Disappointing Draw At The Vic
Pools were held to a 0-0 draw by a resolute Colchester United, who played the entire second half with just ten men.
John Hughes’ men completely dominated possession in the second forty-five, throwing everything at the Colchester back line but the visitors stood firm and Pools had to settle for a point.
A slightly nervy Pools started the quieter of the two teams as the visitors burst into action from the off, trying their luck on goal twice inside the first four minutes.
And John Hughes’ side didn’t help themselves in the opening exchanges, with a few sloppy passes causing more problems as the importance of the match took hold.
Pools showed their first glimpse of a threat when Jonathan Franks burst down the left to whip a decent cross in and James Poole sent a guided volley at goal, which went just wide of the far post.
The hosts gradually began to settle into the game, showing a bit more in the final third and when Poole pushed forward with the ball, his pass deflected back out to the in-running Jack Baldwin and he sent a low drive through the box which was collected by Sam Walker.
This was to be the last real action that Baldwin saw though as he took a tumble inside the area, looking to injure his knee and he hobbled off the pitch to be replaced by Nathan Luscombe.
While Pools looked brighter going forward as the minutes passed, the visitors maintained their own pressure in the final third and it was a tight opening half.
The main action in the first half arrived just before the break; Jabo Ibehre threw himself into a tackle on Neil Austin and the referee, who was close by, reacted quickly to show the Colchester striker a red card – much to the disgust of the visiting camp.
And so Pools went into the second half with an extra man and 45 minutes to force their way through on goal to pick up a crucial 3 points.
James Poole took a couple of touches inside the opposition box just after the re-start to fire in on goal but his effort went just over the bar.
And this early threat was all Pools could create within the first ten minutes of a big second half – with Colchester predictably sitting tight and making things difficult.
A lovely ball by Peter Hartley set away a good move for Pools as the defender picked out Charlie Wyke. The striker took it down neatly to poke at goal but a brave block by Walker denied him with his initial effort and the rebound. James Poole added his weight to the battle as Pools looked to force the ball home but a combination of keeper and his defence – with a suspicion of a handball – kept the ball out.
Pools enjoyed a strong spell in terms of pressure around the hour mark but with Colchester throwing every man behind the ball, it proved difficult for the hosts to break them down.
But Hughes’ men persisted and kept pushing back at the visitors from all angles; Horwood was busy down the left, Franks and Austin combined well down the right and Poole was a constant presence around the box.
There were chances for Hartley, Poole and Franks, while Wyke was a threat for Pools but with 67 minutes on the clock, there had been no breakthrough.
When James Poole unleashed a strike from outside the box, a goal looked on but a slight touch from Walker tipped the ball onto the bar and it bounced back into play. Moments later and a pacy cross from Austin on the right met the head of the in-rushing Luscombe but his powerful header went wide of target.
The tension grew inside The Vic as the minutes passed and the breakthrough could not be found by Pools despite wave after wave of attack.
Luscombe had a late chance when he picked up the ball ten yards out from substitute Steve Howard's knockdown during the four minutes of added time but the midfielder found the relieved arms of Walker with his strike.
And the ten men of Colchester held firm and there was no way through for Hughes’ men to pick up a crucial three points this evening.
Full Time: Pools 0 Colchester United 0
Booked: Walton (87), Humphreys (93)
Att: 3148 (62 Colchester United)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Walton (Sweeney 91), Baldwin (Luscombe 30), Humphreys, Franks (Howard 80), Wyke, Poole
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Holden, Monkhouse, James
Colchester United: Walker, Garmston, Okuohnghae, Eastman, Wilson, Clifford (White 81), Ibehre, Porter (Thompson 75), Massey, Morrison (Ladapo 65), Bond
Wright, Cousins, Bean, ComptonSubs Not Used: