Hartlepool United will face a replay after a 2-2 draw with Wycombe at Victoria Park. Mark Cullen’s opener was cancelled out by a Chris Forino header, and then Luke Molyneux’s strike was followed by a penalty from Joe Jacobsen.
Wycombe came out of the traps quickly, putting pressure on the Pools defence with good build-up play and quality balls into the box. Liddle, Byrne, and especially Hendrie did well to repel the danger and push the Chairboys back.
After being released down the left channel, Molyneux thought he could see a gap to lob Adam Przybek, but his shot was short of pace and the ‘keeper held it well. Next, Wycombe could have taken the lead, but Vokes couldn’t sort his feet out and the ball was bundled wide.
Molyneux had another sight of goal shortly after, driving down the right before his dipping shot narrowly missed the far post. Sweeney’s side pushed on, claiming plenty of position from their League One counterparts and fashioning chances that kept Przybek awake.
Then, just as the half looked to be finishing goalless, Maty Daly dazzled the defenders, twisting them inside out and slipping a ball through for Mark Cullen. The striker used all of his experience, waiting for the ‘keeper to go down before firing into the net.
Both sides started the second half brightly, with the forwards pushing on well and the defenders snuffing out chances for Vokes and Obita. Molyneux had a golden chance to double the lead, but he could get his foot around Ogle’s low cross and the ball went wide.
Pools were made to rue that missed chance as Thompson kept the ball alive from a corner and squeezed in a cross. Forino made contact, heading into the ground and past Mitchell for the equaliser.
Minutes later, Pools were back ahead. A lightning fast attack was started by Daly, who interchanged passes with Ferguson before pulling the ball back for Molyneux. This time, the former Sunderland forward made no mistake, blasting the ball past Przybek.
A flurry of bookings preceded the game’s major flashpoint. A ball into the box appeared to have been fielded well by Mitchell, but, after checking with his assistant on the halfway line, the referee gave a penalty to Wycombe and a booking to the ‘keeper. Jacobsen struck the penalty well, leaving Mitchell no chance and restoring parity.
Gavan Holohan was on the receiving end of a strong challenge, and the damage sustained saw him replaced by Shelton, while Joe Grey replaced goalscorer Mark Cullen.
Pools had a good claim for a penalty of their own – Gary Liddle tangled with Forino in the book and was seemingly wiped out. The referee wasn’t interested, and even booked the experienced defender for his remonstration.
The rest of the match was played out in the midfield, with both sides accepting that a replay was required.
Pools XI: Mitchell, Byrne, Liddle, Hendrie, Ogle (Odusina 90), Holohan (Shelton 76), Featherstone, Daly, Ferguson, Cullen (Grey 76), Molyneux