was flicked on by Collins into a packed Wimbledon six-yard box.

The ball wasn’t cleared and Wyke popped up a yard out to head home and send Pools’ travelling support into delirium.

The Dons then had two good chances to go back in front, Tubbs with the best effort after shaking off Collins. His effort drifted across the face of Flinders’ goal.

Pools continued to push forward though, clearly their confidence levels had been boosted by the goal with Harewood, in particular, impressing up front.

Ardley made two changes in the 64th minute, Moore and Kennedy taken off with Kevin Saint-Luce and Harry Pell coming on. Pell was booked less than a minute after coming on for a crunching tackle on Austin.

Then, in the 68th minute, Pools took the lead.

It was a fantastic team goal and the ball eventually fell to Brobbel on the left-wing who picked out HAREWOOD 10-yards out.

He took a touch, turned, and then fired low past Shea before running off to celebrate with the away fans.

In the 76th minute Tubbs was fouled inside the penalty area for a clear foul by Miller.

Tubbs stepped up to take but Flinders dived to his right to strongly push it away before then getting up to make the follow-up block.

Four minutes later Tubbs tried to attone for his miss but Flinders was able to make a comfortable stop.

Pools were under the cosh for much of the final 10 minutes, as you’d expect, with Rigg and Sainte-Luce looking dangerous on both flanks.

But they held firm and it was a fantastic second-half team performance to seal their first league win of the season.

They are now up to 19th in League Two.

Full Time: AFC Wimbledon 1 Pools 2

Pools (4-4-2): Flinders, Duckworth, Collins, Bates (C), Austin, Franks, Miller, Walker, Brobbel, Harewood, Wyke (Richards, 81).

Subs: Barber, Richards, Holden, Harrison, Smith, Compton, Woods.

Goal: Wyke (46) Harewood (68)

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Shea, Fuller, Kennedy (Azeez) Moore (Pell, 64), Barrett, Bennett (C), Rigg, Bulman, Akinfenwa, Tubbs, Francomb (Sainte-Luce, 64).

Subs: Worner, Phillips, Nicholson, Harrison.

Goal: Tubbs (10)

Booked: Pell.

Referee: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 3,576 (170 Pools)