HARTLEPOOL United are drawing 0-0 at half-time away to Scunthorpe United in this afternoon’s League Two match at Glanford Park.
Jonathan Franks and Matty Dolan went close for Pools but home keeper Sam Slocombe was equal to it as both sides went into the break level.
Pools manager Colin Cooper named an unchanged side for the Sky Bet League Two match away to Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park.
Winger Jonathan Franks retained his place in the starting 11, in for the suspended Jack Compton, who was serving the second of his three-match ban after being red carded in the home match against Plymouth Argyle..
Seven-goal striker Luke James started up front with support from James Poole as Pools again lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Brian Laws named former Premier League striker Deon Burton in Scunthorpe United’s starting line-up.
The game started very evenly as both teams that were relegated from League One last season fought to get a footing in the match.
Pools did come under the cosh as the game entered the 10th minute and Scott Flinders was called into action to claim three crosses in the space of a few minutes as the home side pressed forward.
But it was Pools that had the clearest opening when Franks took advantage of a mistake by defender David Mirfin but his shot was fired wide of Sam Slocombe’s right-hand post in the 13th minute.
James then created an opportunity for himself, beating two defenders in the air to dive at a floated Simon Walton ball but his looping backwards header was saved by the diving Slocombe.
It was an open flowing game but little clear-cut chances were being created by either side.
Scunthorpe, 12th in League Two before kick-off, looked the more likely to open the scoring but Jack Baldwin and on-loan Middlesbrough defender Christian Burgess were keeping Iron forwards Jimmy Spencer and Sam Winnall at bay.
On-loan Middlesbrough midfielder Matty Dolan - who this week signed on for another month at Pools - dragged a shot wide in the 32nd minute after an intricate passing exchange with Poole.
Scunthorpe defender Niall Canavan was then booked two minutes later for body-checking Poole as he darted through the centre of Scunthorpe’s midfield but the resulting Dolan free-kick came to nothing.
Slocombe was forced into action in the 37th minute to save Dolan’s strike from the edge of the area after the ball broke to him following a deflection from Michael Duckworth’s cross.
The Iron keeper was equal to it and pushed it to safety and the follow-up effort from the on-rushing James was blocked for a corner.
Slocombe was again called into action five minutes before the break but his strong hands were enough to push Franks’ fierce strike over the bar for a corner.
Burgess and Andy Monkhouse both had strong headers saved by the Iron keeper before the half-time break.
Hartlepool United: Scott Flinders, Michael Duckworth, Jack Baldwin, Christian Burgess, Neil Austin (C), Jonathan Franks, Simon Walton, Matty Dolan, Andy Monkhouse, James Poole, Luke James.
Subs: Andy Rafferty, Sam Collins, Darren Holden, Antony Sweeney, Jordan Richards, Nialle Rodney, Bradley Walker.
Scunthorpe United: Sam Slocombe, Andy Dawson (C), Sean McAllister, David Mirfin, Niall Canavan, Deon Burton, Terry Hawkridge, David Syers, Cliff Byrne, Jimmy Spencer, Sam Winnall.
Subs: James Severn, Christian Ribeiro, Chris Iwelumo, Etienne Esajas, Luke Waterfall, Hakeeb Adelakun, Jamie Wootton.
Referee: Christopher Sarginson.
Assistant Referees: Iain Siddle, Peter Wright.