Hartlepool Reserves Lose Final Home Game
Hartlepool Reserves v Bradford Reserves
Report from Bedford Terrace, Billingham
Hartlepool Reserves' final home fixture of the season ended in defeat as Bradford ran out 3-2 winners at Bedford Terrace.
It was a youthful Pools team, with only Nathan Luscombe and Andy Rafferty having featured on more than one occasion for the first team this season, but they dominated the first half on a windy afternoon.
The home side opened the scoring after just ten minutes when Greg Rutherford played in Josh Rowbotham, who fired home past Charlie Crowley in the Bradford goal. Pools searched for a second as Dominic Marshall's shot was well saved before another effort from the left winger flew just wide of the away goal.
But, despite the away side barely leaving their own half, the scores were level soon afterwards. A ball in from the right was fumbled in the air by Rafferty and Jeffery Henderson reacted quickest to slot home the loose ball and make it all square.
But Pools were back in front within minutes when youngster Ben Wignall grabbed his first goal for the reserve team. Steven Snaith did well to create an chance for himself which was well saved by Crowley, but the keeper could only watch as the ball fell to Wignall who tapped the ball into an open goal.
However, another individual mistake cost Pools again as Bradford pulled level for the second time in the game. A sloppy ball by Nathan Luscombe was intercepted by Louis Swain who threaded a ball through Pools' defence to Forrayah Bass, who finished well past Rafferty.
The game became more even in the second period, with Pools now playing against the wind, but the duo of Jordan Richards and Greg Rutherford were causing problems down the right hand side.
An effort by Rutherford went narrowly wide before Snaith spurned a great chance, firing weakly at goal after breezing past the Bantams defence.
Bradford started to look more confident during the second half and took the lead for the first time when a corner found Adam Baker at the far post, the striker's effort deflecting off the bar before nestling in the back of the net.
Pools threw men forward in search of an equaliser and should have levelled the scores either from Darren Holden's free header, which went harmlessly wide, or substitute Kerry Hedley's great chance which was scuffed out for a goal kick.
FT: Hartlepool Reserves 2 Bradford Reserves 3
Hartlepool: Rafferty, Richards, Holden, Luscombe, Buddle, Rowbotham, Rutherford, Hawkins, Snaith (Hedley, 70), Wignall, Marshall (Jones, 75)
Subs not used: Tuck, Green, Dodds.