Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool Heading to League Two; No Goals in Seven Games for Hughes' Strugglers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pool Heading to League Two; No Goals in Seven Games for Hughes' Strugglers

Article excerpt

Hartlepool United 0 MKDons 2 THERE wasn't much good or even average about this Friday for Hartlepool United, writes NEIL CAMERON.

That's seven games without a goal now, including this defeat to MK Dons. There is now almost no chance of their hopes of survival being resurrected. They will be playing League Two football next season.

Hartlepool could say with some sincerity that since John Hughes had arrived they were going down fighting, if they were to go down at all.

But this group of players have run out of steam. They were never in this game, didn't look like scoring and you could see in one or two that frustration has understandably started to creep in.

It didn't help that referee Jeremy Simpson sent off Simon Walton for a stamp everyone else missed and then within a few minutes refused to show a red card to MK Dons' Patrick Bamford for a bad challenge.

"At the time I felt there was a coming together, that they ran into each other and then it's all about what happened after that," said Hughes when asked about going down to ten men.

"I have just had a look back at the incident on the DVD and it does seem a soft sending-off. The referee took his time about it and I wonder if someone had a word in his ear on the park.

"But these things happen, it's just that it seems to be happening to Hartlepool right now." It also didn't help that they were behind within seven minutes of the game starting.

A very defendable ball into the Hartlepool penalty box wasn't defended at all and Bamford took advantage of the slackness and stroked the ball past a helpless Scott Flinders.

It took Hartlepool 30 minutes to have a proper shot and even then Jonathan Franks' effort was well wide. A few minutes later Charlie Wyke's effort on the turn flew over. It wasn't much in terms of attacking from the home side, but at least it was something.

It wasn't pretty. Maybe it was the cold - and it was freezing - but even MK Dons reverted to a long-ball game and they have a reputation of at least trying to play good football.

Any chance Hartlepool had went seven minutes after the break. …

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