All Square At The Vic In Cup Clash
Pools will face Coventry City again in a Second Round replay after the two sides played out a competitive 1-1 draw at The Vic this afternoon.
After falling behind early in the game, Colin Cooper’s men dominated possession in the second half and were more than worthy of Andy Monkhouse’s equaliser.
The only disappointment was the lack of a deserved late winner for Pools – who will now travel to take on Coventry in a Replay.
The opponents, as can be the case with Pools recently, started brightest and had their first real shot at goal with just five minutes on the clock.
The lively Carl Baker sent a long-range effort at goal, which warmed up Scott Flinders as he had to push it over the bar to avoid an early set-back.
Billy Daniels was next to threaten as he broke into the right side of the box but sent his strike wide of the far post.
These early chances for Coventry though proved to be a warning for Pools, with the opening goal going to the Sky Blues on 11 minutes.
A Neil Austin slip allowed Franck Moussa in down the right and, while Jack Baldwin did well to block the initial shot from the forward, it was Moussa who picked up the loose ball to feed Baker and his well-executed overhead kick left Flinders with no chance as it hit the back of the net.
It could have been 2-0 to Coventry when a Cyrus Christie ball bounced its way through to Blair Adams at the far post but the full back sent his header wide when a goal looked more likely.
Pools, who again took time to warm into the game, had their first real chance on 23 minutes; a Jack Compton corner from the right picked out James Poole at the near post but his glancing header was stopped impressively by Joe Murphy on the ground.
By now, Cooper’s men were seeing much more of the ball – but found the task of breaking through a very deep Coventry side a tough task.
With Pools looking for that spark, Colin Cooper had Brad Walker stripped and ready to come on just before the break but the potential change seemed to lift the players as they enjoyed their brightest spell of the game.
A Matty Dolan short corner to Compton saw the winger whip another decent ball into the box where Christian Burgess met it in space to head at goal but again the Coventry keeper stopped the effort and Pools went in behind at the break.
Antony Sweeney joined the action for the second half, replacing James Poole, as Pools looked for a different approach to break past the Coventry numbers.
And within five minutes of the re-start Pools were on top, peppering the Coventry back line with crosses into the box.
A Simon Walton freekick from the edge of the area was held by the solid Murphy, before Burgess saw his second effort on goal – this time a close-range header from a Dolan freekick – go just over the bar at speed.
The introduction of Sweeney certainly gave Pools a lift and they were a much more potent threat after the break – with Flinders having not seen the ball at all inside the first 20 minutes.
Matty Dolan sent a freekick from just outside the box over the bar – awarded after sub Jonathan Franks was tripped when running on goal – as Pools continued to look for a deserved equaliser.
Michael Duckworth, again outstanding for Pools this afternoon, added his weight to the attack on numerous occasions, pushing in with power from the right and he looked a likely outlet if Cooper’s men were to find a way back level.
The equaliser did arrive on 77 minutes and it came in real style; a brilliant cross-field ball from Dolan picked out Franks running down the wing. He matched the quality of the ball he’d received with his own cross which perfectly picked out Monkhouse to allow the winger to head home and make it 1-1.
With Pools having so far focused entirely on the attack in this half, things were a little more nervy leading up to the whistle as the visitors began to see something of the ball going forward.
But it was Cooper’s men who used it with more intent, continuing to make the most of their width to cause problems and there were further chances for Walton and Franks before the full time whistle confirmed the draw.
The two sides will now face eachother again in a FA Cup Second Round replay to decide who will take their place in the Third Round.
Attendance: 2989 (541 Coventry City)
Full Time: Pools 1 Coventry City 1
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Compton (Franks 62), Walton (Walker 82), Dolan, Monkhouse, Poole (Sweeney 46), James
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Holden, Collins, Rodney
Coventry City: Murphy, Seaborne, Thomas, Christie, Webster, Fleck, Moussa (Baker-Richardson 70), Clarke, Baker, Adams, Daniels
Phillips, Haynes, Barton, Garner, Maund, BurgeSubs Not Used: