Jim Provett turns clock back for Hartlepool United

KEEPING WELL: Jim Provett (right) with Pools legend and Community Sport Foundation boss Keith Nobbs.
KEEPING WELL: Jim Provett (right) with Pools legend and Community Sport Foundation boss Keith Nobbs.

OLD favourites never go out of fashion, do they?

Which is just as well for Hartlepool United.

Jim Provett, 11 years since his Pools debut and six years since playing his last game for the club, was back between the sticks last night.

The 30-year-old was thrown the goalkeeping gloves by Sam Collins for the reserve-team fixture with Hull City.

He did not drop them, so he was in!

Provett answered the 11th hour call after Andy Rafferty was ruled out with a groin problem.

With the youth team keeper missing with broken fingers it left Pools with 15-year-old James Dawson as the next choice.

Dawson took his place on the bench last night at Billingham Town but starting with him was not really an option, nor was looking to bring in a loan keeper.

Enter Jim Provett.

Given he took over from Andy Collett as goalkeeping coach and works with the club’s custodians every day, there will have no worries over his ability.

And, at the age of 30, he is hardly over the hill in keeping terms, as he proved last night against the Tigers.

Hull, who included Egyptian international Gedo up front, beat Provett only once.

There was little he could do with James Armstrong’s good finish but he made super saves to deny Conor Henderson, Jack Barlow and Sam Topliss.

Rafferty, outstanding seven days earlier in the 2-1 win over Scunthorpe, should be fit to sit on the bench at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

But if Scott Flinders’ understudy fails to make it, Colin Cooper could do worse than throw the jersey to his fellow Trimdon man.

Provett may have taken the headlines, rightly so too, but the young men in the blue and white shirts in front of him last night should also take a bow.

Reserve-team coach Collins admitted the players did not match the display they produced against the Iron seven days earlier.

But they still earned a point at Bedford Terrace.

The Tigers were deserving of their first-half lead but Pools upped their game in the second period.

And after Dan Jones levelled, if any team was going to go on and win it, that side was Pools.

Ultimately they had to settle for a share of the Central League East points.

“We didn’t really get amongst them as we’d spoken about before the game,” Collins told SportMail.

“But we did that a lot better in the second half.

“We probably did not play as well as we have, football-wise, but we still created chances.

“After we scored I thought we could go on to win it but we couldn’t quite get that second goal.

“But overall when you think how young that team is, we’re quite pleased.”

Pools had the first sight of goal when Zak Boagey won the ball 30 yards out to square to Greg Rutherford whose shot went over the Hill bar.

Nialle Rodney also had a shot blocked by keeper Joe Cracknell.

However, Hull had the better of the play and Provett tipped over a long-range shot by Armstrong and palmed away a free-kick by Henderson.

It was no shock that the Tigers took the lead on 32 minutes though Pools will have been disappointed by the manner of the goal.

Kieran Green lost the ball and Armstrong curled a fine shot into the top corner.

Provett also saved from Jack Barlow while at the other end, Pools went close when Cracknell saved well from a Jordan Richards free-kick and the Tigers scrambled away the resulting corner.

But Pools pulled level in the 56th minute.

Jonny Wright floated the ball into the Hull box and Jones met it cleanly to head in superbly from 10 yards.

Provett did save well from Topliss but, that stop aside, Pools had the better of the final half-hour.

With sub Ben Wignall very lively Pools had a lot of the ball.

Wignall had a try from outside the box and wasn’t a million miles away while late on Green went over the bar following good build-up play.

But Pools had to settle for a point which was not an unfair result.

Pools: Provett, Richards, Holden, Green, Rowbotham, Jones, Boagey, Wright (Wignall 63), Rodney (Smith 76), Rutherford (Wood 80), Hawkins.

Subs not used: J Dawson, Nellis.

Hull City: Cracknell, Topliss, Clark (Dixon 78), Wilson, Clappison (O’Connor 82), Aimson, Barlow (Chambers 63), Henderson, Gedo, Armstrong, McElroy.

Subs not used: Watson, L Dawson.