Walsall 3-1 Hartlepool United RECAP: George Miller double ends Pools' unbeaten run
Hartlepool United’s eight game unbeaten run came to an end as they suffered defeat at the Banks’s Stadium against Walsall.
A lacklustre first half saw Graeme Lee’s side 2-0 down at the break thanks to goals from George Miller and Conor Wilkinson.
But there were hopes of another reaction from Pools after the break as Omar Bogle gave them a lifeline when converting from close range.
But any signs of a comeback were short lived as Walsall re-established their two goal lead just four minutes later as Miller capitalised on a mistake from Gary Liddle to grab his second of the game.
The goal came as a blow to Pools who were enjoying their best spell in the game at that moment with Lee’s side unable to respond from that point.
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Jamie Sterry returned to the starting XI in place of the inured Zaine Francis-Angol while Isaac Fletcher earned his first start for the club after a winning cameo against Colchester United in midweek.
Liddle returned to the Banks’s Stadium in place of the suspended Neill Byrne.
But the first half saw Pools struggle in what might have been a game too far for Lee’s side as they were second to most things with the Walsall enjoying themselves in Michael Flynn’s first home game in charge.
And the Saddlers took the lead when Emmanuel Osadebe was allowed to run unchallenged from midfield before finding Miller who skipped inside of Timi Odusina before firing low into the bottom corner back across Ben Killip.
It was a lead they would double midway through the half when Wilkinson was able to collect the ball on halfway and again advance to the edge of the area unchallenged before firing into the bottom corner.
Lee brought on Joe Grey at the break as he looked for a spark from his side which came through Bogle as he capitalised on a fumble from Carl Rushworth to give Pools hope.
And it looked like they might turn the screw as Fletcher tested Rushworth before the Saddlers sealed the game through Miller.
A long ball was sent forward and should have been dealt with by Liddle but he left his backpass short for Killip as Miller skipped in to convert into an empty net and end Pools’ unbeaten run.
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Walsall 3-1 Hartlepool United RECAP: Pools’ unbeaten run comes to an end
Last updated: Sunday, 27 February, 2022, 24:07
- George Miller adds gets his second of the game
- Omar Bogle scored to reduce the deficit
- George Miller puts Walsall in front
- Conor Wilkinson doubles Walsall’s lead
- Walsall XI: Rushworth, White, Labadie ©, Daniels, Monthe, Kinsella, Wilkinson, Osadebe, Miller, Earing, Shade
- Subs: Rose, Ward, Kiernan, Tomlin, Perry, Rodney, Menayese
- Hartlepool United XI: Killip, Sterry, Liddle, Odusina, Ferguson, Featherstone ©, Crawford, Fletcher, White, Molyneux, Bogle
- Subs: Bilokapic, Hull, Ogle, Shelton, Holohan, Grey, Carver
Graeme Lee reaction
Graeme Lee was left disappointed after Hartlepool United’s unbeaten run came to an end at Walsall.
Pools were beaten 3-1 at the Banks’s Stadium after a sluggish first half saw them two goals behind.
But unlike in recent games where Pools have been able to force their way back into the game they left the Midlands empty handed.
George Miller gave the Saddlers the lead before Conor Wilkinson doubled the home side’s advantage midway through the first half.
Omar Bogle grabbed his fourth goal for Pools in what might have been another remarkable turnaround from Lee’s side.
But that comeback was short lived as Miller capitalised on Gary Liddle’s error to re-establish a two goal lead which Michael Flynn’s side would hold onto.
“There’s nothing but disappointment really,” said Lee.
“The way we started the game and the first half performance just invited them on to us too much.
“It was the manager’s first home game but they’re already the type of team who will press you and we invited it on.
“There was no purpose to what we wanted to do.
“We got ourselves back in the game and the momentum swung, you could see them on the back foot, and then we gift them a goal and it swings the game back around in Walsall’s favour and you’re chasing the game.
“There was no meaning to our decision making.
“We’ve had a great run but today’s performance isn’t acceptable.”
Pools will now have a week on the training field ahead of next weekend’s trip to Harrogate Town.
Initial reaction to Pools’ defeat in Walsall
The full-time whistle goes as Pools slip to defeat and see their eight game unbeaten run come to an end
Osadebe off for Kiernan
Four minutes will be added
Osadebe tripped by Sterry as Miller is awarded the home man of the match
Two goal Miller is replaced by former Pools man Rodney
Osadebe with a freekick but it goes high, really high, over the bar
Carver comes on for Fletcher
82 - TOMLIN GOES CLOSE
Shade causing trouble on the left as he tries a rabona cross which Killip fumbles into Tomlin but the ex-Boro man drills wide