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Pools frustrated by ten-man Us
UP to third bottom and the gap from safety cut to seven – but there’s no doubt Hartlepool United dropped two points last night.
After the joy of seeing off Crewe seven days previously at Victoria Park, Pools were unable to find a way through a well-drilled Colchester side, who were reduced to ten men two minutes before the break.
Striker Jabo Ibehre was red-carded for a lunge on Neil Austin. Both managers, however, felt the decision by Sunderland referee Geoff Eltringham was wrong.
The Us will lodge an appeal today. At the same time as they will wonder how they were reduced in numbers, Pools will stew over why their points total isn’t two better off they remain eight points short of the Us.
Pools were patient in the second-half, keeping the ball and stretching play as they avoided the temptation to bombard high balls on top of the visitors.
“I felt it was difficult against ten men, camped in to defend,’’ mused boss John Hughes. “We had to be patient, switch play, get it wide and we did it. It might have taken one chance to get a goal and then the game would open up.
“The keeper made a couple of great saves and we were patient. Against ten men it was as good as you can ask for in terms of playing football and playing in their half.
“We wanted it to drop in the box. But don’t go cavalier and keep them out at the back – but two points have got away from us today.’’ He added: “It’s disappointing.
But we kept shape and discipline, without getting the ball over the line.
“The keeper made a fantastic save from James Poole, we might have had a penalty for handball. We’ve had penalties go against us and we don’t get them.
“It was a difficult game with two teams fighting for their life. Credit where it’s due and Colchester came here with a spirited performance with ten men.’’ Poole sent an early volley wide on the turn, Jack Baldwin sent a low shot at keeper Sam Walker, and Jon Franks sent a shot wide in the first-half.
Pools were playing in patches, unable to match the constant energy levels they found a week earlier.
But they were still in control for the most of it.
The Us, who went into the game with back-to-back wins, were put under pressure by Pools when they chased and harried to win the ball back.
Two minutes before the break, Ibehre went in on Austin. Wether he caught Austin was irrelevant to referee Eltringham and he couldn’t get his red card out quickly enough.
The Us were incensed – and Hughes offered every sympathy. “I don’t think it was a booking,’’ he admitted.
“I sympathise with Colchester. If one of my players was sent off for that I’d be very disappointed.
The lad came through and got his studs on the ball. It was a poor decision.’’ Pools had already suffered a blow when Baldwin fell awkwardly as he jumped for a header. He suffered a knee injury and will be assessed this morning.
Referee Geoff Eltringham sends off Colchester’s Jabo Ibehre after a late tackle on Neil Austin
But for the entire second half, Pools camped inside the Us’ half.
Full-backs Austin and Evan Horwood were pressed forward as wingers, Simon Walton, back in the side after injury, kept possession and sprayed the ball from left to right.
Poole went closest when he fired at goal from 20 yards and keeper Walker managed to touch the ball onto the bar.
Then Horwood’s deep cross was met by Charlie Wyke in the area, Walker kept the effort out and, amid a frantic scramble defender Bradley Garmston handled, only for referee Eltringham to have none of it.
In injury time, Nathan Luscombe got into the area.
His shot was goalbound, but Walker kept it out at his near post.
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