Hartlepool Utd 2 Leyton Orient 1: Noble ends Pools’ long wait for home success

Ryan Noble is blocked as he attempts to get his shot away. Picture by FRANK REID
Ryan Noble is blocked as he attempts to get his shot away. Picture by FRANK REID

HARTLEPOOL United signed off from their home campaign with a first victory in seven attempts at Victoria Park, writes Craig Hope.

Pools – without a win on home soil since February 18 – climbed back into the top half of League One thanks to goals from Antony Sweeney and Ryan Noble.

Sweeney took his tally for the season to nine with a first-half opener before Leyton Orient dangerman Jamal Campbell-Ryce levelled proceedings for the relegation-threatened Londoners.

But it was loan star Noble – in his final home match before returning to Sunderland – who netted his second for the club to seal victory 17 minutes from time.

Neale Cooper had made one change to the side which drew at Tranmere Rovers last weekend, Darren Holden handed his first start in over a year with fellow teenager Luke James dropping down to the bench.

Scott Flinders was called into action on 15 minutes when Kevin Lisbie rose to meet Leon McSweeney’s deep centre just three yards from goal.

But the Pools netminder somehow managed to deny the striker an opening goal as he produced an instinctive save to claw clear from underneath his crossbar.

That save ignited what had been a subdued affair and Pools duly took the lead on 23 minutes, Andy Monkhouse nodding Neil Austin’s lofted centre into the path of Sweeney and he did the rest with an uncompromising smash into the roof of the net from six yards.

But that good work was undone when Orient drew level 10 minutes before the break.

Paul Murray was caught in possession midway inside his own half allowing Dean Cox to spring Campbell-Ryce clear and the forward made no mistake with a deft dink over Flinders.

The scorer again broke free of the Pools backline early in the second half but this time Flinders was equal to his chipped effort, spreading his frame to block on the edge of his area.

At the other end Monkhouse chanced his luck from distance but his low drive was kept out by Jamie Jones.

Campbell-Ryce had a pop from similar range but again it was all too easy for the man between the posts as Flinders stooped to gather.

Pools sent on Luke James and James Poole in a bid to inject some life into what was becoming an all-too-predictable home display.

But it was Noble who proved the difference when he rose on the penalty spot to flash home Evan Horwood’s delivery on 73 minutes.

Orient were inches away from restoring parity just moments later when Jimmy Smith cracked the upright when he volleyed on goal from 20 yards.

But Pools held on to take maximum points for the first time in six matches.