Pools were knocked out of the FA Cup in cruel fashion this evening, losing the Second Round Replay 2-1 to Coventry City – who grabbed their winner on 92 minutes.
It was an entertaining match here at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium as both teams enjoyed plenty of the ball and again Pools provided the League One side with a real battle.
Jack Baldwin struck what looked to be the goal to take things to extra time when he equalised on 87 minutes but the late Leon Clarke strike ended Pools’ FA Cup ambitions for this season.
Pools were first out of the blocks this evening, with Jonathan Franks making his presence felt inside the box early in the game. And the forward laid it into the path of Matty Dolan to shoot on goal but he mis-kicked and Coventry cleared.
Coventry were quick to respond but found Jack Baldwin in their way; the young defender put in a great challenge to poke the ball out of the path of the lively Callum Wilson who was bearing down on goal.
Leon Clarke looked set to give his team the opener only to be denied by Scott Flinders with another unbelievable save – the Pools’ stopper somehow got his body in the way to block the ball out of play when a goal looked certain
Christian Burgess was next to deny the hosts as he stretched out a foot to steal possession from Wilson who had burst in from the right.
Pools were enjoying plenty of the ball for themselves, without really testing Joe Murphy in the home goal. Franks looked lively in the final third and was Pools’ main threat in this first half.
But it was Coventry who opened the scoring and the goal arrived on 36 minutes when Leon Clarke latched onto a lovely John Fleck ball over the top to run through and finish coolly past Flinders.
Pools had one chance to level before the interval as a Simon Walton freekick picked out Christian Burgess powering in on goal but the defender saw his weighty header go wide of the near post.
There was an early scare as the second half got underway and Leon Clarke forced his way into the area but the striker saw his show blocked by Flinders at the near post.
Flinders was then brave to throw himself down at the feet of Clarke to prevent the striker from adding to his tally and while Coventry had the more dangerous possession, Pools were holding their own.
Michael Duckworth began to see more of the ball as Pools offered more from out wide, while Matty Dolan tried to catch Murphy out with a strike from distance, which went wide.
Pools enjoyed a really strong spell of pressure, with sub Luke James adding his threat up front but while the action was concentrated around Murphy’s goal, the hosts broke with a move that saw Clarke head wide.
Jack Baldwin saw a header saved at one end, while Flinders pulled off another strong save to deny Carl Baker a goal in the opposite goalmouth.
Colin Cooper brought Sam Collins on to join the attack late in the game and the big defender made his presence felt, winning an 86 minute corner for his side. And the corner paid off as Jack Baldwin rose to power a header home through a crowd and give Pools an equaliser with only minutes remaining.
But it wasn’t to be for Pools and a Coventry break in the dying seconds saw Leon Clarke force home his second of the game and seal his side’s place in the Third Round of the FA Cup.
Full Time: Coventry City 2 Pools 1
Booked: Baldwin (81), Monkhouse (90)
Att: 1214 (225 Pools)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Walton (Poole 69), Compton (James 56), Dolan, Walker, Monkhouse, Franks (Collins 83)
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Holden, Sweeney, Rodney
Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Adams, Thomas, Fleck, Baker (Webster 90 + 3, L Clarke, Moussa, Seabourne, Wilson (Daniels 85), J Clarke
Subs Not Used: Gott, Barton, Phillips, Garner, Haynes