Hartlepool Utd 0 Cambridge Utd 0: Pools make point to end four-match losing run

Rhys Oates fires in a shot for Pools against Cambridge
Rhys Oates fires in a shot for Pools against Cambridge

Hartlepool United’s run of four successive League Two defeats is over.

Pools had the better of today’s mid-table match with Cambridge United but could not turn promise into goals.

Pools: Bartlett, Halliday, Harrison, Boyce, Carroll, Bates, Featherstone, Woods, Oates, Paynter, Bingham (Fenwick 67). Subs: Denton, Jones, Worley, Oyenuga,Walker, Smith

Cambridge: Dunn, Roberts, Legge, Taft (Coulson 46), Omozusi, Dunk (Chiedozie 72), Berry, Newton, Demetriou, Simpson (Hughes 56), Blyth. Subs: Beasant, Taylor, Slew, Morrisey

Referee: G Eltrincham

Attendance: 3,665

To say the match was slow to get going would be an understatement.

There was little of note in the early play bar a smart save from Adam Bartlett who got down low to keep out a George Taft effort.

It took until the 14th minute for Pools to put some passes together with Jake Carroll, Paynter and Bingham involved.

There was excitement and almost a moment of history in the 21st minute.

Carroll put Featherstone through, the midfielder rolling the ball beyond Chris Dunn and just inside the keeper’s left post.

Alas, the linesman’s flag interrupted the celebrations.

At the other end, Harrison Dunk put a grasscuter just wide of Bartlett’s right stick as plat began to pick up.

Pools had a great chance in the 27th minute when Paynter and Oates combined. The ex-Barnsley striker teed up Michael Woods who fluffed his shot from a central position, but the ball fell kindly to mBingham whose left-foot shot brought a super save low down by Dunn.

The hosts were having their best spell and after Dunn got nowhere near a Woods corner, Scott Harrison saw his header nodded off the line by Elliot Omozusi.

Dunn did better in the 36th minute when Paynter barged his way through and the keeper got down well to palm the ball away. It fell to Oates whose shot was deflected for a corner.

And Dunn performed well again five minutes from the interval when he saved from Brad Halliday who had made a great run into the U’s box.

Pools had some luck too. Cambridge skiper Mark Roberts made a tremendous 43rd-minute block, but it was to keep out a shot from fellow defender Leon Legge who had shot towards the home goal from a U’s corner.

Half-time: Pools 0 Cambridge 0

Pools had the first play of the second half, Halliday playing a good cross in from the right which Paynter gets his head to but Newton saves comfortably.

The best football was coming from Pools and Paynter and Oates again teamed up nicely, Oates playing the ball in from the right for Bingham who can’t control when in a great position.

It was not Bingham’s day. He connected cleanly fropm a Carroll crosws from the left in the 61st minute, only to see his shot hit Roberts.

He had another chance four minutes later but tried to get the ball onto his right foot and Cambridge cleared.

It was to be his last contribution as Moore brought on Scott Fenwick to replace him in the 67th minute.

Moore made his second change 10 minutes from time, bringing on Brad Walker for a limping Woods.

Shortly afterwards, Oates got the ball to back post, where Fenwick stretches but can’t reach it.

Pools continued to press with defenders Halliday and Harrison in opposition territory, trying to force something.

Walker added impetus to Pools and almost got Fenwick in on 88 minutes.

But almost was the operative word for Pools on a day which mixed promise with frustration.