Hartlepool United 2 Bury 0
Bury’s inability to find the back of the net was there for all to see as early chances were spurned and the home side reacted with their first goals in eight games to take all three points. A straight red card shown to Craig Fagan just before the break also saw the Shakers fighting against the odds for over half the game
Visiting Bury got off to a bright start with Efe Sodje playing a stunning through ball to Andy Bishop, the box to box ball saw Andy Bishop take the ball before a foul on former Shaker Sam Collins saw a free kick awarded, just as Nicky Ajose peeled away towards the corner expecting the quick pass from the stand in Bury skipper.
Despite the bright start, it was the home side that could have taken the lead. A shot on goal from Hartlepool’s Jack Baldwin flew past keeper Belford; thankfully Efe Sodje was on hand to clear off the line with the ball bouncing off his chest, onto the post and into the arms of Cameron Belford.
From the shakers keeper’s clearance, the ball found its way to Ethan Ebanks-Landell and he quickly delivered the ball into Ajose’s feet, his quick cross into the box found Bishop, but his first time shot was deflected away for a Bury corner. Tom Soares first delivery was quickly despatched back out of play for a second corner. The second delivery flew across the box and beyond Ashley Eastham, who positioned himself deep at the back of the Pool’s box.
Hartlepool soon followed that up with another cross into the Bury box, this time Charlie Wyke managed to head the ball towards goal, but his effort flew harmlessly over the crossbar.
The best chance of the afternoon came on eight minutes when Mark Carrington split the Hartlepool defence with a stunning cross through the middle. With Nicky Ajose bearing down on goal, Collins managed to get alongside him. Nicky seemed to step away from any challenge and drove the ball at goal from the edge of the box, but his effort flashed wide of the upright and away for a goal kick.
Ashley Eastham produced two robust challenges on two Hartlepool players within three seconds. The challenges were both ruled as fair challenges by referee Darren Drysdale. Bury seemed to react
Hartlepool had the ball in the back of the net of 28 minutes following a David Worrall foul on Jonathan Franks in the Bury corner. Franks took the free kick and delivered a good ball into the box, the header that met the ball pushed it over the line but referee Drysdale ruled out the effort following a foul on Efe Sodje as he leapt for the ball.
The home side did take the lead on 42 minutes for their first goal in eight games. A Franks corner was met by the head of Andy Monkhouse, who looped the ball beyond Belford and into the back of the net.
Goal: Hartlepool United 1 Bury 0 (Monkhouse 42)
Within a minute of taking the lead, the home side should have doubled their advantage. With tails obviously up they surged forward again with the impressive Franks curling a shot at goal from the corner of the Bury box. His effort flew past Cameron Belford and struck the base of the post before bouncing back into play – allowing Landell to smash the ball up the field.
Things went from bad to worse just before the break when Craig Fagan gave away a free kick deep into the Hartlepool half. As the referee blew for the free kick, he was immediately called over by the linesman. After a brief conversation, Darren Drysdale produced a straight red card for Fagan and sent the Bury striker off. It was later confirmed as an elbow to the face.
From the resulting free kick, Hartlepool moved the ball forward quickly. Both Franks and James got into an excellent position inside the area. Cameron Belford raced off his line but Franks managed to tip the ball around the Bury keeper. Luke James somehow managed to fire the ball wide of an open goal and out for a goal kick, but before it could be taken, the half time whistle came.
Half time: Hartlepool United 1 Bury 0
The second half was four minutes old when Sodje collected only his sixth yellow card of the season for a high challenge on Monkhouse.
A 52nd minute Nicky Ajose cross was quickly cleared by Sam Collins for a Bury corner. Tom Soares took the resulting corner but the home side managed to clear their lines very quickly with Franks and James both springing clear. The final result though saw James fire a weak shot at goal that was easily dealt with by Cameron Belford.
The next chance fell to Andy Bishop on 54 minutes. A good ball from Ashley Eastham found Bishop just on the corner of the Hartlepool box, his quick turn and fierce drive at goal saw the ball rise and flash over the Pools crossbar.
Johnson Clarke-Harris added his strength to the side soon after, replacing Nicky Ajose, and he quickly combined with Mark Carrington on the edge of the box. Carrington’s shot from outside the area had the same result as Bishop earlier strike, as it flew inches over the crossbar.
Franks and James combined again on 57 minutes to work the ball forward, the worked the ball to the edge of the Bury box before James unleashed a shot on target, that was again well dealt with by a diving Cameron Belford.
The home side claimed the points on 72 minutes when from a Franks cross, Monkhouse found the space to head the ball across Belford and into the roof of the net at the opposite corner of the goal.
Goal: Hartlepool United 2 Bury 0 (Monkhouse 72)
Shakers heads visibly dropped and home keeper Scott Flinders wasn’t tested in the remaining stages of the game.
A win for the Shakers could have consigned Pools to relegation, but the three points taken by Hartlepool now sees Bury rooted to the bottom of the table and with just four games left, the task seems to be getting away from us. It’s still possible to win all four games, but even that may not be enough to prevent League Two football coming to Gigg Lane next season.
Final Score: Hartlepool United 2 Bury 0
Gate: 2,939 (130 visiting supporters)