Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool Heroes Crash to Familiar Defeat

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool Heroes Crash to Familiar Defeat

Article excerpt

Hartlepool United 0 Preston North End 1 THE joy of beating League One leaders Sheffield United didn't last long into the New Year for Hartlepool United. Saturday's surprise victory at Bramall Lane was undone by their fifth successive home defeat of the season, as Preston won 1-0. In truth, for all their hard work and effort in winning at the weekend, they looked a bit tired and leggy at times back at Victoria Park.

Disappointingly for Pool, it took them until the 90th minute to muster up some attacking verve and try to hunt out an equaliser. In a big scramble, Pool goalkeeper Scott Flinders was denied, while Luke James saw a piledrive kept out.

But it was all too little and too late. Pool did start quite promisingly, showing some welcome confidence taken from the weekend. Antony Sweeney, a key part of Hughes's three man midfield got forward from deep, but his low angled shot was too routine for goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.

On the half-hour, a deep, curling cross from Jordan Richards found its way to Steve Howard, but the striker's far-post effort was blocked by Mousinho.

Two minutes before half-time and Pool gifted the opposition a route into the game - first with a penalty and then a goal.

First up, Pool lost possession in midfield and it put the Lillywhites on the front foot.

When Stuart Beavon got the ball in the area close to the touchline, Peter Hartley put the striker on the ground.

Nicky Wroe's penalty was well-struck high to Scott Flinders' left, but the keeper read the kick and dived high to push it away. Seconds later, however, they trailed. A bit of a mix-up meant Sam Collins had to come across his area to head away for a corner. Curled in deep to the far post, Mousinho found enough space to head low back through the area and through the legs of Flinders to roll over the line. Yet again, Pool were trailing at home. It's a habit they can't shake off.

Two minutes after the restart and an Evan Horwood cross into the area was met by Sweeney, but he got under the ball and lifted it wastefully over the bar from close range. …

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