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Match report: Festive fantastic!

26 December 2022

Hartlepool United claimed back-to-back wins in the league after a hard-fought victory over Rochdale away from home. Goals from Rollin Menayese and Callum Cooke bookended an Ian Henderson strike to give Keith Curle's side all three points.

Pools started the game brightly, bossing possession and zipping the ball around on a slick surface. Cooke, Sylla, and Featherstone showed their class in midfield, with the back-three of Menayese, Murray, and Ferguson doing well to repel Rochdale's rare forays forwards.
Despite the Pools pressure, it was Dale that got the first shot on target. Henderson was forced wide, and his tame effort was held well by Killip.
At the other end, Pools earned corner after corner, and that's where the opener came from. The ball was swung into the box and Rollin Menayese headed beyond O'Donnell to make it two goals on two games.
After the break, Rochdale had a bit more about them, with Lloyd and Henderson both looking lively. The latter had the ball in the net in the 54th minute, but the flag was up for offside.
However, the striker wouldn't be denied for long - after a cross was headed down in the box, the veteran improvised and smashed a backheel beyond Killip to restore parity.
As the game ticked towards the final 10 minute, Hamilton won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Callum Cooke took charge, and his bending effort was too much for O'Donnell and the Pools lead was restored.
With Rochdale throwing everything at Pools, McDonald found space on the break, but a good save prevented the winger from getting his fourth of the season.
It didn't matter in the end and Pools claimed the three points, taking them above their hosts. It's now a quick turnaround with Mansfield visiting the Suit Direct on December 29th.
Pools XI: Killip; Sterry, Menayese, Murray, Ferguson, Tumilty (Grey 64); Sylla (Shelton 74), Featherstone, Cooke; Umerah (McDonald 81), Hamilton
Subs: Boyes, Paterson, Missilou, Hastie

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