By Charlie Summerbell
April 1 2012
Losing at home is nothing new to Hartlepool United this season, but the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sheffield United is harder to take than most because Pools played well enough to deserve a better result.
On too many occasions this season, they have been awful at Victoria Park and have fully deserved to lose.
But this time they gave a far better side than many others which have won at the Vic a real run for their money and were unlucky not to get at least a point.
Ched Evans’s umpteenth goal of the season, a late penalty after a foul by Sam Collins, was the difference between the teams, though Pools weren’t helped by the stupid double-yellow sending-off of Peter Hartley – being booked for dissent when you’re already on a yellow is not a good idea.
Hartley had had a header cleared off the line, and both sub Adam Boyd and Antony Sweeney went very close after the goal.
Collins insisted after the game that it was never a penalty and boss Neale Cooper added: “That was harsh on us.”
He told the club website: “I thought both lads just fell over and the linesman gave it rather than the ref.
“But I have just thanked the players for the efforts they put in, because I thought they were brilliant today.
“We were up against a team going for automatic promotion, but we created more chances than they did, we competed and we matched them all over the park. It’s just so frustrating that we didn’t get anything.”
Visiting former Pools boss Danny Wilson admitted it wasn’t easy and added: “What we needed today was a result, and in a very tight game we got it.”
He added: "I think that's arguably the worst pitch I've seen in a long time at Hartlepool and to try to play football at times was difficult."
Pools begin their last half-dozen games of the season at Colchester on Good Friday, when Hartley will be suspended. But having won more away games than all but the teams in the frame for automatic promotion there’s no reason why they can’t get a result there.