Big Win For Pools At The Vic
Goals from Harewood, Walker, Walton and Franks sealed a comfortable 4-0 victory for Pools over Bristol Rovers this afternoon.
It took just one minute for Pools to open the scoring this afternoon as Marlon Harewood grabbed his second goal for the Club to get things off to the perfect start.
A Jack Barmby corner was flicked on at the front post by Luke James, arriving nicely at the far post for strike partner Harewood to nod over the line.
And Pools carried on their high tempo opening into the early minutes of the game; Brad Walker was controlling everything in midfield, finding plenty of space to dictate things for his team.
The 17-year-old had an early chance to double the score when he fired in from 22 yards only to be denied by Mildenhall who got down to save to his right.
Having been denied by the keeper with his first strike, Walker made sure he had no chance of doing it again with his next strike. The midfielder picked up the back just outside of the box and unleashed an unstoppable drive past Mildenhall and into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-0 on 16 minutes.
John-Joe O’Toole was the most heavily involved for the visitors as they gradually settled into the game. The Bristol Rovers man found Sam Collins in no mood to be beaten though and the defender blocked two of the midfielder’s shots on goal before Scott Flinders held another volleyed strike from O’Toole.
If anyone was going to score again though, it looked more likely being Pools – and more specifically the lively Walker. The young midfielder tried to replicate his goal with another great effort from the edge of the box but this time he was denied by an impressive save by the visiting keeper.
Bristol Rovers gradually saw more of the ball but there was very little to test Flinders – who had only the save from O’Toole to make in the first 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, Pools looked dangerous with every attack, with Luke James working as hard as ever and Jack Barmby also looking to make his mark.
Cooper’s side went into the second half full of confidence and positivity and, after a scrappy opening, they began to ask more questions inside the final third.
Jack Compton, an early sub in place of the injured Andy Monkhouse, picked out Marlon Harewood inside the box with a great cross on 55 minutes. But, while trying to take it under control, the big striker was clearly bundled to the ground and the referee instantly pointed to the penalty spot.
Simon Walton stepped up confidently to take it and make it look easy as he slotted home past Mildenhall to make it a deserved 3-0.
Pools slowed their tempo slightly in this second half but the result never looked in any danger and, while Bristol Rovers did see more of the ball in the Pools half, there was very little to trouble Flinders.
Cooper’s side continued to look the more likely on the attack and Jack Barmby sent an ambitious strike in from distance that had Mildenhall beaten at the other end, but his effort scraped over the bar, while sub Jonathan Franks saw his effort from the right of the area go wide of the far post.
Chris Beardsley went desperately close for the visitors on 84 minutes when he unleashed a sweet shot from just inside the box but his effort smacked against the underside of the bar, bouncing clear of danger.
Great work from the persistent Luke James set up the fourth goal; the young striker refused to give up on the ball, forcing his way to the by-line and hitting the post from close range, which saw the ball roll free to Franks who made no mistake as he fired home to make it 4-0.
It was a solid display from Pools who never really looked in any danger this afternoon and a clean sheet for Scott Flinders on what was his 200th League appearance for the Club.
Att: 3480 (239 Bristol Rovers)
Full Time: Pools 4 Bristol Rovers 0
Pools: Flinders, Richards, Collins, Burgess, Holden, Walton, Walker (Hawkins 78), Monkhouse (Compton 14), Barmby, James, Harewood (Franks 64)
Subs Not Used: Rafferty, Rowbotham, Sweeney, Poole
Bristol Rovers: Mildenhall, Smith, Woodards (Calrke 75), Parkes, Clarkson (Santos 56), Harrold, Brown, Clucas (Beardsley 57), McChrystal, O’Toole, Mohamed
Subs Not Used: Gillespie, Harrison, Gough, Lockyer