MATCH REPORT: Hartlepool United (A)

Aldershot will be wondering how they ended up on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline as they dominated large parts of the game, but, a penalty from Mani Dieseruvwe and a Tom Parkes header saw Hartlepool win.

Tommy Widdrington made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Dorking Wanderers as Josh Stokes returned to the starting XI in place of Josh Barrett and Olly Scott came in for an absent Tyler Frost.

The Shots were the side creating chances in the opening stages and were looking dangerous down the wings. It was a windy day in Hartlepool, however, and it would be fair to say these conditions played a part in a number of crosses from both sides missing their targets in the middle by fine margins.

Olly Scott’s replacement of Tyler Frost saw Ryan Glover shifted over to the right and both he and Scott were doing well to advance down their respective wings to create half-chances for Aldershot.

Hartlepool grew into the game and were also able to create a couple of half-chances, but rather than the windy conditions proving their detriment, it was good defending from the Shots. Firstly, Ryan Glover did well to head clear a recycled, wide free-kick under considerable pressure at the far-post and minutes later, Josh Stokes tracked a runner well on a Pools break to make a crucial tackle as they entered the Shots box.

But in the 18th minute, Hartlepool were gifted an opportunity to take the lead from 12 yards after Ryan Glover’s attempted clearance was cut nicked away by mani Dieseruvwe, who was brought down by Ryan Glover in the corner of the area.

Dieseruvwe himself stepped up and his powerful penalty found the top corner and gave Jordi van Stappershoef no chance despite diving the right way.

The goal didn’t stop the Aldershot pressure, however, as a mixture of patient progression and quick breaks forward continued to look promising, though lacking that bit of luck or quality at the final stage.

The Shots did come very close via a free-kick from around 25-yards out, as Lorent Tolaj’s fierce effort had to be beaten over the bar by Jameson.

Haji Mnoga broke forward on the half-hour mark and kept driving and though his pass was cut out, he won the ball back and won his side a free-kick. That would, however, be his final action as after receiving treatment, he was withdrawn for Dylan Kadji as he could no longer continue.

The final chance of the half came the way of the Shots and Lorent Tolaj after James Daly jinked between the Hartlepool defence to win the ball back on the edge of their box, but after quick feet from the Swiss striker to beat his man, his right-footed shot dragged wide.

It was a promising half by the Shots who could count themselves unlucky to be going into the break behind.


Aldershot started the second-half very brightly and after lacking the ability to turn pressure into chances in the first 45, created a number of great opportunities within the first five minutes.

Just a minute in, Josh Stokes took the ball down superbly in the Pools box, but Pete Jameson did really well to smother the ball after Stokes tried to slot it under the home ‘keeper.

But Stokes’ first miss just spurred him on to keep pushing as he came close twice more in the following three minutes. James Daly dinked the ball in from the left for the attacking midfielder to see his volley parried wide, before seeing a close-range effort denied by good reactions from Jameson from the resulting corner.

Ryan Glover was slipped in down the right by Josh Stokes five minutes later, as the wings still proved fruitful for the Shots, but his low-cross – dummied by James Daly – saw Olly Scott’s driven effort blocked and cleared.

The rest of the second-half was a dominant spell of possession by the Shots who looked by far the most likely of the two sides to go on and win the game despite being behind.

It was a similar tale to the first-half, however, after the flurry of chances early on and despite the majority of the second-half of the game being played in the Pools half, the Shots were unable to turn their dominance into clear-cut chances.

Against the run of play, Dieseruvwe broke away from the defence after hesitancy from Harries and he squared it across the box to Callum Cooke, and despite having all the time in the world, failed to beat van Stappershoef who pulled of a sensational bit of goalkeeping to deny him. Harries superbly blocked the first rebound, and Dylan Kadji was well positioned to clear off the line from another effort.

From the resulting corner, however, Hartlepool doubled their lead completely against the run of play as Tom Parkes headed home in the 87th minute.

With six minutes added on, Aldershot were unable to hit the back of the net as a good performance ended pointless.

Attendance: 4,470 (344 Away)

Shots lineup: 1. Jordi van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga (28. Dylan Kadji 32′), 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 6. Theo Widdrington, 9. Lorent Tolaj (C), 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover, 18. Olly Scott, 26. James Daly (23. Hady Ghandour 88′), 27. Tommy Willard (39. Kwame Thomas 69′).

Subs not used: 7. Stuart O’Keefe, 20. Josh Barrett.