Ten-Man Pools Make Point At Proact
Matty Dolan scored from the spot to give Pools a share of the spoils at league leaders Chesterfield this afternoon.
The hosts had taken a first-half lead but Pools were deservedly back on level terms just after the break when Dolan scored a penalty.
Cooper's men went on to dominate and, despite the loss of Andy Monkhouse who saw red on 68 minutes, could have gone on to take all three points.
The Christmas cheer was in full flow here at The Proact Stadium as the match kicked off to a real cacophony of noise from both sets of fans.
And the enthusiasm off the pitch was mirrored on it as the game burst into life, with decent chances for both teams in the opening ten minutes.
Jonathan Franks had Pools’ best chance as he turned neatly to volley on goal from just inside the box- the effort was just tipped over by Tommy Lee but showed the confidence of the forward at the moment
Cooper’s men were lucky to still be on level terms just minutes later after a Marc Richards cross into the box caused problems. Armand Gnanduillet got the final shot on goal and looked set to open the scoring with Flinders beaten but Jack Baldwin somehow got himself in the way
of the ball to clearit off the line. The Pools keeper then clawed clear through a crowd to deny the rebound strike.
Michael Duckworth was looking bright for Pools at both ends, and got up well to clear a couple of Tendayi Darikwa crosses from the right.
Duckworth’s determination saw him take a knock after going in to challenge Gnanduillet to another of those crosses; the right back took a blow to the head from a combination of the tall striker’s head and Flinder’s punch but was able to continue after treatment.
There was another chance for Gnanduillet and a strike from distance from Eoin Doyle as Chesterfield employed a very direct style of play.
The opening goal arrived on the half hour mark when Darikwa volleyed past Flinders from close range, giving Pools a bigger target if they were to get anything from the game.
Chesterfield’s reliance on the high ball to Gnanduillet and Richards saw them on top for a period following the goal but Pools did look to find their stride as the half neared its end.
Franks and Duckworth found more luck down the right hand side and began to test the Chesterfield defence.
James Poole turned to break through before feeding it on to Luke James who was denied a shot by former Poolie Ritchie Humphreys who got in a crucial block.
Andy Monkhouse was in a good position to shoot with a low effort on goal only to find the arms of Tommy Lee and Pools finished the first half with a goal to chase.
The equaliser did arrive just after the break; James Poole broke free to run through on goal but with the target in his sights, he was pushed to the ground by Sam Hird – who surprisingly received not even a yellow card for his foul.
The penalty was awarded and a calm Matty Dolan stepped up to slot home and make it 1-1 on 48 minutes.
After a strong spell from Pools, in which they were able to keep the ball and get some passes strung together, the game opened up again, with chances at both ends.
Christian Burgess cleared with an important header after Flinders had been pulled out his area before Gnanduillet fired over the bar from a decent position.
At the other end, Luke James turned only to fire wide of the far post, while James Poole was becoming an increasing problem for the Chesterfield defence with his quick feet and movement.
Pools were reduced to ten men on 68 minutes when Andy Monkhouse picked up his second yellow card from an unpredictable official, who was frustrating for both home and away fans this afternoon.
Despite being a man down, Pools continued to play their passing game and showed no sign of giving up on the three points.
Matty Dolan finished off a neat move with a powerful strike from distance which scraped wide of Lee’s goal and the midfielder tried again with another blast from outside the box, only to clear the crossbar this time.
Cooper’s side were not playing like a team who were a man down as they continued to press the home defence, with the front three of Poole, James and Franks seeing plenty of the ball.
Both Burgess and Baldwin were strong again for Pools this afternoon, particularly in the air against the home side's aerial threat and they remained alert throughout to ensure the hosts did not break through.
Luke James almost grabbed it in spectacular style for his side in the dying seconds with a great volley from the edge of the area but an equally impressive save from Tommy Lee denied him the winner.
Pools finished the game on top and, after dominating the second half, were more than deserving of a point from this game.
Full Time: Chesterfield 1 Pools 1
Boooked: Baldwin (45), Monkhouse (63)
Sent Off: Monkhouse (68)
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth, Baldwin, Burgess, Austin, Compton (Poole 17), Dolan, Walker, Monkhouse, Franks (Rodney 86), James
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Collins, Holden, Walton, Sweeney
Chesterfield: Lee; Talbot, Evatt, Hird, Humphreys; Darikwa, Banks, Togwell (Cooper 79), Doyle (McSheffrey 76) Richards, Gnanduillet (O’Shea 65)
Mason, Brown, Smith, McFadzeanSubs Not Used: