Hartlepool United 0 Exeter City 2: Match reaction, Pools situation worsens

Hartlepool United's position at the wrong end of League Two took a turn for the worse today.

Saturday, 30th January 2016, 5:38 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th January 2016, 5:44 pm
Nathan Thomas: On the attack for Pools. Picture by FRANK REID

While Pools lost 2-0 at home to in-form Exeter City, three of the sides around them in the fight for safety all won.

Basement side York City defeated Stevenage 2-1 at Bootham Crescent, while Yeovil and Newport both scored cracking away wins.

Former Pools winger Jack Compton scored a hat-trick in Yeovil's 3-2 success at Wimbledon while Newport won 2-1 at Morecambe.

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Pools have at least two games in hand on all the sides at the bottom, but the table does not make for pretty reading.

From the basement up, it's York (played 27) 20 points, Dagenham (27) 20, Yeovil (28) 23, Pools (25) 24, Newport (28) 27, Stevenage (29) 28.

Boss Ronnie Moore was frustrated at the amount of possession and pressure they had this afternoon against Exeter, only to end the game empty-handed. Alex Nicholls headed the Grecians in front in the 36th minute and set up the clincher for Joel Grant six minutes from time.

“We started well out there, high tempo without creating too much," said Moore. "Then we huffed and puffed.

"There was nothing in the game first half, but we slept for their goal when we give their lad gets a free header in for a goal.

"It does not matter how hard or well you play, if you can’t defend a cross like that then you are never going to win games."

Nathan Thomas, a first-half sub for the injured Rhys Oates, was lively in the second period and had two of the best chances, while getting in several crosses from the left.

"I thought Nathan was a constant threat and we were attack, attack, attack in the second half without really testing their keeper and that was the disappointing thing," said Moore.

The Pools boss brought on club captain Billy Paynter and Carl Magnay in the 65th minute but the only second-half goal came at the other end, with Grant scoring from close-range via the woodwork.

Several Pools defenders claimed the ball had not crossed the line but Moore said: "I couldn't tell from where I was, but the players reckoned it wasn't.

"But the linesman isn't going to give the goal if he doesn't think it's over the line. The flag was up straight away."