Pools Held To A Draw At Chorley

Niko Muir, Chorley v Hartlepool United

Pools were forced to settle for a point at Chorley as their first visit to Victory Park ended in a goalless draw on Saturday afternoon.

It wasn’t a particularly inspiring encounter with clear chances at a premium for both sides on a baking hot day in Lancashire.

Pools made much of the early running and knocked it around well in the heat of Victory Park, with Gus Mafuta prowling around in midfield and Niko Muir looking sharp in attack.

However, there wasn’t much in the way of clear cut chances as Hignett’s men struggled to open up the home side’s defence.

The hosts almost stole in front themselves on 16 minutes when Matt Challoner’s wicked cross from the right found Ntumba Massanka in the middle six yards out but the Chorley front man volleyed wastefully wide.

It was to be the best chance of a tepid first half during which both sides worked hard without finding the moment of quality to unlock their opposition’s defence.

Ben Killip made a couple of smart saves, standing up big to block from Alex Newby after he had wriggled in to the box before going down to his left to claim a tame curling shot from Marcus Carver.

On half-time Pools broke menacingly from a Chorley corner with Gime Toure leading the charge but he couldn’t quite squeeze a ball through to the on-rushing Nicky Featherstone and the chance evaporated.

Pools got out of the blocks quickly in the second half and they penned their hosts back, almost going in front after a sustained period of pressure ended when Mark Kitching drove an effort off the angle of post and bar from a tight angle.

Myles Anderson’s return to duty was cut short ten minutes in the second half when he clashed heads with Massanka and the defender came off worst – a long period of treatment was followed by four stitches to a wound on his forehead and he was replaced by Peter Kioso.

After the stoppage, Killip was forced in to a couple of decent saves at the other end, first turning Marcus Carver’s goalbound header round the post and then blocking from Massanka a couple of minutes later.

There was another injury blow just after the hour mark when Muir pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring strain, which hurried along the return of Nicke Kabamba who came off the bench.

Toure fired a shot too high after a winding run and Holohan saw his effort blocked following a mazy dribble towards goal but the deadlock didn’t look like being broken.

Strong appeals for a penalty for a foul on substitute Luke James were waved away near the end before Holohan passed up a great chance to win it in injury-time when he smashed a shot wide from the right side of the penalty area.

Full Time: Chorley 0 Pools 0

Chorley: Crellin, Challonor, Blakeman, Teague, Leather, Meppen-Walters (Baines 12), A Newby, O’Keefe, Carver, Massanka (Holroyd 76), Cottrell.
Subs not used: E Newby, Ross, Eccles.

Booked: Teague.

Pools: Killip, Kerr, Raynes, Anderson (Kioso 55), Donaldson, Kitching, Mafuta, Featherstone, Holohan, Toure (James 82), Muir (Kabamba 61).
Subs not used: Kennedy, Noble.

Booked: Anderson.

Attendance: 1,395