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Match report: Pools held at Valley Parade

18 March 2023

Club News

Match report: Pools held at Valley Parade

18 March 2023

Superb Hartlepool United made it four draws from four under John Askey when they picked up a deserved 2-2 result at Bradford City.

Pools led twice at Valley Parade through Callum Cooke, against his former club, and Dan Kemp, but each time, the promotion-chasing Bantams pegged them back with Andy Cook’s 24th and 25th goals of the season.

John Askey made one change with Dan Dodds replacing Taylor Foran at the back, while Bradford boss Make Hughes sent out the same Bantams XI for the fourth match in a row.

Bradford should have been ahead inside two minutes when they broke down the right, with Andy Cook crossing for Dara Costelloe, who put his right-foot shot wide from 12 yards.

They were gifted a second opening eight minutes later when Pools gave the ball away, allowing Cook to run through but the division’s top scorer’s shot was straight at Jakub Stolarczyk.

Cook was proving a real handful and just after the half-hour he worked himself into a shooting position with his right-foot effort whistling past the goalie’s right upright.

As often occurs, when this happens, the opposition go up the other end to score.

And that was the case here as Cooke fired Pools in front.

The boys in blue and white attacked down the right with Jamie Sterry finding Connor Jennings in the box, who laid it back to Cooke whose blistering shot finished high in Harry Lewis’s net.

Pools had another moment of promise when Dan Kemp opened his body nicely to allow for a shot on his favoured left foot, only to see his attempt blocked by Matty Platt.

Bradford offered little thereafter, though midfielder Alex Gillead headed wide.

It took the Bantams less than four second-half minutes to level.

The outstanding Mo Sylla was penalised for a foul 30 yards and booked for his troubles and worse was to follow when the free-kick was floated in by Smallwood for Cook to score unchallenged from close range.

Undaunted, Pools came back with a bright move with Kemp crossing for Jennings whose shot lacked venom and Lewis made a simple save look spectacular.

At the other end, Pools lived dangerously when they twice left Costelloe unmarked at the back post, but the forward volleyed a very difficult chance past Stolarczyk’s left stick, before heading wide of the target from six yards.

In between, Cook headed over from a Ridehalgh cross from the left.

After a torrid spell off pressure, Pools got on the ball and had a chance 20 minutes from time, only for Umerah to shank his left foot shot badly wide.

However, the left peg of Kemp would find the net in the 71st minute. 

There was good work by Dodds, Sterry and Sylla to find the on-loan attacker, who danced his way past three home defenders before scoring with his left foot into the keeper's left corner from the edge of the box.

But the away lead would last only seven minutes with home sub Ryan East doing superbly to cross from the right with Cook volleying a screamer into the keeper's left corner. 

Bradford threatened a third on 81 minutes but there was a vital save by Stolarczyk with his legs from Costelloe.

Eight minutes were added at the end and in the first of those minutes, the Bantams had a glorious opportunity when a gaggle of players seemed to be queuing up to score but Stolarczyk saved with his feet from sub Scott Banks.

Bradford: Lewis; Halliday (East 74), Platt, Stubbs, Ridehalgh (Crichlow 90); Clayton; Smallwood, Gillead; Walker (Bola 90); Costelloe (Oliver 90), Cook

Subs (not used): Doyle, Chapman 

Goals: Cook 49, 78

Booked: Cook 80

Pools: Stolarczyk; Dodds, Murray, Pruti; Sterry, Sylla, Cooke , Ferguson; Kemp; Jennings, Umerah (Hamilton 75) Subs (Not used): Killip, Dolan, Finney, Featherstone, Foran, Kiernan

Goal: Cooke 33, Kemp 71

Booked: Sylla 48, Kemp 80

Referee: Declan Bourne 

Att: 18,137 (away 1,045)  

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