Pools Pick Up Point Against Carlisle United
Rhys Oates scored a second-half equaliser to give his side a crucial point on a nervy afternoon at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium.
Carlisle United took the advantage early in the game and it took Pools over an hour to really get going this afternoon.
Nathan Thomas tested the goalkeeper early on with a low drive from the edge of the box which found its way to Mark Gillespie in the Carlisle goal.
But while Pools had started with positivity and promise, that was short-lived as the visitors took full control, and the lead, after just six minutes.
The opening goal came from a long throw down the left which picked out Jabo Ibehre running into the box; the big striker held off the attentions of Scott Harrison to get a closer look at goal where he was able to fire a shot across Joe Fryer and in at the far post.
Jamie Proctor went close to making it 2-0 just three minutes later as he met a long cross into the box from the right with a header at goal, which fortunately went just wide of target.
The goal really took the stuffing out of Pools, who failed to find any of that early spark in the remainder of the first half, relying instead on the long ball forward up to Padraig Amond.
Brad Walker was in the right place at the right time as he cleared one off the line as Carlisle looked to add to their tally.
Carl Magnay replaced the injured Kenton Richardson just after the half-hour mark to add some experience to a defensive line that looked shaky under the pressure of IBehre and co.
Michael Woods and Scott Harrison both put in late blocks to deny the visitors during a strong spell of pressure late in the half as Carlisle United took their one-goal lead into the second half.
And, with Carlisle United looking to take any sting out of the game, added to by a succession of stoppages for treatment to the visiting players, the game looked to be slipping away from Pools.
But with just over an hour gone, Rhys Oates stepped up for Pools to fire in the equaliser; the striker capitalised on a loose ball from Danny Grainger to go through into the box one-on-one with the keeper and it was Oates who came out on top, sending the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Pools were soon back in action at the other end of the pitch as they faced a Carlisle United corner, but a strong save from Fryer denied the goal and Pools were back on the attack.
Nathan Thomas tried his luck with a chipped effort which landed on the roof of the net before the winger saw a second strike saved by Gillespie.
Pools were much brighter following the equaliser and there were chances at both ends in the closing minutes.
Thomas went closest for Pools on 82 minutes when he flashed a fierce strike across goal which went just inches wide of the far post, while Joe Fryer made a brave save from Michael Raynes who sent a header at his goal from a corner.
Liam Donnelly saved things for Pools as Carlisle battered the Pools goal; with an effort hitting the post beforehand and shots piling in on goal, Donnelly got in crucial block to keep out a shot in a spell that left the visitors wondering how they weren’t ahead.
Carlisle had the ball in the back of the net during the seven minutes of added time; George Waring met a Gary Liddle freekick to head past Fryer but managed to foul the Pools keeper in the process and the effort was ruled out.
It was an extremely tense end to a nervy afternoon for Pools and one that finished in a 1-1 draw and a valuable point for Pools who now face a massive game with Leyton Orient on Easter Monday.
Full Time: Hartlepool United 1 Carlisle United 1
Attendance: 5011(997 Carlisle United)
Booked: Donnelly (81)
Pools: Fryer, Richardson (Magnay 36), Harrison, Walker, Donnelly, Featherstone, Woods, Alessandra, Thomas, Amond, Oates.
Subs Not Used: Dudzinski, Bates, Deverdics, Hawkins, Rooney, Rodney.
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Grainger, Joyce, Raynes, Proctor (Waring 70), Ibehre, Brisley, Bailey, Devitt, O'Sullivan (Lambe 50), Liddle.
Subs Not Used: Gillesphey, Tomlinson, Crocombe, Joachim, Nabi.