Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Pool Plumb the Depths; First Half Branded Worst of Wilson's Reign

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Pool Plumb the Depths; First Half Branded Worst of Wilson's Reign

Article excerpt

Byline: ARTHUR PICKERING

Hartlepool United 0

Cheltenham Town 2

HARTLEPOOL slumped to a worrying home defeat at the hands of a side with one of the worst away records in League football, writes ARTHUR PICKERING.

Danny Wilson's team were outplayed in the first half, when Cheltenham were made to look like world-beaters, and in the second when the home team at last found their feet, they didn't have enough punch to change the game.

Hartlepool's first-half performance was awful as they struggled to cope with a troublesome wind blowing across the pitch and failed to cope at all with Cheltenham's pacy and direct attacking play.

Pool were a goal down after 11 minutes, but were lucky to be still in the game by half-time.

They fell behind when a long ball from the back was controlled by Steve Gillespie wide on the Cheltenham right, and as Michael Nelson lost his footing, he cut inside and slid a low shot under the body of Arran Lee-Barrett, whose first job on his home League One debut was to pick the ball out of the net.

He should have done it at least twice more as Cheltenham took complete control. Steve Brooker had a 'goal' disallowed for a marginal offside, Alex Russell blasted a low shot from the fringe of the area against the base of Lee-Barrett's left-hand post, Brooker hit the side netting when he should have done better from a good position on the left and Gillespie had a header cleared off the line by Robbie Elliott in a desperate home defence.

Pool's only real first-half chances were both saved by Cheltenham keeper Shane Higgs, first a shot from James Brown that he blocked and then a shot from Gary Liddle that he held well on his line.

After the break, it did get better - it could hardly have got any worse - but Pool couldn't find a finish.

Top scorer Richard Barker sent a header and a shot narrowly wide of the target, James Brown had a shot cleared off the line by Alan Wright and Town defender Jerry Gill headed against his own bar as the home pressure built up. …

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