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Match Reports

Match report: Pools are going to the play-off final!

13 June 2021

After Rhys Oates' goal defeated Stockport County, Hartlepool United will travel to Ashton Gate to play Torquay for a place in the Football League.

In a cagey first half, the first chance of the game fell to Stockport. A cross from former Poolie Southam-Hales found Madden in the box, but the striker could only drag his shot wide after pressure from James and Odusina.

Much of the rest of the half was lost in the midfield, with both sides keeping possession in comfortable areas when possible.

A Rhys Oates long-range drive was the clearest sight of goal for Pools, but Hinchcliffe was able to watch the ball fly wide. Holohan also saw a header blocked and a deflection could have caught the keeper out, but it was goalless at half-time.

Pools started the second half brightly and thought they should have had a penalty after Shelton was felled in the box. Replays showed that there was no contact on the ball, but Richardson waved away the protests. At the other end, James made a smart save from Rooney to keep the tie goalless.

Gavan Holohan picked up a yellow card for a high-boot on Rooney, before the substitute Elliott Newby missed a gilt-edged chance after a good pull-back.

A big chance fell to Mark Shelton with just over 20 minutes to go, but the midfielder's strike was well blocked by Palmer for a corner.

The breakthrough came on 75 minutes as Ryan Johnson dispossessed Rooney and fed Rhys Oates. Pools' top scorer drove forward and fired beyond Hinchcliffe for the opener from 20 yards.

Pools managed the game exceptionally and despite Bennett's late header, they held on to claim their place in the Promotion Final.

James, Sterry, Odusina, Liddle, Johnson, Ferguson, Featherstone, Shelton (Donaldson 88), Holohan (Molyneux 76), Oates, Armstrong

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