19:59 Saturday 21 December 2013

VIDEO: Hartlepool United 1, Burton Albion 1


BURTON Albion had to settle for a draw after being pegged back by Hartlepool United in an entertaining game at Victoria Park.

Phil Edwards scored his second of the season with a well taken volley early in the first half, but the Brewers were made to rue a series of missed chances when Bradley Walker thumped home an equaliser midway through the second period.

Gary Rowett made three changes from the side who beat Fleetwood Town 10, with Alex MacDonald and Lee Bell missing out through illness and a hamstring injury, while Rene Howe dropped to a bench which included Hartlepool born Adam Reed.

In came Jimmy Phillips, Matty Palmer and Adam McGurk.

McGurk tried his luck early with a shot from distance that Scott Flinders saved comfortably.

Albion forced two corners in the first 10 minutes, with Ian Sharps and then Shane Cansdell Sherriff heading over.

Damien McCrory cleared off the line at the other end, but most of the pressure was from Burton, and they took the lead in the 17th minute.

Youngsters Palmer and Luke James, both products of their respective club's academys, were tussling for the ball on the right wing. Hartlepool were furious that no foul was given as Palmer got the ball to Weir, who chipped in for a marausing Edwards, and the right back took the ball down on his chest, taking defender Christian Burgess out of the equation, and volleyed through Flinders' legs.

The visitors should have had a second soon after, when Palmer and Hussey exchanged passes, and the former attempted to beat Flinders at his far post but shot wide, with McGurk lurking.

Edwards was then the hero at the other end as he cleared Andy Monkhouse's awkward shot off the line with a diving header.

James Poole's scissor kick and an improvised volley from Luke James tested Dean Lyness, while just before the break, the Albion keeper held another shot from Poole, before watching Jack Compton's strike fly over his bar.

There was a change at the break, with McCrory replaced by Zander Diamond, who went to rightback, while Edwards switched to the left.

It had been an entertaining first period, and the second started just as promisingly as McGurk got free and was only denied by a fine tackle, before Lyness and Cansdell Sherriff blocked successive shots from James and Poole.

Billy Kee then had two great chances to increase Burton's lead. First he nodded the ball past Jack Baldwin, collected his own nod on before Flinders could get there, and looped a shot over the keeper that looked to be dropping in, but landed on the roof of the net.

He was then denied by Flinders moments later, before firing the rebound wide.

Hartlepool then thought they had equalised when Monkhouse's shot was spilled by Lyness, and Diamond cleared off the line, although the hosts thought it had gone in.

They levelled soon after though, as Walker strode onto a clearance from Sharps and powered home a volley from 20 yards.

Albion brought Howe on to give them a presence up front, and another forgotten man, Adam Reed, also came on to make his first appearance in three and a half months against his hometown club.

That move seemed to signal Albion were happy to take a point back down the M1, and that was probably a deserved one after an improved second half from their hosts.

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