Oxford United 2 Hartlepool United 0: Match report, Pools lose at promotion-chasers

Luke James can't get the better of Jake Wright. Picture by FRANK REID
Luke James can't get the better of Jake Wright. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United were beaten by early and late Oxford United goals at the Kassam Stadium.

Highly-rated Kemar Roofe put Oxford ahead in the seventh minute with Liam Sercombe adding the clincher three minutes ionto stoppage time.

Matthew Bates went closest for Pools in the 73rd minute and then saw a flick from a Rhys Oates corner cleared off the line by Sercombe.

Pools boss Craig Hignett had asked for an early goal at the Kassam Stadium. He got one but it was scored by Oxford.

Liam Sercombe saw his shot hit bar, but ROOFE was first to react by firing inb the rebound.

Pools had their moments in possesion and after a decent 22nd-minute build-up, Gray hit a cross-shot straight at Buchel.

There was a chance at the other end with Danny Hylton just wide from an Oxford counter-attack after Pools gave the ball away.

Oxford deserved better 10 minutes from the break when a great turn, feet and run by Hylton took him into the box but Magnay cleared.

Pools continued to play and Woods and James combined well but James' shot was a weak one and Buchel collected.

Half-time:

Oxford 1

Pools 0

Woods had an attempt at goal in the 49th minute but his effort went over bar just moments after Thomas could not get a good header to a Woods cross.

But Oxford were soon on top with a couple of corners and attacking throws and it needed a good block by Bates on Roofe in the 55th minute.

The U's had a great opening on the hour when Pools lost the ball and the hosts had a 3v2 situation but a great Jackson tackle in the box denied Hylton.

Oxford were piling on the pressure but Pools did not concede.

There was a rare Pools attack on 69 minutes thanks to a cacking run by Thomas whose 30-yd shot was saved by Buchels, but not without some discomfort.

But Oxford resumed normal attacking service and Carson saved superbly with his feet from sub Callum O'Dowda.

However, Bates inches away from equaliser with a header from a Thomas free-kick in 73rd minute.

Pools forced their first corner seven minutes from time and they almost scored from it as Sercombe cleared off line from a Bates flick from Oates's delivery.

The away were having their best spell but Oxford had a chance to clinch it two minutes from time but Carson produced a super save from Maguire.

Oxford sealed the deal three minutes into added time SERCOMBE scoring from inside the box.

FULL-TIME

OXFORD 2

HARTLEPOOL UTD 0

Oxford: Buchel, Kenny, Dunkley, Wright, Skarz (Lundstram 65), Ruffels, MacDonald (Roberts 79), Sercombe, Maguire, Roofe (O'Dowda 57), Hylton

Subs: Slocombe, Mullins, Waring, O'Dowda, Lundstram, Bowery, Roberts

Goals: Roofe 7, Sercombe 90

Booked: Skarz 28, Roberts 86

Pools: Carson, Magnay, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Featherstone, Woods (Bingham 79), Hawkins, Gray (Oates 70), James (Duckworth 85), Thomas.

Subs: Bartlett, Duckworth, Richards, R Jones, Laurent, Bingham, Oates.

Booked: Bates 38, Hawkins 62, Carroll 64

Att: 7,955 (away 277)