Scunthorpe United 1-1 Hartlepool United: Nicky Featherstone penalty rescues a point for Graeme Lee's side

Hartlepool United’s indifferent form continued as they were held to a draw by relegated Scunthorpe United at the Sands Venue Stadium.

By Joe Ramage
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 5:13 pm

The returning Nicky Feathertsone rescued what might have been a damaging defeat for Graeme Lee’s side when he converted from the penalty spot to cancel out Cameron Wilson’s first senior goal which had given the home side the lead.

It was a day which was perhaps more significant off the field rather than on it with Pools supporters paying tribute to the NHS as they travelled in their numbers once more as part of the club’s end of season fancy dress tradition.

Meanwhile, Scunthorpe supporters caused disruption to the game midway through the second half with fans protesting against their owner Peter Swann with the club’s 72-year stay in the Football League coming to an end this season.

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Hartlepool United's Tom Crawford in action with Scunthorpe United's Finley Shrimpton during the League Two match at the Sands Venue Stadium. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

The contrasting emotions were felt at the end of the game as Pools supporters and players remained in harmony at one end of the ground while a heavy police presence was on hand to prevent further distrubrances from Scunthrope supporters at the other long after their team had disappeared down the tunnel.

As for matters on the field, Pools’ injury troubles continued ahead of the trip to North Lincolnshire with midfielders Mark Shelton and Joe White being ruled out earlier in the week.

And Lee was dealt another blow on Friday when Middlesbrough loan midfielder Isaac Fletcher picked up an injury which kept him out of the match day squad.

It meant a third straight game with just five substitutes which might have been less but for the returns of Featherstone, Bryn Morris and Joe Grey.

Featherstone made his first appearance since the defeat to Salford City at the beginning of April while Morris returned from the head injury which kept him out of the defeat to Swindon Town.

Grey took a spot on the bench with Lee making just two changes.

But it was a slow start from both sides with Pools perhaps a little cautious having arrived in such a slump in form.

Ethan Young headed an early corner behind before Jake Hull registered Pools’ first effort at goal when he looped David Ferguson’s cross over Owen Foster’s goal.

Timi Odusina showed his bravery when blocking Fin Shrimpton’s strike which set Pools away on a counter-attack led by Featherstone.

The skipper rolled in Olufela Olomola who should have done better than to hand a goal kick back to the home side after his effort rebounded back off him and out.

The first save of the game came midway through the half when Jamie Sterry and Morris linked on the right with the Burton Albion man picking out Omar Bogle in the area but his headed attempt was comfortable for Foster.

Pools started to dominate possession against a youthful Scunthorpe side and came close to the breakthrough when Morris cleverly back-heeled into the path of Olomola who fired just wide of the post.

But the best chance fell to Bogle moments later when Luke Molyneux was able to win possession from Young on halfway and send his teammate through on goal only for Foster to be equal to what was a tame effort from Bogle from 12-yards.

Bogle curled just wide of the post 10 minutes before the interval with Pools firmly in the ascendancy.

And yet it was the home side who should have gone in ahead at the break when Wilson got the better of Odusina in the area and put it on a plate for Joe Nuttall but he was way off target much to the delight of the travelling doctors and nurses behind the goal.

Lee’s side came out with the bit between their teeth and were a whisker away from the opener when Morris skimmed the top of the bar from range.

Despite a fast start to the half though it was the home side who went in front after Tom Crawford’s misplaced pass was capitalised on by Wilson who advanced into the area and was able to slide beyond Ben Killip at his near post.

And things might have got worse for Pools on the hour when Nuttall latched onto a long ball forward ahead of Hull but was unable to generate the power to beat Killip on the stretch.

But Lee’s side were able to weather any potential storm and were inches away from an equaliser when Bogle was able to turn and shoot bringing an excellent stop from Foster who did just enouugh to push the effort onto the post.

Pools continued to turn the screw, particularly down the left with Olomola, who found Molyneux in the box 18 minutes from time and the former Sunderland striker was tripped by Ryan Delaney as the referee pointed to the spot.

Featherstone stepped up to convert from 12-yards as home supporters began disrupting the game at the other end of the field with a flurry of tennis balls thrown onto the pitch before a handful of supporters made their way onto the field.

There was an unrest among Iron supporters throughout the final 15 minutes of the game who continued to protest against their owner Swann following their relegation to the National League.

Pools might have won it when substitute Grey picked out Bogle unmarked in the area but he again fired straight at Foster with Lee’s side now without a win in eight games.

Scunthorpe United XI: Foster, O’Malley, Delaney, Beestin, Nuttall (Bunn ‘71), Wilson (Hallam ‘82), Shrimpton, Gallimore ©, Young, Matheson, Cribb (Feneey ‘65)

Subs: Watson, Rowe, Sinclair, Grant

Hartlepool United XI: Killip, Sterry, Hull, Odusina, Ferguson, Featherstone ©, Morris, Crawford (Grey ‘66), Olomola, Molyneux, Bogle

Subs: Bilokapic, Ogle, Smith, Carver