All square with Pools And Boro At The Vic
Pools played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with neighbours Middlesbrough on a cold night at The Vic.
Neale Cooper’s side took an early lead through Antony Sweeney but Boro bounced back to take a 2-1 lead. Sam Collins was on hand late in the game though as he powered home a header to make things level.
Cooper’s men looked bright again at the start of this evening’s game and created an early opening to test the visitors.
Andy Monkhouse sent a teasing low cross into the box where there were bodies waiting but unfortunately none were able to convert.
Monkhouse found himself with a second chance when a Jonathan Franks effort rebounded into his path but Monkhouse’s powerful strike was blocked bravely by Kevin Thomson.
With just 16 minutes on the clock Pools were ahead; after some good battling work by Steve Howard, Luke James sent a lovely cross into the box from the left.
And Antony Sweeney matched the effort when he moved into position to send a neat header past Boro keeper Jayson Leutwiler and into the back of the net.
Howard and James linked up nicely again for Pools for much of the first half but as Middlesbrough began to ask more questions, the pair had to work harder for an opening.
Sam Collins was called into action for Pools and he did not disappoint with a thunderous header to clear a dangerous cross in from Richard Smallwood.
But Middlesbrough were level just after the half hour mark when Scott McDonald managed to shake off Neil Austin inside the box to calmly slot home past Flinders.
Minutes later and the visitors were ahead; Adam Reach was allowed space inside the box to pick out his spot before firing home to make it 2-1.
Scott Flinders blocked from Emmanuel Ledesma to deny Boro a third, while Luke James had a half chance at the other end but the first half finished at 2-1.
Middlesbrough changed their entire eleven at half time so it was a different task ahead for Pools after the break.
Steve Howard had the first real chance of the second half as he took the ball down neatly on his chest and shot low on goal but visiting keeper Conor Ripley collected the effort.
Minutes later and it was Scott Flinders making the stop – Grant Leadbitter burst forward to fire on goal but the Pools keeper pulled off a great block to deny Boro’s new signing.
Andy Monkhouse found himself with a good chance to draw level but with the goal in his sights, the winger sent his effort high over the bar.
As Pools edged closer to an equaliser, an Evan Horwood cross from the left sailed high into the box where Steve Howard came out on top to meet it but the striker sent his header just wide of the far post.
With the game falling a little flat for a period, the game looked set to end in defeat but when Pools won a corner, Franks and Collins combined to square things up.
Former Middlesbrough man Franks sent a well-placed corner into the centre of the area and big defender Collins rose well to send a powerful header through the area and over Ripley to make it 2-2.
The goal spurred the game back into life and Boro were soon in action at the other end trying to re-take the lead but Flinders had other ideas, blocking well to deny Cameron Park.
Monkhouse had another good chance to hit home this evening when Howard rose well to nod the ball into his path inside the area but he just failed to get the right touch and he scuffed the ball wide.
Pools were looking very lively now, with James Poole making an impact since his introduction and Jonathan Franks causing problems down the right.
At the other end, Marvin Emnes broke to go one-on-one with Flinders but the Pools keeper held firm and tipped his final strike over the bar and the game finished 2-2.
Att: 3663 (1916 Middlesbrough)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Franks, Walton, Sweeney, Monkhouse, James (Poole 76), Howard
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Humphreys, Baldwin, Holden, Nish
Middlesbrough (First Half): Leutwiler, Smallwood, Hoyte, Correa, Hines, McManus, Haroun, Thomson, McDonald, Ledesma, Reach
Ripley, Friend, R Williams, Bailey, Halliday, Park, Dudu, Leadbitter, Castelan, L Williams, Emnes Middlesbrough (Second Half):
Sub Not Used: Main