HARTLEPOOL United showed there is life after Luke James after picking up their first win on home soil this season.
Goals from Charlie Wyke and Brad Walker sealed a 2-0 win over Shrewsbury Town at Victoria Park in Sky Bet League Two.
It was nothing more than Pools deserved as well after shrugging off the deadline day sale of James to Peterborough United to beat previously unbeaten Town.
Jack Compton with both of the assists as well to cap a good day all round for Colin Cooper’s side.
Going into the game, Cooper had made three changes with Stuart Parnaby starting at right back, in place of the injured Michael Duckworth, who had picked up a knock in training on Friday.
Scott Harrison came in at centre half in place of Sam Collins, while Jack Compton started in midfield, with Marlon Harewood dropped to the bench.
Pools, looking for their first home win of the season, started with on-loan Boro striker Charlie Wyke and Jonathan Franks.
And it was Wyke who almost opened the scoring in the first minute.
Latching onto a good knock-down from Franks the Boro striker’s low shot was just wide of the left-hand post.
Cooper’s side had started well and took a deserved lead in the 5th minute.
A booming header forward from Harrison found Wyke but his heavy touch almost lost the ball, he recovered well to feed Compton though.
The winger bursting forward into the box before squaring to WYKE who passed the ball into the right-hand corner of the net.
It should have been 2-0 in the 11th minute, Franks jinked his way into the penalty area but his cross was scuffed by Ryan Brobbel from six-yards out and cleared.
Pools looked bright and creative going forward with some excellent passages of play between Wyke and Compton, in particular.
That was backed up with some no-nonsense defending at the back from on-loan Sunderland defender Harrison.
Unshackled Pools were the most confident they had been all season.
It was important they built on the good start.
But Shrews, who had switched from a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 formation during the half, had a half chance to equalise in the 29th minute.
Midfielder Ryan Woods found Scott Vernon free inside the penalty area but his looping header back across Scott Flinders’ goal was wide of the right-hand post.
Pools were inviting pressure as the half wore on with Jordan Clark being given too much room playing behind the front two.
Brobbel was called on to make a great flying header in his own box to clear the danger for a corner, before James Collins got the better of Parnaby but his shot was saved by Flinders.
In the 39th minute, Parnaby was replaced by Jordan Richards - Parnaby had only just returned from a hamstring injury.
Five minutes before the break Flinders had to be alert to save Vernon’s attempt on goal before Collins headed over from a Jermaine Grandison cross.
Brobbel and Wyke then combined well, with the latter doing well to get a cross back across goal but there was nobody in a blue and white shirt in the middle.
HALF-TIME: Pools 1 Shrewsbury 0
The second-half started in a similar vein to the first, with Pools pushing forward in search of that important second goal.
Compton delivered several pin-point crosses from the left flank but the forwards couldn’t take advantage of his excellent play.
Pools should have had a penalty given though in the 54th minute.
Brobbel was in on goal when Nathanial Knight-Percival bundled him over inside the box but referee Jeremy Simpson waved the appeals away to the frustration of the crowd inside Victoria Park.
You’ve certainly seen them given and the on-loan Boro winger had every right to feel aggrieved.
Town, meanwhile, had to make do with shots from distance but it was end to end stuff, at times.
With 67 minutes on the clock, Pools again had a sight on goal after good work from Compton.
He weaved his way through and managed to find enough space to centre for Brobbel but he couldn’t get enough on the ball and Jayson Leutwiler was able to gather.
Tension was beginning to rise as Shrewsbury looked to press the home side back.
In the 72nd minute, sub Andy Mangan had a sight on goal but shot wide of the right post from 20-yards.
There was some handbags in the Pools penalty area, which resulted in bookings for Harrison and Collins.
Four minutes later and sub Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro tested Flinders’ handling from distance but the stopper, who’d enjoyed a commanding game was equal to it.
In the 79th minute, it was 2-0 Pools.
A fast break down the left-hand side saw Compton cut inside and deliver a perfect cut-back to the onrushing WALKER.
He calmly powered the ball past Leutwiler from six-yards out to send the home fans into raptures.
Pools still had to be alert to the danger from Town, with Flinders again saving well from a well-struck Collins effort inside the area.
Brobbel, immense again for Pools, ran a good 60-yards with the ball before being bundled over again in the box but no penalty was given.
After four minutes of added-on time, the final whistle was finally blown to cap a good day all-round for Pools.
Next up is Tranmere Rovers at Victoria Park next Saturday.
FULL-TIME: Pools 2 Shrewsbury 0
Pools (4-4-2): Flinders, Parnaby (Richards, 39), Bates (C), Harrison, Austin, Brobbel, Miller, Walker, Compton (Holden, 89), Wyke, Franks.
Subs Not Used: Dixon, Collins, Harewood, Woods, Hawkins.
Bookings: Harrison, Walker.
Goals: Wyke, 5. Walker, 79.
Shrewsbury (4-4-2): Leutwiler, Demetriou (Mangan, 54), Vernon (Akpa-Akpro, 54), Gayle (Grandison, 17), Clark, Ellis, Collins, Knight-Percival, Woods, Goldson (C), Wesolowski.
Subs Not Used: Burton, Vincent, Lawrence, Griffith.
Booked: Wesolowski, Clark, Collins.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)
Attendance: 3,368 (218 Shrewsbury)
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