Glanford Park Victory For Pools
John Hughes' side made it six games unbeaten with a 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe United this afternoon.
Two first-half goals from James Poole and Jonathan Franks were enough to see Pools pick up the points - though there was a tense finish to the game after the hosts grabbed one back late in the game.
After a frantic start to the game here at Glanford Park, it would be fair to say it was the hosts who enjoyed the larger share of the early ball.
But Pools dug in and made sure their advantage came where it counted – by hitting the back of the net.
Scott Flinders was called in action on 7 minutes to push a powerful strike from Jimmy Ryan wide of target as the hosts looked for an early opener.
While Scunthorpe looked bright going forward though, they looked a little nervy at the back – as Pools found out with their first real attack of the game.
Neil Austin pushed down the right to send a teasing cross into the box, which skipped its way across the area, taking several attempts from the hosts to clear.
And with 20 minutes on the clock, Pools were ahead; a cross into the area from Franks on the right was met by Humphreys on the edge of the box and he headed down for Wyke. The on-loan striker showed a good touch to put the ball into the path of Poole and he showed great confidence to send a sweet strike past Sam Slocombe to make it 1-0.
Hughes’ men visibly grew in confidence following the goal and started to play some good football, passing it neatly around the pitch and working the hosts hard.
Once again the hard work paid off when Pools doubled their lead on 37 minutes; Horwood played the ball forward for a pacy Franks and the former Middlesbrough man showed a great touch to push on past the watch of three Scunthorpe men, into the box where he sent a great strike across Slocombe’s goal and into the bottom corner of the net.
Pools could have made it 3-0 before the break when a Horwood corner found Peter Hartley rising in the area and the skipper’s powerful header was bound for goal if it wasn’t for a hopeful kick out by a Scunthorpe man which took it just over the bar.
Hughes’ men took a deserved two-goal advantage into the break after a strong first-half display and they will have been looking to continue this dominance into the second period.
Shortly after the restart James Poole was denied his second of the afternoon as he unleashed an ambitious but brilliant effort on goal – his strike had Slocobe beaten but unfortunately the woodwork had other ideas and the ball crashed against the bar and bounced back into play.
Pools were put under more pressure in the second half as the hosts came out more determined – Scott Flinders was called out to punch clear through a crowd before Hartley sent a long header clear of danger.
Poole – who was a real threat for Pools this afternoon – tried his luck again from distance but this time his curling effort from the right of goal was pushed wide by Slocombe.
But Scunthorpe were soon back pressing at the other end and there were some crucial headers clear from Collins, Howard and Hartley as Pools looked to hold on to their two-goal advantage.
It was definitely more of a battle for Hughes’ men in the second half but the players were up for the fight and they dug deep, closing down in numbers and chasing every ball.
But after a strong period of pressure from the hosts, they pulled a goal back and Pools had to remain strong for the remainder of the game.
A ball into the area from Mark Duffy on the left found sub James Alabi climbing in the area and the big striker sent a good header past Flinders to mark his debut for Scunthorpe.
The goal set up for a tense final ten minutes inside Glanford Park as the hosts pushed hard for an equaliser and Pools tried just as hard to keep them out.
The Pools fans, who were once again following in good numbers, encouraged their side throughout the tense closing stages, which included five minutes of added time.
Full Time: Scunthorpe United 1 Pools 2
Booked: Walton (55), Howard (79)
Att: 3434 (359 Pools)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Walton, Humphreys, Baldwin, Franks (James 85), Wyke (Howard 61), Poole (Monkhouse 78)
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Luscombe, Holden, Rutherford
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Nolan, Mirfin, Canavan, Newey, Duffy, Walker (Barcham 46), Collins, Ryan, Hawley Sodje (Alabi 67)
Subs Not Used: Ribeiro, Jennings, Grella, Severn, Godden