Hartlepool United 0 Boreham Wood 0: Ten-man Pools earn potentially vital National League point

Lewis Hawkins and Carl Magnay
Lewis Hawkins and Carl Magnay

Hartlepool United hung on for 25 minutes with 10-men to earn a potentially vital point in their battle to stay in the National League.

Scott Harrison was sent off for Pools for a second bookable offence, but Matthew Bates' men hung on against the fifth tier promotion chasers with yet another positive performance.

Having seen his side put in an admirable show in defeat down at Aldershot in midweek, Bates stuck to his guns. The caretaker made just the one enforced change to his starting XI, bringing in Blair Adams for the injured Luke George, whose season looks to be over with a hamstring problem.

A sparse looking Vic was devoid of any atmosphere off the park, and what was served up on the pitch was hardly much better.

But the game seemed to spark into life with around 10 minutes to go before the break when a Michael Woods effort was saved and then Conor Newton cracked the rebound off the post from what was Pools' first real attack of the half.

Having come to the party on the pitch, Poolies obliged soon after when Harrison and Angelo Balanta were involved in an off the ball incident which saw both booked, and the duo both feeling they'd been hard done to.

Tackles then flew, decisions were jeered and it started to feel like a real match again, a far cry from the sterile start to the day at the Vic. What started as one way traffic for the visitors saw Bates' men, driven on by the crowd, finish the half the much stronger of the two.

After the break, Morgan Ferrier went close to breaking the deadlock when he skinned skipper Carl Magnay and smashed inches wide, but at the other end Jake Cassidy went close for Pools, nodding wide a Blair Adams centre.

A tasty encounter, you always got the feeling it'd be a shock if this ended 11 v 11. And it was Harrison who was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence, and in fairness he can have few complaints about either yellow.

It was a backs to the wall performances from Pools from then on in as they looked to survive the remaining 25 down to 10 men.

Their efforts were so close to being in vain with just two minutes left on the clock when Angelo Balanta cut in from the left and cracked at goal with his left, only to see the ball bounce back off the foot of Scott Loach's post.

And in added time Liam Donnelly had to block a Dave Stephens shot with his chest on the line to preserve a point.

Any point is a good point when you're at near bottom.