Improved display but Hartlepool beaten 1-0 by Chesterfield

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore looking on
Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore looking on

Hartlepool United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Chesterfield in their final pre-season friendly - but it was a much-improved display.

Pools more than held their own against the League One side at a sun-kissed Victoria Park.

Clear chances were few and far between, with Sam Morsy’s 75th minute winner enough to seal the win for the visitors.

It was fast-paced from the off, with Pools’ 3-5-2 formation being tested by Chesterfield’s build-up play.

But chances were at a premium.

Adam Bartlett, for the injured Trevor Carson, was called on to make a couple of smart saves, with the ex-Gateshead stopper getting down low to deny Sylvan Ebanks-Blake after 35 minutes.

Up the other end Billy Paynter was showing good strength to hold the ball up, with Rakish Bingham again looking sharp.

Bingham had a shot deflected early on, while Michael Woods flashed a shot inches wide and Paynter fired over after the best move of the match from the home side.

But it was goalless at the break, with the defence looking far more solid after a hard week on the training ground.

Half-time: Pools 0 Chesterfield 0

The second half started the way the first ended, with plenty of probing from both sides but little in the way of chances.

Scott Harrison was alert to deny a close-range Ebanks-Blake shot, with Jay O’Shea heading over from the resulting corner.

Other than that there was little to separate the sides in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

Magnay should have given Pools a 62nd minute lead, or at least tested Tommy Lee in goal.

But after good work from Woods and Bingham, Magnay sliced his 20-yard effort wide into the Town End.

Dean Saunders’ League One Chesterfield took the lead after 75 minutes.

Sam MORSY ran onto Ebanks-Blake’s clever flick and finished from close range.

Pools almost levelled straight from the kick-off, Paynter unable to connect with a low cross six-yards out before Featherstone’s attempt drew an excellent stop from Lee.

Subs Rhys Oates and Brad Walker both had late chances to equalise but failed to make the most of them.

It was a good workout for Pools with the season opener against Morecambe now just a week away.

Full-time: Pools 0 Chesterfield 1

Pools (3-5-2): Bartlett, Duckworth, Harrison, Worley, Bates, Carroll, Magnay (Walker, 84), Featherstone, Woods, Bingham (Fenwick, 84), Paynter (C) (Oates, 84).

Subs not used: Denton, Nearney, Smith.

Chesterfield (3-5-2): Lee, Jones, Hird (Humphreys, 84), Morsy (C), Evatt, Gardner, Ebanks-Blake (Harrison, 78), O’Shea (Gnanduillet, 77), Ariyibi (Dieseruvwe, 77), Banks (Onovwigun, 84), Talbot (Raglan, 45).

Subs not used: Cairns, Orrell, Simmons, Chapman.

Goals: Morsy (75)

Attendance: 1,269 (54 Chesterfield)