Report: Posh Too Classy For Hartlepool
Hartlepool United were comprehensively beaten by Peterborough in the clash at London Road
Hartlepool United extended their run without a win to 5 games today, as Darren Ferguson had a happy homecoming - his Peterborough side running out 4-0 winners.
Mick Wadsworth had some pleasing news before kick off, skipper Sam Collins passed a fitness test and returned to the side inplace of Armann Bjornsson. Ritchie Humphreys got the nod up front once again, as he and Andy Monkhouse occupied the lone role and left wing spot throughout the match; switching positions every so often.
The Posh nearly took the lead within the opening 5 minutes, Craig Mackail-Smith having a shot saved by Jake Kean from an acute angle. Mackail-Smith may be attracting attention higher up the leagues, and although he went even closer later on, his positioning sense coupled with his inability to latch onto stray balls when the goal is in sight, made the defenders duties even easier for Pools in the first half.
Pools began playing the ball around neatly, and their first real chance was squandered just after 20 minutes - Sam Collins ducking out of a free header from a corner. By now Pools were well on top, and started carving out chances. But before Joe Lewis was really put to the sword, Mackail Smith had two glorious chances in a matter of minutes but Jake Kean wasn't to be beaten by the efforts.
First a swivel was followed up by a low shot which the on loan stopper collected without much worries, then a defence splitting ball was played right through the heart of Pools' halfway-line-standing defence, and with Mackail-Smith and Kean face to face, Kean rushed out of his area and scooped the ball up under the feet of Peterborough's number 12.
On 41 minutes Leon McSweeney saw a shot saved after Neil Austin saw a 20 yard effort cannon off the Posh defence. Posh instantly broke away, but couldn't get past man of the match Evan Horwood who quickly hurried Pools up the pitch. Antony Sweeney advanced on goal; watched intensely by Charlie Lee. Sweeney layed off Andy Monkhouse who had a shot blocked, but the ball fell kindly for Austin. Austin raced down the wing unmarked and found an equally unchallenged Monkhouse who headed over a superb chance.
It wasn't to be Pools' last chance of the half as a surprisingly poor Sweeney squandered a to-die-for effort, his diving header from yards out going miles wide. It was Pools who entered the break the happier side, and the strong Poolie contingent tucked into their half time snacks in buoyant mood.HT: Peterborough United 0-0 Hartlepool United
The traditional home team onslaught after half-time wasn't present this afternoon, as Pools began the second half just as they ended the first half. Leon McSweeney saw a chance drift wide of the woodwork on 52 minutes, and minutes later Andy Monkhouse watched on as his looping header could only find the roof of the net. In amongst Pools' chances, Peter Hartley limped off and was replaced by Armann Bjornsson at centre half - although the severity or cause of Hartley's game-interrupted injury is unknown.
With the game in favour of the visitors, against the run play and deflecting the balance of play, Evan Horwood was tackled on the by-line and after a scramble in the box with the ball hanging around without any direction, poacher Craig Mackail-Smith
nodded past Kean. 60 seconds later and Pools found themselves 2-0 down as Posh broke forward once again and after a shot was parried onto the bar by Kean's outstretched foot, Tommy Rowe
helped himself to an open goal.
They say footballs a game of injustice, and clearly justice wasn't done here at London Road today. As the heads began to drop, Posh broke through a previous resolute defence and Mackail-Smith whipped in a teasing cross and Lee Tomlin
rose highest and headed the ball past Kean to make it a trio of goals in just 6 minutes.
Pools were paying the penalty for not converting their chances, as the balance of play shifted towards the hosts - although the 3-0 scoreline was extrememly flattering. Mick Wadsworth was stubborn in his changes, failing to introduce anyone else, bar Bjornsson into the game. Sam Collins hit the post from a corner as any hopes of a repeat of that
infamous 4-3 comeback 7 seasons ago dwindled into non-existence.
Collins' post denied shot sparked a further counter attack by the hosts, but they failed to capatilse on a 2 vs 1 attack as a blue shirt fired a golden chance high and wide with the goal at his mercy. A quick free kick was taken advantag of by McSweneey, but the winger's volley flew past the goal.
With the result - however harsh it may of been - firmly in the bag, James Wesolowski
made sure of a happy homecoming for Ferguson, as he turned in a cross with a neat low finish firing past first Horwood then Kean in stoppage time.
Injustice for Pools regarding the scoreline, but they only have themselves to blame for for not converting any of the various chances they created.FT: Peterborough United 4-0 Hartlepool United Man of the Match: Evan Horwood
The left back may have question marks hanging above his head regarding two of Posh' goals, but Horwood was instrumental in the first hour. His no nonsense defending and his attacking presence made sure Peterborough's right side were tested hard all afternoon.
Peterborough United: Lewis, Kennedy, Langmead, Lee, Wesolowski, Boyd, Mackail-Smith, Rowe, Bennet, Whelpdale, Tomlin
Subs Not Used: Collis, Little, Mendez-Laing, Davies, Obika, Clayton, Basey
Pools: Kean, Austin, Collins, Hartley (Bjornsson 52), Horwood, McSweeney, Liddle, Gamble, Sweeney, Humphreys, Monkhouse
Subs Not Used: Flinders, Boyd, Yantorno, Haslam, Mackay, Murray
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