Pools Fight For Point At Accrington
Craig Hignett's side twice come from behind to pick up a point with a 2-2 draw at the Wham Stadium this afternoon.
It was an icy cold afternoon at the Wham Stadium and there was little first-half action to warm the supporters of either side.
Shay McCartan had the first – and best – chance of the half as he stole into space inside the box to fire a shot at goal from close range. Adam Bartlett, in goal this afternoon in place of the injured Trevor Carson, got down confidently to collect the shot and get his first start since November off to a solid start.
Bartlett intercepted a decent move by the hosts which was started when Mark Hughes powered his way out from the back to force his side forward. Pearson crossed in from the right by the Pools keeper grabbed the cross before anyone could shoot.
Accrington did have more of the ball in the opening half but Bartlett had little else to do before the break as the Pools defence worked to keep the hosts out.
The Pools defence combined to block out a strong attack from Stanley, with Bates getting a strong block in first before the ball was returned from the right. Scott Harrison reacted quickest then to send it back out and Jordan Richards put in the fiercest of blocks on the rebound, sending it clear of danger.
Scott Harrison was the unlikely source for Pools’ first shot of the game which came mid-way through the half; a Jake Carroll freekick from the left arrived just in time for Harrison to smash a volley at goal. The defender took it well considering the pace of the ball but saw his shot go just wide of the far post.
McCartan showed a clever turn down the right to push on into the box but Richards popped up in time to cut out his cross.
For Pools, Michael Woods was involved in the next two half-chances on goal; the midfielder sent a shot in from distance as he ran in but the effort dipped over the bar.
Woods then played a neat one-two with fellow midfielder Nicky Featherstone to send a decent cross into the mix from the left but the ball was grabbed by the very tall home keeper Aaron Chapman.
Scott Brown had the first chance of the second half with an early looped effort at goal which almost caught Bartlett out but the Pools keeper collected at the second attempt.
At the other end, Billy Paynter met a corner with a soft header at the near post but Chapman was able to gather.
The hosts came out looking a bit more direct in the second half and they put the Pools defence under much more pressure.
Shay McCartan opened things up with a great ball right across the six yard line but his efforts went untested as Sean McCoville just failed to connect with the ball.
And the hosts got the opening goal their early pressured threatened on the 57th minute and it came from the penalty spot. Billy Kee stepped up to take the kick after Matty Pearson was adjudged to have been fouled inside the box and he sent a confident kick past Bartlett to make it 1-0.
Pools responded well to the goal though and were level within three minutes; a great cross in from Richards picked out Amond in a crowded penalty box and the striker did well to outstretch the defender and send a header into the back of the net.
And, in a game that had promised little in terms of goals in the first half, Accrington made it 2-1 on 70 minutes from a corner kick. The corner came in deep from the right and found Pearson rising highest at the far post and he sent a header back across goal and in at the far post.
Once again though, Pools had an equaliser to come - though it took a little more time.
With the game becoming a little scrappy again, Pools won a freekick to the left of the area. Jordan Richards sent it into the box where it eventually found Scott Harrison who smashed it through the area and into the net to pull his side level once again.
And that was the last goal of the game as Pools showed great spirit to twice come from behind to take a point from their first outing in 2017.
Full Time: Accrington Stanley 2 Pools 2
Booked: Donnelly (81)
Attendance: 1590 (311 Pools)
Accrington Stanley: Chapman, Pearson, Hughes, Beckles, Brown, McCartan (Edwards 71), McConville (Clark 71), O’Sullivan, Conneely, Kee, Donacien.
Subs Not Used: Vyner, Gornell, Boco, Rodgers, Little.
Pools: Bartlett, Donnelly, Bates, Harrison, Richards, Featherstone, Woods, Laurent (Hawkins 64), Carroll (Oates 72), Paynter, (Alessandra 87) Amond.
Subs Not Used: Dudzinski, Pollock, Deverdics, Walker.