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Hartlepool 1 Aldershot 1: Pools drop yet more home points from winning position

Pools' players celebrate Niko Muir's goal.
Pools' players celebrate Niko Muir's goal.

Hartlepool United surrendered two home points as they again let a home lead slip against struggling Aldershot.

For the third time this season Pools took the lead at the Super 6 Stadium, courtesy of Niko Muir, but again allowed the visitors a way back in, as they have done on three occasions now.

Matt McClure netted a second half leveller, as this one went the way of Harrogate Town and Eastleigh before it.

Pools were able to welcome Ryan Donaldson back into the side after a fortnight out with a hamstring strain, as Matthew Bates made three changes to the side beaten 3-0 at Salford City in midweek.

As well as Donaldson replacing Conor Newton on the right, Michael Woods was recalled in the middle and Peter Kioso came in at the back for Paddy McLaughlin and Myles Anderson respectively.

The biggest fitness boost of the day was perhaps the emergence of Muir in the XI, after limping off in the north west with an ankle issue.

And it was the striker, with Woods, who looked the most likely to open the Aldershot door, with the duo linking up on the edge of the area at will to create openings.

It was that link up that created the goal just after the half hour.

Muir found Woods who flicked over the top of the Shots backline for the frontman to chase and with the keeper advancing Muir guided a looping, left-footed lob over the top of Jake Cole for 1-0.

While Pools were much the better side they continued to leave the trapdoor open and Luke Wanadio and McClure both had chances to net down the Pools left but were profligate when handed the opportunity.

Pools started the second as they started the first - a little tentative. And that gave the Shots confidence as they peppered Scott Loach's goal early on.

Adam McDonnell probably had the best of the chances, but Loach rose acrobatically to tip over a shot that looked destined for the roof of the net.

Under the cosh, Loach was busier and busier as the half wore on and the inevitable came on 62 when McClure, who missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the opening 45, was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth this time, as he smashed past a helpless Loach for 1-1.

While Pools improved after the Shots' goal, they never really threatened to snatch this one as a lack of threat in the final third became ever more apparent in the latter stages.

And the visitors could have snatched it in the 90th minute when substitute Luke Howell hit the bar with an overhead kick which bounced on the right side of the line after ricocheting down.

The result did not see Pools' position in the table alter but it was not the 'bounce back' performance many had hoped for.

Pools remain eighth and are now six points off Salford at the top of the table,.