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League 1 Fixture
Pompey 1 Hartlepool 3
by Neil Weld at Fratton Park
A new-look Pompey side experienced a familiar result against bottom-of-the-table Hartlepool.
The Blues started strongly and created a host of chances before Jack Baldwin headed the visitors into the lead.
James Poole doubled their advantage early in the second half to give the small band of Pools fans hopes of a third victory of the season
A goal from Jed Wallace on his Fratton debut gave the Blues hope, but that was dashed when Greg Rutherford added a third for Hartlepool at the death.
Guy Whittingham made seven changes from the side that lost at Walsall in Pompey’s last outing.
New arrivals James Keene, Shaun Cooper and Adam Reed were all included, while teenagers Dan Butler and Wallace both made their first league starts.
Central-defensive duo Ricardo Rocha and Gabor Gyepes returned to the side after recovering from hamstring injuries.
New signings Yassin Moutaouakil, Sam Sodje and Frankie Sutherland had to be content with a place on the bench.
Pompey rolled back the years by lining up with Butler and Reed operating as wing-backs in a 3-5-2 system.
Chances were at a premium in a scrappy opening to the game, although a good opportunity went begging when Keene got the ball caught between his feet.
At the other end, Evan Horwood’s drive took a hug deflection off Wallace to send the ball flying straight into Simon Eastwood’s arms.
But Pompey grew in confidence as the half progressed and Scott Flinders made a decent save to keep out Cooper’s strike from distance.
The Hartlepool keeper then held a curling 25-yard free-kick from Butler that was heading for the top corner.
Pompey kept pushing forward and Flinders made a fine double save to keep the scores level on 17 minutes.
First he kept out a long-range drive from Darel Russell before recovering quickly to push behind Connolly’s acrobatic effort.
Russell then headed wide from the resulting corner as the Blues started to turn the screw on the League One basement club.
But it was Hartlepool who were celebrating taking the lead moments later, as Baldwin was left all alone to glance home Evan Horwood’s free-kick.
The goal seemed to take the wind out of Pompey’s sails and they struggled to find any fluidity for the next few minutes.
But the hosts started to find their rhythm again towards the end of the half and David Connolly forced a save from Flinders.
Half Time: Pompey 0 Hartlepool 1
Pompey made a sloppy start to the second half and were almost punished, but James Poole headed Horwood’s cross inches past the post.
They had a good chance to level on 51 minutes, however. Connolly stole possession and laid the ball off to Keene, whose ferocious strike cannoned back off the stanchion.
But instead the Blues found themselves further behind as Poole beat the offside trap to race through on goal and calmly fire past Eastwood.
Whittingham made a triple substitution just past the hour mark, with Moutaouakil, Sutherland and Ashley Harris replacing Johnny Ertl, Reed and Cooper.
It was the visitors who were next to threaten, though, and Eastwood made a decent stop to keep out Poole’s drive.
But hope was restored on 63 minutes when Keene’s presence in the box caused Hartlepool problems and WALLACE slammed home a fine strike from an acute angle.
Keene then twisted and turned his way into space on the edge of the area, but his low shot was comfortable for Flinders.
Connolly then sent a low shot rolling agonisingly wide of the post on 86 minutes as Pompey tried in vain to salvage a point.
And it got worse for the Blues deep into stoppage-time as Butler got caught in possession and substitute Rutherford broke clear to score.
Pompey: Eastwood; Gyepes, Ertl (c) (Moutaouakil 63), Rocha; Reed (Sutherland 63), Wallace, Cooper (Harris 63), Russell, Butler; Connolly, Keene
Goals: Wallace 63
Subs not used: Smith, Sodje, Webster, Walker
Hartlepool: Flinders; Austin, Collins, Hartley (c), Horwood; Baldwin (James 74), Walton, Humphreys; Poole, Franks; Wyke (Rutherford 90+3)
Goals: Baldwin 18, Poole 52, Greg Rutherford 90
Subs not used: McHugh, Holden, Rowbotham, Luscombe, Monkhouse
Referee: Darren Sheldrake
Pompey v Hartlepool : PREVIEWS
Pompey could give debuts to six players against Hartlepool tomorrow following their sudden squad influx.
Yassin Moutaouakil and Shaun Cooper both arrived at Pompey.
They join James Keene, Adam Reed, Frankie Sutherland and Sam Sodje in linking up with the Blues in recent weeks.
So far successive matches called off through bad weather have delayed several Pompey bows.
But with tomorrow’s visit of League One’s bottom club expected to take place, there will be plenty of new faces on show.
Posted by kylewhitworth ⋅ January 24, 2013 ⋅
After two postponements due to bad weather, Pompey are finally back in action as they welcome Hartlepool to Fratton Park. The ‘Pool were due to host Pompey two weeks ago, but the snow put paid to that fixture as well as the home tie against Notts County. Saturdays opponents are the only side below Pompey in the League One table, so both sides will be keen to halt the big freeze on their seasons respectively.
Pompey could hand debuts to six players.
Midfielders Adam Reed, Frankie Sutherland and Shaun Cooper join defenders Yassin Moutaouakil, Sam Sodje and striker James Keene at Fratton Park after they signed for the club over the past few weeks.
Pompey have a clean bill of health after two weeks without a game.
Hartlepool will give a late test to midfielder Antony Sweeney, who picked up and injury in the home defeat to Bournemouth.
They are also likely to be without Steve Howard and Jordan Richards.
Pompey and Hartlepool have only met 4 times in all competitions, and the omens suggest a home win on Saturday.
Pompey have won 3 of the 4 ties thus far, with one game ending a draw. They are unbeaten at Fratton Park again Saturdays opponents.
Both teams go into this fixture at the wrong end of the table, and will be desperate for 3 points to kick start a relegation ‘great escape’
Form (League Only)
Pompey last five – D L L L L
Hartlepool last five – L W L D L
Likely Pompey line up – Eastwood, Sodje, Rocha, Gyepes, Webster, Cooper, Ertl, Russell, Reed, Connolly, Keene
Likely Hartlepool line up – Flinders, Austin, Collins, Horwood, Hartley, Humpreys, Franks, Walton, Baldwin, Wyke, Monkhouse
Npower League One Venue: Fratton Park Date: Saturday, 26 January Kick-off: 15:00 GMT Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Solent and BBC Tees DAB, Final Score & highlights on The Football League Show
TEAM NEWS Hartlepool United have doubts over the fitness of Antony Sweeney after the midfielder picked up a knee injury in Tuesday's defeat by Bournemouth.
Steve Howard has a hamstring problem which could rule him out while defender Jordan Richards has a knee injury.
Portsmouth team news to follow.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM Hartlepool United first-team coach John Hughes told BBC Tees:
"They're a fantastic club with a great history and I feel sorry for them, but we don't even know what team they'll play. There's that many comings and goings.
"But it's about what we do - our shape, the way we go, our energy in what we want to play the game, our enthusiasm, and the way we take the game to them.
"Right at this stage there's about 16 or 17 games to go - it's about picking up results to give us a chance of staying in League One, that has to be the focus so we have to roll our sleeves up."