Hartlepool United fell to a 1-0 defeat at Stevenage despite a dogged performance against the second-placed side. An error from Ben Killip let Danny Rose in to score, but Pools had countless chances to get on the board in the preceding 80 minutes.
Pools started the game brightly and had two good chances in the opening 20 minutes. First, the forward directed his header onto the bar when well placed, and then he skewed a Jack Hamilton knockdown into the advertising hoardings with the goal at his mercy.
Much of the first half was lost in the midfield, though a chance also fell Hamilton’s way but his header was held by the ‘keeper. Stevenage had a chance at the other end as half-time loomed, but Killip saved well from Gilbey after a looping free-kick.
Half-time came around amidst Stevenage pressure, with the Pools defence holding firm and getting to the interval on level terms.
Both teams came out of the blocks quickly in the second half. First, Brown won a corner for Stevenage, before Umerah’s knock on almost found Robinson as Pools countered quickly.
10 minutes later, Umerah had another chance - he got in behind, but his shot from an acute angle was turned behind by the ‘keeper. Curle’s side continued to pile on the pressure, with Stevenage holding firm. At the other end, Piergianni had a good chance, but he blazed well over after a scramble in the box.
Then, with 10 minutes to go, our hosts took the lead. Killip looked to launch an attack from the ground, but didn’t spot Rose behind him. The forward nipped in, stole the ball, and walked it into the empty net in a hammer blow for Pools.
After the goal, Stevenage were much improved, bossing possession and starving Keith Curle’s side of the ball. The defeat leaves Pools in 23rd place as they turn their attention to Tuesday evening’s FA Cup Replay with Solihull Moors.
Pools XI: Killip; Tumilty, Murray, Ferguson, Paterson; Featherstone, Sylla, Cooke (McDonald 85); Hamilton, Umerah (Grey 75), Robinson (Odour 82)
Subs: Letheren, Taylor, Hastie, Ndjoli
Match Attendance: 3,628 (276 Poolies)