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Match report: Pools defeated by the league leaders

20 November 2021

Hartlepool United have suffered back-to-back home losses for the first time since November 2018 after Forest Green ran out 3-0 winners at the Suit Direct Stadium. Goals from Jordan Moore-Taylor, Jamille Matt, and Mathew Stevens did the damage in the first half.

 
The game started in the worst-possible way for Pools. After Ben Killip's good early save, the resulting corner was headed in by Jordan Moore-Taylor. Sweeney's side jolted into life after the opener, working two good opportunities but Forest Green held firm.
 
Forest Green had a further chance when Stevens dragged a close-range shot wide, but Pools didn't heed the warning and conceded again soon after. Stevens again broke through and after his shot was brilliantly saved by Killip onto the crossbar, Matt was in the right place to connect with the rebound for Rovers' second.
 
Killip made another big save from Stevens with a few minutes of the first half left, but Forest Green still managed to get a third before the referee's whistle. Stevens latched onto a loose ball into the box and managed to turn and smash the ball beyond Killip.
 
Two half-time changes saw Olomola and Crawford replace Cullen and Shelton, and Pools came out positively. Molyneux tried to make in-roads immediately, winning a free-kick that the visitors defended well.
 
Crawford managed to get a shot away from the edge of the box, but his drive was wide and the chance passed. That was as close as Pools came in the opening 25 minutes of the second half, with Forest Green dominating possession, albeit without creating any clear-cut chances.
 
Maty Daly went into the book for a late challenge as Pools' frustrations grew and Forest Green used their experience to push themselves towards the final whistle.
 
Pools did get a goal back. Shortly after his introduction, Joe Grey burst into the box and was taken out. Nicky Featherstone coolly dispatched the penalty, sending the 'keeper the wrong way.
 
Tempers flared further in the final 10 minutes, with Jamie Sterry seeing red after tangling with a Forest Green defender off the ball. Neill Byrne was also booked for his reaction in the ensuing melee. Strong challenges on Crawford and Ferguson followed, though no cards were shown for either foul.
 
Five additional minutes wasn't enough time for Pools to fashion any further chances, with Sweeney's side falling to a home defeat for the second week in a row.
 
Pools XI: Killip, Byrne, Liddle, Francis-Angol, Sterry, Daly, Featherstone, Shelton (Crawford 46), Ferguson, Molyneux, Cullen (Olomola 46)

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