Portsmouth 0 Hartlepool 0: Pools hang on for battling point

Lewis Hawkins.
Lewis Hawkins.

Hartlepool United showed battle, fight and character as they frustrated Portsmouth to secure a Fratton Park point.

Question marks have been raised about whether Craig Hignett's men have the stomach for a League Two fight.

Well, despite recent capitulations, they answered those critics with a solid, if far from flashy, show on the South Coast as they won a deserved point.

Making four changes to the side, with a formation switch, Pools did exactly what the manager asked in the first-half - they stood up and were counted.

The visitors managed to frustrate the home fans with some resolute defending.

That was typified by Scott Harrison, who came in for under-fire Toto Nsiala.

Harrison was on hand to deny Pompey their clearest opening of the half, hooking clear off the line as former Pools transfer target Michael Smith look set to tap home a Kyle Bennett cross from the left.

Limiting the hosts to half chances from distance in the second half, Pools continued to stifle Pompey.

As the home side upped the ante, substitute Conor Chaplin almost got on the end of a low cross from the left, Smith was denied by the impressive Trevor Carson from close range.

Showing little of themselves in an attacking sense, having failed to register a shot on goal, Pools hung on for the draw, but they had keeper Carson to thank for the point as he got down excellently to deny a rasping Michael Doyle volley.