Hartlepool United were forced to settle for a point at home to Crewe Alexandra after a late equaliser. Josh Umerah's first-half penalty gave Pools the lead, but Daniel Adyei's tap in meant that the spoils were shared at the Suit Direct Stadium.
Pools started the game brightly and Josh Umerah looked keen to make up for lost time after his injury lay off. His harrying and harassing was causing the defenders problems and creating space for McDonald to get balls into box. Shots from Cooke and McDonald had fans off their seats but neither troubled Okonkwo in the Alex goal.
The first goal came from the spot. McDonald’s corner had the ‘keeper flapping and when it was recycled, Cooke was fouled in the box and Pools had a penalty. Umerah stepped up and blasted the ball into the top-left corner to give Pools the advantage. Agyei had a shot for Crewe with five minutes to go in the first half but it trickled through for Killip to clear.
Crawford and Tumilty tried to get in on the act as the half drew to a close, but neither got themselves onto the scoresheet.
Crewe came out in the second half with a point to prove and controlled much of the possession in the opening 15 minutes. Baker-Richardson had two headers go just wide for the visitors and Tumilty had a left-footed shot held in this much-cagier second half.
Killip made a good save from Sambou after a low cross into the box, and Menayese continued to get the better of his personal duel with Courtney Baker-Richardson. Joe Grey and Clarke Oduor were introduced to add freshness in the final third for the final 15 minutes and Grey almost got in one-on-one but for a last-ditch block.
Umerah broke forwards after a slip-up, but Okwonko was equal to his low drive before Reghan Tumilty peppered the Crewe penalty area with cross after cross. Pools continued to monopolise possession, but it was Crewe that got the second goal. A deep cross found Finney at the back post and the substitute squared for Adyei to tap home.
Pools had a golden change to grab a winner with a couple of minutes to go, but Umerah got his shot all wrong after Grey led the counter-attack. It ended all square and it’s another point on the board for Paul Hartley’s side. Pools now prepare for a trip to the capital this Saturday as they visit Sutton United.
Match Attendance: 4,002 (116 away)
Pools XI: Killip; Menayese, Murray, Lacey; Tumilty (Shelton 86), Crawford, Niang, Paterson; Cooke (Grey 72), McDonald (Oduor 77); Umerah
Unused Subs: Letheren, Ferguson, Hastie, Ndjoli