HALF-TIME MATCH REPORT: Hartlepool United v Scunthorpe United in Sky Bet League Two

Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against York City. Photograph by FRANK REID
Colin Cooper on the sidelines during the game against York City. Photograph by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United are drawing 0-0 with Scunthorpe United at the half-way stage of their Sky Bet League Two match at Victoria Park.

It has been an entertaining match with chances for both sides but neither have done enough to take the lead.

Jack Barmby made his full debut as Colin Cooper made two changes to his side that were beaten 2-1 away to AFC Wimbledon in midweek, with the on-loan Manchester United forward and defender Sam Collins coming into the team at Victoria Park.

Marlon Harewood dropped down to the bench, while Collins replaced Jack Baldwin, who would have been suspended today anyway before his £500,000 move to Peterborough United on deadline day.

Cooper also welcomed back James Poole into the squad, the forward starting on the bench, after missing the last two matches with a hamstring injury.

Ahead of kick-off, Pools occupied 14th spot in Sky Bet League Two with 34 points, while Scunthorpe were second in the table with 50 points.

Both teams have played 28 games and the last match between them, at the end of October, saw The Iron win 1-0 at Glanford Park.

Scunthorpe’s new boss Russ Wilcox took to the helm two months ago to replace Brian Laws.

It was a tentative start to the match, with chances few and far between in the opening 10 minutes.

Pools keeper Scott Flinders, who was at fault for the Wimbledon equaliser in the week, was indecisive a minute later, not knowing whether to come for the cross or not and in the end Darren Holden had to be alert to hook it away.

The first real opportunity came in the 14th minute, on-loan Middlesbrough forward, Luke Williams, playing just behind Luke James, found himself free in the box.

His clever footwork gave him the opening but his curled right-footed shot from 10-yards was just wide of Sam Slocombe’s left-hand post.

Pools were free-flowing in attack with Williams and Barmby both impressing for Cooper’s side.

Scunthorpe’s Gary McSheffrey hit the crossbar, with a shot from distance in the 22nd minute, Flinders was stranded as it clipped the woodwork.

Then, in the 25th minute, Andy Monkhouse found himself in on goal after the ball bounced off his back and past former Pools loanee Eddie Nolan.

His fiercely-struck shot brought a good save out of Slocombe, who pushed it away from danger.

Pools were awarded a free-kick in the 33rd minute after 19-year-old James was bundled over just outside the penalty area, but the resulting shot from Williams hit the Iron wall.

Barmby then entered the referee’s book in the 36th minute for unsporting behaviour.

Brad Walker’s shot from distance in the 42nd minute, with Barmby out wide screaming at him for the ball, as his effort sailed a couple of yards wide of the post.

Christian Burgess and then Andy Monkhouse both had efforts within the six-yard box blocked following a Simon Walton corner, a minute before the break.

It was the last attempt of the half as referee Jeremy Simpson blew for half-time with the score goalless.

HALF TIME: Pools 0 Scunthorpe United 0

Hartlepool United (4-4-1-1): Flinders; Austin (C); Holden; Collins; Burgess; Walton; Walker; Monkhouse; Barmby; Williams; James.

Subs: Rafferty; Sweeney; Hawkins; Compton; Rodney; Poole; Harewood.

Booked: Barmby.

Scunthorpe United (4-4-2): Slocombe (C); McAllister; Mirfin; Canavan; Hawkridge; Nolan; Syers; McSheffrey; Winnall; Williams; Hayes.

Subs: Severn; Ribeiro; Sparrow; Adelakun; Collins; Boyce; Madden.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.

Victoria Park, Hartlepool.then