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Hartlepool United 0 Crawley Town 1
HARTLEPOOL UNITED sit six, long points from safety in League One after another pitiful home defeat.
They went down 1-0 to Crawley, their third home reverse of a season that has brought only one win.
Crawley’s winning goal came on 14 minutes. Pools failed to defend a corner with any authority and midfielder Hope Akpan volleyed in past Scott Flinders from the edge of the area.
It was an untidy game and, while Crawley moved into fourth spot in the table after the win, they didn’t have to be overly-impressive to see off Pools.
Pools keeper Scott Flinders was man of the match – and if it wasn’t for his three top-drawer first-half saves, Crawley would have been out of sight.
First he got down low to deny Jon Forte from close range and then stood firm to keep out a goalbound Nicky Adams close range effort.
Forte did head past the keeper, but was denied by the offside flag.
It took 55 minutes before Pools got a shot on target, right-back Neil Austin drilling a low free-kick at goal that Paul Jones saved low.
And Jones then denied the same player from distance when his low shot was arcing towards the bottom corner.
Those chances did briefly lift the crowd, but the game was played out to boos and cries for the Neale Cooper’s head.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Austin, Collins, Baldwin, Holden; Poole, Walton, Sweeney, Franks (Richards 81); Howard, Noble (Luscombe 61). Subs: McHugh (gk), Humphreys, Rutherford, Buddle, Hawkins.
CRAWLEY TOWN: Jones; Byrne, Davis, McFadzean (Connolly 81), Sadler; Jones, Akpan (Bulman 90), Simpson, Adams; Alexander, Forte (Clarke 75). Subs: Connolly, Torres, Hunt, Ajose, Kuipers (gk).