Pools Defeated At Northampton Town
It was a disappointing afternoon all round as Pools lost Michael Duckworth to injury early in the game, went on to concede a goal either side of half time and were unable to find a response.
The last time Pools won here at Northampton Town was in December 1969 and unfortunately nothing that happened this afternoon changed that stat.
Pools were looking bright and full of running as the game got underway only to have their flow halted by what looked to a bad injury to full back Michael Duckworth.
Duckworth, back in the team at the expense of Jordan Richards, went down on the far side of the pitch holding his left foot and after lengthy treatment, he was stretchered off clearly in pain.
The delay and the injury to a teammate seemed to set Pools back and they failed to regain their composure in what was a scrappy opening half.
With the very soft, patchy pitch and strong winds also playing a part, the only real consistency in this first half was the regular sound of the referee’s whistle, as the official made his presence felt throughout.
Northampton were first to test, with a couple of decent crosses from the right; former Poolie Leon McSweeney sent one in that was collected before Chris Hackett saw his ball cleared away.
Pools were struggling with conditions and failed to get any real passing football going, losing the midfield battle for much of the half.
The hosts went on to have the best chance of the half on 33 minutes when Hackett headed a cross down into the path of John Marquis who spun neatly to send a volleyed effort over the bar.
Sam Collins got in a good block to deny a break before Scott Flinders comfortably held an acrobatic effort from Emile Sinclair.
The hosts made the six minutes of added time count as they capitalised on a contentious freekick awarded to McSweneey; the freekick was lifted in from the right before being sent back into the crowd where Mathias Doumbe got up to head past Flinders and make it 1-0.
Pools looked in need of the half-time break but came out to another blow after the interval; the hosts came out fighting and doubled their lead within two minutes of the re-start. Brennan Dickenson took advantage of a slow start from Cooper’s men to put his side 2-0 up.
The second half was more open than the first, with both sides showing more on the attack and Pools had an early chance to grab a goal back as Simon Walton sent a low drive in from the edge of the box but his strike bobbled over the hand of the keeper only to hit the post.
A good passage of play by Pools saw Luke Williams send a shot into the arms of Matt Duke, while Scott Flinders pulled off a good block to deny Zander Diamond who tried to sneak in at the back post.
Pools began to show more glimpses of what they were capable of at both ends of the field, seeing much more of the ball than they had before the break but there was still little to test Duke.
Christian Burgess threw his body in the way of an Alan Connell effort to deny a goal, while the Northampton sub sent a header wide from the resulting corner kick.
Luke Williams took matters into his own hands as he skipped past three defenders to fire a shot at goal but Duke was equal to the effort and sent it wide with a decent block.
There were five minutes of added time in the second half but the game had lost any spark it had by this point and the points were Northampton's.
Full Time: Northampton Town 2 Pools 0
Booked: Holden (45), Walton (73), Williams (85)
Attendance: 4083 (268 Pools)
Northampton Town: Duke, McSweeney, Widdowson (Robertson 67), Carter, Sinclair (Connell 67), Marquis (Deegan 85), Hackett, Diamond, Kouo-Doumbe, Ravenhill, Dickenson
Subs Not Used: Morris, Tozer, Snedker, German
Pools: Flinders, Duckworth (Richards 11), Collins, Burgess, Holden, Walton, Barmby (Compton 66), Walker, Williams, Harewood (Franks 66), James
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Sweeney, Poole, Monkhouse
Today's Youth Team Result: Notts County 3 Pools 2.