Final whistle report: Hartlepool slump to 13th defeat of season against Wycombe

Scott Fenwick in action. Picture by FRANK REID
Scott Fenwick in action. Picture by FRANK REID
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HARTLEPOOL United have slumped to their 13th defeat of the season losing 3-1 at home to league leaders Wycombe Wanderers.

It was another miserable day at Victoria Park as goals from Paris Cowan-Hall in the first-half and two quickfire goals in the second from Matt Bloomfield and Alfie Mawson sealed a routine away win.

Pools remain rooted to the bottom of the Football League following their sixth home defeat of the campaign and a goal difference of minus 20.

Marlon Harewood did pull one back late on but it was far too little, too late once again.

Paul Murray made four changes to his starting line-up with loan signings Matteo Lanzoni, Matty Dolan and Adam Campbell handed starts in an attacking 4-3-3 formation.

The other change saw Matthew Bates return to the starting line-up as Sam Collins missed out with a knee injury.

Italian defender Lanzoni arrived on a month-long loan deal from Cambridge United this week, while Bradford City midfielder Dolan is back for a second loan spell at Pools.

Michael Duckworth missed out against Gareth Ainsworth’s men with a groin injury.

There was little to shout about in the opening stages with both sides showing plenty of endeavour but little being created in the final third.

Wycombe’s Aaron Pierre had the first attempt on target, his dipping shot on a wet surface from 20-yards was well-held by Scott Flinders in the 20th minute.

Before kick-off there was 23 points and 23 places seperating the two sides but there wasn’t much between them in the opening half hour.

But the break through came in the 33rd minute.

Wycombe captain Paul Hayes with a superb cross from the right flank to find Paris Cowan-Hall who powered home a header from six-yards out.

Flinders had no chance as the ball sailed into the top corner.

Pools should have been level though, Marlon Harewood was fouled by Joe Jacobson and referee Jeremy Simpson pointed to the spot.

Up stepped regular penalty taker Neil Austin but he blasted his shot high over the crossbar and into the Town End.

Wycombe’s Alfie Mawson then hit the post with a header as Ainsworth’s side went into the break leading 1-0.

Half-Time: Pools 0 Wycombe 1

The second-half was bleak at Victoria Park, with Wycombe looking to slow down and control the game at every opportunity.

Pools, meanwhile, struggled to build any pressure, once again lacking any creativity or nous in the final third to break open the away team.

Murray didn’t waste any time making changes, with Newcastle United striker Adam Campbell hooked after less than an hour for Sidney Schmeltz, with Jonathan Franks on for Brad Walker seven minutes later.

The first shot of note came in the 72nd minute, Franks with a low shot from 20-yards which had keeper Matthew Ingram scampering across his goal to save.

Then, as is so often the case, Pools conceded twice in quick succession.

First Hayes was given too much time and space in the 76th minute to pull the ball back to Matt Bloomfield whose low right-footed shot from the edge of the area to strong for Flinders.

Then, three minutes later, and Mawson made it 3-0. His free towering header from a Joe Jacobson corner was all too easy as it sailed past Flinders.

Harewood pulled one goal back in the 83rd minute, poking the ball high into the net from close range.

Defeat left Pools stranded at the bottom of the league, six points from safety.

Full-Time: Pools 1 Wycombe 3

Pools (4-3-3): Flinders (C), Richards, Lanzoni, Bates, Austin, Featherstone, Walker (Franks, 65), Dolan, Campbell (Schmeltz, 58), Harewood, Fenwick.

Subs Not Used: Maxted, Jones, Hawkins, Woods, Ironside.

Booking: Schmeltz.

Goal: Harewood (83)

Wycombe (4-4-2): Ingram, Jombati, Jacobson, Scowen, Pierre, Cowan-Hall (Onyedinma, 82), Hayes (C) (Kretzschmar, 90), Bloomfield, Craig (McClure 77), Murphy, Mawson.

Subs Not Used: Richardson, Lewis, Fletcher, Rowe.

Goal: Cowan-Hall (33) Bloomfield (76) Mawson (79)

Booking: Cowan-Hall.

Attendance: 3,053 (Wycombe 163)

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire).

Twitter: @RichMennearJP