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Match report: Pools fightback to earn a point

11 February 2023

Club News

Match report: Pools fightback to earn a point

11 February 2023

HARTLEPOOL United collected a vital point in their survival battle when they fought back from two down to draw 2-2 with 10-man Sutton United at the Suit Direct Stadium.

Pools looked out of it when Sutton led 2-0 after half an hour through David Ajiboye and Lee Angol.

But Pools were level by half-time after screamers from the two Dans, Kemp and Dodds, after the Londoners had captain Craig Eastmond sent off.

Boss Keith Curle made two changes to his starting XI, with Peter Hartley and Tayt Trusty being replaced by Matty Dolan and Josh Umerah, Hartley missing out with a foot problem.

There were first Suit Direct Stadium starts for Jakub Stolarczyk, Ollie Finney, Kemp and Connor Jennings.

Sutton missed a gilt-edged chance after just 59 seconds when Eastmond played the ball across the face of the goal, but somehow Alistair Smith failed to convert at the far post.

It was to prove the start of a dominant first half-hour from the U’s who out-played and out-muscled the home side.

The Sutton opener was too easy with Sam Hart’s cross from the left converted by Ajiboye from close in.

Sutton should have gone two up after Smith went through but Stolarczyk pulled off a great double save from the midfielder.

But the Londoners did find the net at the Rink End on the half-hour and, again, it was too easy.

Pools failed to deal with route one stuff from the visitors, with Jack Rose's goal-kick falling for Ajiboye who put Angol in who finished calmly.

However, the game changed following a moment of madness from Sutton skipper Craig Eastmond.

Having gone ion referee Andy Haines’s notebook on 33 minutes, he received a second yellow card inside four minutes when he hacked down Kemp and saw red.

At last, Pools got a sight of the ball and were back in it on 43 minutes.

Sutton striker Omar Bugiel conceded a free-kick 25 yards out and Kemp found the keeper's top-left corner with a stunning dead-ball strike.

And deep into injury time, Pools were level with another breathtaking goal.

Pools pushed Sutton back with good, patient play and when possession dropped to Dodds, the defender pulled the trigger with his left peg, with the ball flying like a rocket into the goalie's right corner.

The hosts began the second half brightly and it needed a good save from Rose with his feet to deny Jennings, who then hit the side-netting on 65 minutes after a lively Kemp run.

Kemp was close to a second goal only to see Rose fly to his left to keep out another free-kick gem, while Umerah’s overhead kick just went over the bar.

Two minutes into stoppage time, Dolan fired in a shot but it was straight at the goalie.

Pools: Stolarczyk; Dodds, Dolan, Pruti; Sterry (Foran 60), Featherstone (Trusty 77), Finney (Grey 69), Ferguson; Kemp, Jennings (Kiernan 77), Umerah. Subs (not used): Killip, Murray, Sylla

Goals: Kemp 43, Dodds 45+4

Booked: Finney 15, Ferguson 73

Sutton: Rose; Boldewijn, Goodliffe, Kizzi, Hart; Ajiboye, Eastmond, Smith, Randall (Beautyman 15); Angol (Wilson 85), Bugiel (Kouassi 71).

Subs (not used): House, Rowe, Gambin, Dennis

Goals: Ajiboye 18, Angol 31

Booked: Eastmond 33, 37, Bugiel 58

Sent off: Eastmond 37

Referee: Andy Haines 

Att: 4,358 (away 98)

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