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27 September 2014

Blues pick up a point in goalless stalemate

The visitors did have chances to claim all three points, with Patrick Agyemang and Craig Westcarr both going close.

Pompey left Victoria Park with a third goalless draw in as many years.

That meant that recent loan arrival Michael Drennan had to be content with a place on the bench, where he was joined by a fit-again Nigel Atangana.

Andy Awford stuck with the same side that drew with Wycombe at Fratton Park the previous week.

Hartlepool grew stronger as the game progressed, but never really looked like grabbing a win themselves until a late flurry at the death.

But the Blues soon settled into a rhythm and Agyemang stabbed wide after Jed Wallace’s low cross had not been properly dealt with.

It was the hosts who created the first decent opening, with skipper Danny Hollands forced to block a shot from former Pompey winger Jack Compton.

The ball then dropped kindly for Ryan Brobbel at the other end, only for the midfielder to blaze over from just inside the box.

Michael Duckworth did well to trick his way into the area, but Jack Whatmough was on hand to make a vital interception.

There were further half-chances for both Atangana and Wallace before Hartlepool fashioned their best opening.

And Wallace then saw a drive deflected wide as Pompey continued to exert pressure on their struggling hosts.

The Blues almost broke the deadlock in comical fashion soon after, with Matthew Bates sending the ball just past his own post following a mix-up with goalkeeper Scott Flinders.

But they were forced into a change after just 14 minutes when James Dunne banged his head in an aerial challenge and was replaced by Atangana.

It was the visitors looking the more threatening, however, with Agyemang proving a particular menace.

Hartlepool 0 Pompey 0 Half Time:

The hosts suddenly looked dangerous and Paul Robinson made a fine block to deny Brad Walker just before the break.

And Wallace then curled a 20-yard free-kick just past the post after Hollands had been pushed to the ground.

But the visitors were soon back on the attack and Flinders came tearing off his line to deny Westcarr after the striker had received Wallace’s incisive pass.

Pompey survived a scare at the start of the second half when Brobbel sent an ambitious volley dipping narrowly wide.

Drennan was handed his second Blues debut just past the hour mark, replacing Westcarr up front.

But Pompey had to survive a spell of Pools pressure midway through the half, with Alex Wynter and Robinson both clearing dangerous crosses.

Brobbel then saw his free-kick deflected narrowly over after Atangana was adjudged to have fouled Charlie Wyke on the edge of the box.

Awford made his final switch on 79 minutes as Andy Barcham replaced Agyemang to shore up the Blues midfield.

But Hartlepool came close to grabbing a winner seconds later when Wyke diverted Walker’s cross inches over the bar.

It was the hosts who made a late claim for victory, but Joe Devera blocked Brobbel’s effort to ensure a share of the spoils.

Woodman, Richards, Atkinson, Woods, Hawkins Subs not used:
Flinders; Duckworth, Bates (c), Harrison, Austin; Brobbel, Walker, Miller, Compton (Holden 45); Franks (Harewood 78), Wyke Hartlepool (4-4-2): 3,439 (501 Pompey fans)Attendance:

Mark Heywood Referee:

Poke, Webster, Ertl, Shorey Subs not used:
Wynter Booked:
Jones; Devera, Robinson, Whatmough; Wynter, Wallace, Dunne (Atangana 14), Hollands (c), Butler; Westcarr (Drennan 62), Agyemang (Barcham 79) Pompey (3-5-2):

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