Northampton Town 2-1 Hartlepool United: Josh Umerah goal not enough to avoid narrow defeat for Paul Hartley's side

Josh Umerah celebrates with team mates after scoring for Hartlepool United against Northampton Town. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)Josh Umerah celebrates with team mates after scoring for Hartlepool United against Northampton Town. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)
Josh Umerah celebrates with team mates after scoring for Hartlepool United against Northampton Town. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)
Hartlepool United scored their first goal of the season but slipped to a narrow defeat against Northampton Town.

At the fourth time of asking this season, Pools found the back of the net as Josh Umerah bundled in on the stroke of half-time at Sixfields but it wasn’t enough to prevent Paul Hartley’s side from falling to a third away defeat of the season in all competitions.

Sixfields has not been a happy hunting ground for Pools over the years having not won in Northampton for over 50 years and that is a trend which will continue thanks to goals from former Pools defender Tyler Magloire and Louis Appere.

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Magloire towered above the Pools defence to head home half an hour into the contest before Umerah’s equaliser at the end of the first half.

But Pools were behind again before the hour as Appere converted from close range despite the best efforts of Alex Lacey on the goal line.

It leaves Pools on one point from their first three games of the season ahead of a double header at the Suit Direct Stadium next week.

After an eye-opening defeat against a much-changed Blackburn Rovers in midweek, which saw Pools dumped out of the Carabao Cup, Hartley reverted to a similar XI who produced an encouraging display in last week’s goalless draw with AFC Wimbledon.

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Ben Killip, Rollin Menayese, Euan Murray and Mohamad Sylla were the only players who featured at Ewood Park to start at Sixfields - Sylla overcoming a bout of cramp which forced him off late in the game against the Championship side to make his first league start for Pools.

Lacey, who was rested for a niggling injury in midweek, returned to the heart of defence with Hartley again sticking with three centre-backs and Jamie Sterry and David Ferguson featuring at wing-back.

Nicky Featherstone returned to captain the side as Callum Cooke and Jake Hastie joined Josh Umerah in the attack.

The hosts made one change with Sam Sherring missing out in a defence which included former Pools loanee Maglorie and ex-Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge with the in-form Sam Hoskins in attack.

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And it was the home side who started the brighter with the talented Mitch Pinnock pulling the strings for the Cobblers as he skipped by Murray on the right before a low cross caused havoc inside the Pools penalty.

Moments later Pinnock’s floated free-kick found the head of Jon Guthrie but the Northampton skipper just couldn’t get enough on his glancing header to worry Killip.

But Pools settled into the game and were close to ending their early season drought when Cooke linked up with Sterry on the right and his centre found Ferguson who looked destined to score but for an excellent block inside the six yard box.

Cobblers talisman Hoskins twice tested Killip from range but he was equal on both occasions before making a fine stop to keep out full-back Harvey Lintott who couldn’t believe his luck when finding himself unmarked inside the area as Pools awaited an offside flag which never came.

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But the deadlock was broken on the half-hour mark from the familiar head of Magloire.

Pinnock lined up for a long throw before taking it short to Shaun McWilliams which caught Pools napping.

McWilliams’ cross was powered at goal by Danny Hylton forcing a superb save from Killip before the ball cannoned high into the air for the on-rushing Magloire to tower above everyone and head in from close range.

Pools fans may have feared the worst at that stage but the response was positive from Hartley’s side and they were rewarded on the stroke of half-time with their first goal of the season.

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Cooke’s free-kick from the left was headed at goal forcing Burge into an excellent save onto the bar, with the ball again looping into the air, before Umerah bundled his way through a crowd of bodies on the goal line to help force it in.

Pools weren’t level for long however as the Cobblers regained their lead 12 minutes after the restart when Killip fumbled a cross from the right into the path of Appere who saw his first attempt at goal blocked by the hand of Lacey before converting at the second time of asking.

After a short delay while referee Sunny Gill made up his mind, the goal was given and Lacey escaped with a yellow card.

But Pools ought to have been level instantly when a cross from the right fell at the feet of Ferguson at the back post where his heavy touch ran across the six yard box to Umerah who had to score, only for Burge to make a stunning point blank save.

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A second drinks break, due to the extreme heat conditions, took a little bit of the sting out of things before the Cobblers created a number of half chances with Pinnock largely involved again including flashing an effort wide from a well-worked free-kick.

And yet Pools should have taken something from Sixfields when Ferguson’s cross from the left found Umerah inside the area but he headed well over the bar with the goal gaping as Pools slipped to their second away defeat in the league this season.

Northampton Town XI: Burge, Magloire, Sowerby (Leonard ‘45), Guthrie, Hoskins, Appere (Fox ‘69), Hylton (Bowie ‘79), Pinnock (Haynes ‘88), Koiki, McWilliams, Lintott

Subs: Maxted, Cross, Dyche

Hartlepool United XI: Killip, Sterry, Menayese, Lacey, Murray, Ferguson, Featherstone ©, Sylla (Crawford ‘73), Cooke, Hastie (Sylla ‘73), Umerah

Subs: Letheren, Tumilty, Paterson, Niang, Shelton