Scunthorpe Utd 1 Hartlepool Utd 2: Pools now six unbeaten

Hartlepool's Simon Walton rises to win the ball at Scunthorpe. Picture by Frank Reid
Hartlepool's Simon Walton rises to win the ball at Scunthorpe. Picture by Frank Reid

HARTLEPOOL United extended their unbeaten run to six matches thanks to a 2-1 victory at relegation rivals Scunthorpe United.

John Hughes’ men were good value for their fourth win in six outings but they remain eight points from safety with results elsewhere again not going their way.

James Poole and Jonathan Franks were the first-half scorers but a late header from James Alabi ensured a nervy finale.

Pools were the stronger of the sides for the majority but it was Scunthorpe’s Jimmy Ryan who was first to threaten when he smashed towards the bottom corner from 20 yards, Scott Flinders gathering at the second attempt.

Pools could have taken a 15th-minute lead had Neil Austin’s low centre not been deflected from the path of Ritchie Humphreys with the veteran steaming in unmarked inside the six-yard area.

But they were in front five minutes later when Charlie Wyke, out-muscling his minder inside the penalty area, rolled back for Poole who hammered first time into the bottom corner.

The visitors were in command and it came as no surprise when their advantage was extended eight minutes before the break.

Franks backed himself in a leg-race with David Mirfin and the Iron centre-back was duly trailing in his wake as the Pools forward burned into the area and fired low beyond Sam Slocombe.

Pools went in search of a third before half-time and only an instinctive goal-line block from Eddie Nolan denied Peter Hartley after the skipper had headed on target from Evan Horwood’s corner.

And they came within a lick of paint of making the game safe when Poole landed an outrageous 25-yard volley onto the crossbar five minutes into the second half.

Poole again went close just after the hour-mark when trying to squeeze a half-volley between Slocombe and his near post, the keeper scrambling to smuggle around the upright.

But Pools were made to sweat during the final 15 minutes after substitute Alabi turned in a close-range header from Mark Duffy’s inviting delivery.

And the final act was a Ryan blast which whistled just inches wide with Flinders beaten.