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Match Report


Posted Tue 18 Aug 09 at 21:40 PM

Rovers And Out For Pools At The Vic

Pools lost out 2-1 to Bristol Rovers on a entertaining evening at The Vic - which ended with a disappointing result.

It was Chris Turner's men who dominated possession this evening but Rovers who made their share of the ball count - hitting two quick fire goals late in the first half to cancel out Denis Behan's opener and seal the three points.

James Brown made his first start for Pools in nine months and showed the supporters just what they've been missing with a solid first-half display.

The lively striker burst into life and had his first shot on goal after just three minutes of play; Leon McSweeney whipped in a great ball from the right which found Brown at the far post - he rose well to head at goal but his effort found Fraser Forster in the Rovers goal.

Just minutes later and Brown had his second punt on goal when a great touch from Tony Sweeney in midfield set Brown away running on goal. The pacy forward powered into the area before hitting a great shot which was kept out by a top block from Forster who just got up to tip the ball over the bar.

Pools were enoying all of the early possession and were playing some good football - a looping ball into the box from Steve Haslam again found Brown but this time his headed effort went over the bar.

Scott Flinders was called into action for the first time around the twenty minute mark when Jeff Hughes broke away to fire in from just inside the box - luckily the Pools stopper was alert as he got down to hold the ball.

Turner's men capitalised on their pressure in the 38th minute when Andy Monkhouse snatched possession well from midfield to play it on for James Brown - he pushed on before lefting a left-footed ball across goal for the arriving Denis Behan whose diving header flew into the back of the net to give Pools a much-deserved lead.

But as Pools upped their pressure and looked set to take the lead into the break, the visitors bit back.

Aaron Lescott finished off a long build-up of play for Rovers to smash a fierce drive past Flinders and into the back of the net.

And, while the equaliser was unfair on Pools - the goal that followed was a big blow.

With the final minute of added-on time being played out, the dangerous Jo Kuffour escaped a number of challenges inside the area before turning to fire past Flinders and hand the advantage to Bristol Rovers going into the second half.

The second half proved a lively affair and Pools were again on top in terms of possession.

Andy Monkhouse was in good form down the left wing, while Behan continued to cause problems for the visitors. But for all their possession and determination, there was little to really test Forster in the Rovers goal.

And Pools had to remain focussed at the back as Paul Trollopes outfit used the break well - Kuffour continued to cause problems with his pace while Hughes was a presence down the left wing.

Turner's men came desperately close to getting the equaliser just on the half-way mark of the second half; Brown flicked the ball on inside the box for his strike partner Behan who battered a ball goalwards only to see it crash against the bar and then go out for the corner kick.

From the resulting corner, Behan again found himself in possession only to be denied by the woodwork once again - this time his strike from close range smashed against the near post and bounced wide.

The two efforts on goal saw Pools up their pressure and gave the home fans a lift as they sensed an equaliser was imminent.

Leon McSweeney carved out a great chance just minutes later when he cut in from the right, sent the ball through the legs of Lescott before running in to flash a ball across the face of goal - unfortunately it just failed to connect with either Brown or Behan and the chance was lost.

McSweeney was involved in Pools' next big chance on goal - good determination from Monkhouse saw the right winger pick up possession just inside the area and, although there looked to be no space for the shot, McSweeney fired in a powerful blast on goal which needed a strong save from Forster to deny the equaliser.

But once again Pools failed to overturn the deficit and it was the visitors who left The Vic with all three points.

Chris Turner will again take plenty of positives from the game but will be looking for his side to make more of their possession in Saturday's trip to Gillingham.

Att: 3137 (130 Bristol Rovers)

Pools: Flinders, Haslam, Collins, Liddle, Hartley, McSweeney (Foley 87), Sweeney, Fredriksen (Rowell 87), Monkhouse, Behan, Brown (Boyd 81)
Subs Not Used: Cook, Austin, Power

Bristol Rovers: Forster, Lescott, Coles, Anthony, Regan, Hughes, Campbell, Lines, Pipe (Blizzard 90), Kuffour, Duffy (Williams 78)
Subs Not Used: Phillips, Reece, Swallow, Rigg, Hunt

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