New Year Day frustrations for Hartlepool United after goalless draw with basement side Oldham Athletic
It was a frustrating start to 2022 for Hartlepool United as they could only manage a goalless draw with League Two basement side Oldham Athletic at the Suit Direct Stadium.
Pools had several good openings to score - Gavan Holohan in particular - and they hit the woodwork three times but couldn't find a breakthrough.
Oldham could have snatched the win at the end but sub Jack Stobbs fired wide in front of a frustrated Town End.
Graeme Lee made several changes for the visit of bottom-of-the-table Oldham Athletic, with Mark Cullen not involved.
Jono Mitchell was also missing from the matchday squad with young goalkeeper Patrick Boyes named on the bench instead.
Luke Molyneux was dropped to the bench, Millwall loanee Tyler Burey making his first start since rejoining the club on loan.
Elsewhere, Jordan Cook was handed a chance up front following his return from injury and Holohan returned to the midfield.
Pools started brightly, Sterry eager to get involved down the right-hand side early on.
Lee's side had the ball in the net less than five minutes in, Cook's header was ruled out for offside
Oldham should have scored nine minutes in, however, Davis Keillor-Dunn was played in but he smashed his effort off the crossbar when he had far more time and space to shoot past Ben Killip.
A let off for Pools. There was then a run of chances for Pools, David Ferguson saw a low effort palmed away, Holohan smashed an effort off the right-hand post and Cook then blazed over when he should have hit the target.
Pools were comfortable for long spells during the first half and had enough openings but they didn't take any chances.
Lee was forced into his first change just 33 minutes in, Cook going off injured with Luke Molyneux coming on in his place.
Pools invited pressure as the half wore on, Jamie Bowden fired wide, when he had more time.
It was a warning to Pools, who had started the game with intent but sat deeper as it wore on, the midfield's impact lessened as the half wore on.
Oldham finished the stronger of the two after five minutes of added-on time.
Pools started in a similar fashion to how they started the first half, Shelton fired wide before Ferguson hit the left-hand post, two good openings and the hosts should have taken the lead.
Another chance came just before the hour mark, Holohan sending his header wide of the right-hand post into the Rink End.
And it was that man again in the 67th minute, this time he sent a long-range shot wide.
Oldham could sense they might snatch a win and started pushing more bodies forward, the home fans getting frustrated after seeing Pools squander so many chances.
Holohan saw another effort tipped onto the post. Oldham kept at it and they should have scored through sub Stobbs, he was free inside the penalty area but fired wide in the 88th minute.
The game ended goalless, Pools left to rue their missed chances.
HUFC: Killip; Odusina, Liddle, Byrne; Sterry, Featherstone (C), Shelton (Daly, 86) Holohan, Ferguson; Cook (Molyneux, 34), Burey (Grey, 86)
Subs not used: Boyes, Francis-Angol, Crawford, Olomola.
Oldham: Leutwiler, Clarke (Stobbs, 41), Hart, McGahey (Hopcutt,45), Piergianni (C), Adams, Whelan, Hope, Keillor-Dunn, Bowden (Bahamboula, 65), Diarra.
Subs not used: Rogers, Couto, Vaughan, Turner.
Booked: McGahey (6), Clarke (38), Hart (45), Diarra (73)
Referee: Darren Handley
Attendance: 5,026 (381 away)
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