Northampton Town 2-0 Hartlepool United: Pools beaten at Sixfields

Hartlepool United’s barren record at Sixfields continued as they were beaten by Northampton Town.
Hartlepool United fell to defeat against Northampton Town at Sixfields. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)Hartlepool United fell to defeat against Northampton Town at Sixfields. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)
Hartlepool United fell to defeat against Northampton Town at Sixfields. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)

Sam Hoskins grabbed his ninth goal of the season to open the scoring before substitute Chanka Zimba scored with almost his first touch of the game as the Cobblers scored from yet another set piece this season.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Pools who lacked any real cutting edge and were left empty handed.

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Grame Lee made two changes to his starting XI from the win over Newport County eight days ago including a debut for teenager Nicholas Bilokapic who deputised for Ben Killip in goal who missed out with an illness.

Martin Smith dropped to the bench in place of Bryn Morris who returned to the lineup for the first time since the 1-1 draw with Sutton United as Lee stuck with five in defence following the success in South Wales.

And Pools almost got off to the best possible start when Tom Crawford’s pass was met by Omar Bogle who turned Aaron McGowan well to advance into the area before forcing a good save from Liam Roberts.

Immediately up the other end and the home side had the chance to punish Pools as Hoskins found Mitch Pinnock who brought Bilokapic into action with a fine stop.

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But Bilokapic had to pick the ball out of his net two minutes later when Pinnock this time found Hoskins and the striker slotted between the legs of the young goalkeeper to break the deadlock.

Pools did not help themselves with a number of erratic mistakes in defence during the first half, one which saw Gary Liddle perhaps fortunate to only collect a yellow card.

Pools did settle though and edged into things towards the end of the half and almost levelled when Luke Molyneux stung the fingers of Roberts.

It was a brighter start after the break for Lee’s side as David Ferguson saw an effort just wide.

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But the hosts doubled their lead when Joseph Mills’ freekick was missed by Liddle, falling to Zimba from six yards, as the substitute powered beyond Bilokapic.

Molyneux came close to a quick reply but it was the home side who pressed on from there with the game beyond Pools.

The defeat means Pools have still not won at Sixfields since 1969.

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Northampton Town 2-0 Hartlepool United RECAP: Pools beaten at Sixfields

Key Events

  • Goals from Sam Hoskins and Chanka Zimba down Pools in Northampton.
  • Nicholas Bilokapic makes Hartlepool United debut
  • Northampton Town XI: Roberts, McGowan, Sowerby, Guthrie, Horsfall, Hoskins, Lewis, Lubala, Pinnock, Mills ©, Appere
  • Subs: Harriman, Pollock, Zimba, Eppiah, Maxted, Rose, Dyche
  • Hartlepool United XI: Bilokapic, Sterry, Byrne, Liddle, Odusina, Ferguson, Featherstone ©, Morris, Crawford, Molyneux, Bogle
  • Subs: Boyes, Ogle, Smith, Shelton, Fletcher, Carver, Grey

Graeme Lee makes two changes to his Hartlepool United side this afternoon including a debut for goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic

𝙋𝙧𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙓𝙄

Graeme Lee could welcome back three first choice options to his midfield this afternoon with Bryn Morris, Mark Shelton and Joe White all returning to training this week.

The Hartlepool United boss has a decision on his hands however as to whether to revert to a back four or stick with the three centre backs who worked well against Newport County last time out.

And we predict Lee may choose to switch to a back four once more with two changes from that win in South Wales eight days ago.

Predicted XI: Killip, Sterry, Byrne, Odusina, Ferguson, Featherstone (c), Morris, Crawford, Grey, Molyneux, Bogle

𝙁𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙨-𝘼𝙣𝙜𝙤𝙡 𝙙𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚

Graeme Lee has backed his decision to allow Zaine Francis-Angol to head out on-loan for the rest of the season.

Francis-Angol was a late signing for National League leaders Stockport County this week with the defender once again linking up with former Pools boss Dave Challinor.

“Zaine was the most important part of it, to make sure [it benefited him],” Lee told The Mail.

“He’s trained everyday, he’s done the right things, he’s done a job when he’s come into the team he’s just another one who had frustration with not getting the game time he wanted due to the performances that have been on the pitch more than anything.

“He hasn’t shown frustration on the training field, he’s just gone about his job but he came to me last week saying he had an opportunity to go out on-loan.

“Zaine’s out of contract at the end of the summer. He felt as though he needed it for his own personal career,” said Lee.

“Zaine will hopefully go there and get some game time and it will be brilliant for me to assess and I look forward to assessing Zaine’s performances.”

𝙃𝙤𝙡𝙤𝙝𝙖𝙣 𝙚𝙭𝙞𝙩𝙨

Graeme Lee has given his verdict on Gavan Holohan’s Hartlepool United exit as he hopes to see the midfielder back at the Suit Direct Stadium next season.

It was a saga which seemingly ran on for a number of weeks as the Irishman struggled to force his way into Lee’s side during Pools’ good run of form recently.

Holohan was not involved in Lee’s squad to face Tranmere Rovers last month, a game which Pools would win 1-0, with Lee admitting the decision was tactical owing to the fierce competition for places within the Pools midfield following a successful January transfer window.

Holohan returned to the fold for the subsequent five games, including an appearance from the bench in the defeat at Walsall before once again being a surprise omission from the squad to face Bradford City at the Suit Direct Stadium.

But speculation surrounding Holohan’s future, with the midfielder’s contract at the Suit Direct Stadium set to expire in the summer, came to an end when the Irishman completed a switch to Grimsby Town this week.

And Lee has delivered his verdict on the move, admitting it was probably the right decision before wishing Holohan success with the Mariners.

“I said to all the lads when I came in there’s a challenge,” said Lee.

“Unfortunately it went on where Gav wasn’t getting enough game time that he wanted and he had an opportunity.

“His agent rang me on Friday to say he wanted the Grimsby move to happen and it was a situation that, where we were with it all, it was probably the right decision for him.”

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣

Jon Brady has stressed his side will be back at their best this afternoon slipping to a narrow defeat at Sixfields against Bristol Rovers last time out.

“I feel, through this week and through the lessons we learned on Saturday, we will be stronger for it,” Brady told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

“A lot of teams, and a lot of bigger clubs, have struggled this season. When we haven’t had our best games, we have bounced back pretty quickly.

“We know what we can do but sometimes you can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the game and I felt we did on Saturday, but we will be back to our best this weekend, that’s for sure.”

𝙏𝙚𝙖𝙢 𝙉𝙚𝙬𝙨

Graeme Lee could be handed a huge boost for Hartlepool United’s trip to Northampton Town this weekend with up to three of his midfield options back in contention.

Pools were dealt a blow ahead of their defeat to Bradford City at the Suit Direct Stadium last week when Mark Shelton reported a hamstring issue in training ruling the midfielder out of selection.

And things got worse for Lee with Newcastle United loanee Joe White picking up an ankle injury in that defeat to the Bantams which saw both players miss the trip to Newport County a week ago.

Shelton and White’s absence was added to by Bryn Morris, who has been out of action since suffering an ankle injury in the home draw with Sutton United last month.

But Lee could be set to welcome all three midfielder’s back into contention for the trip to Sixfields this weekend.

“The lads coming back in is brilliant but we’ve got Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday coming up so it’s about how quick we want to throw bodies in and can it affect the games so we’ll assess them all today and see what we’ve got,” said Lee.


Hartlepool United face promotion chasing Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium looking to add to a positive result last time out against Newport County.

Graeme Lee’s side came from behind to win at Rodney Parade and end a run of just one win in five games in all competitions.

Lee is hoping his side can learn from their dead ball mistakes however as they prepare to face the set-piece kings in Northampton this afternoon.

The Cobblers have scored a whopping 21 times from set plays this season, 47% of their total of 45 goals this season, with defenders Jon Guthrie and Fraser Horsfall contributing 14 goals to Northampton’s tally.

And it is something Pools will have to be alert to on their visit to Sixfields this afternoon having conceded from a set piece in each of their last two games against Newport and Bradford City.

“We speak about it all the time and them little details about stopping the opponent all over the pitch, not just on set plays, is massive,” Lee told The Mail.

“Everyone has got to know their role on set plays and where they should be and what their job is and if that ball is there you have to go and head it.

“We worked on it last week and spoke about fighting for every touch of that ball and not letting your opponents win the first ball and how you have to mark in the box and how you have to defend.

“I hate conceding any goal but set pieces are frustrating. You can even go back to the Crystal Palace game.

“We shouldn’t give teams them opportunities, so it’s something we’re working on and looking at trying to improve on and hopefully we can nullify that.”


Good afternoon and welcome to Sixfields Stadium.

We’re here in Northampton as Hartlepool United return to League Two action to face the Cobblers.

Pools are looking for back-to-back victories after their successful trip to South Wales eight days ago where goals from Jamie Sterry, Luke Molyneux and Neill Byrne’s first for Hartlepool helped Graeme Lee’s side to a notable win over Newport County.

But things don’t get any easier for Pools this afternoon as they face another promotion chasing side in Jon Brady’s Northampton.

And we’re here to guide you through all the action today with team news an updates from Sixfields Stadium in our live blog with the Hartlepool Mail.