Skip to main content


17:38 20th February 2010


Town manager Lee Clark had asked for the same grit, determination and quality that had earned his side a midweek win at Carlisle for this afternoon's tough trip to Hartlepool - and he got exactly that!

A penalty from Gary Roberts and another goal from the in-form Lee Novak (pictured) gave the Terriers a deserved three points at Victoria Park on this chilly February afternoon, with every player in the side impressing and making vital contributions as the unbeaten run was extended to nine in the League.

Town started the game kicking towards their own fans, who had packed out the Rink End at Victoria Park.

BOOKING - Hartlepool centre half Gary Liddle picked up what must be among the quickest bookings of the season after just 45 seconds of the start following a late challenge on Lee Peltier - the right back was flattened after picking up a loose ball inside the home half. 'Pelts' received extensive treatment from physio Dave Buckby on the pitch for the best part of three minutes before bravely continuing, with Anthony Pilkington stuffing the resulting free-kick into the defensive wall.

That early challenge was one of three very physical tackles that resulted in Town free-kicks within the opening seven minutes and from the final one, Rhodes headed a very presentable chance over the crossbar at the near post from Pilkington's pacey delivery.

The home side created their first opportunity of the game a minute later when tall winger Monkhouse headed Jones' right-sided corner towards goal at the near post, but Alex Smithies did well to dive through a crowd of players and push the ball to safety.

Town were back on the attack in the 10th minute, with Peltier showing no ill-effects from his early knock. The right-back picked up a pass from Pilkington on the overlap before swinging a cross towards the near post, where Rhodes sent a diving header rocketing just wide of the 'keeper's left-hand upright.

Hartlepool right winger Jones fizzed a low ball across the six yard box soon afterwards as the game continued in a very open manner.

Neal Trotman pulled off a superb diving block to deny Liddle a clear shot at goal in the 13th minute before striker Denis Behan produced a good near post save from Smithies after collecting a loose ball in the Town area.

With the ball at the other end of the pitch, Town were awarded a 14th minute penalty after 'keeper Scott Flinders tripped Jordan Rhodes. The Town striker out-battled defender Liddle to latch onto Lee Novak's flick-on and diverted the ball away from goal before being hauled down by the custodian, who was at full stretch on the floor.

GOAL - Up stepped Gary Roberts, ever reliable from the spot, to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and stroke the ball into the bottom right corner for his sixth goal of the current campaign.

BOOKING - RefereeTaylorupset the home fans even more a minute later by booking winger Monkhouse for raising an arm when challenging Lee Peltier for an aerial ball.

SUB - Lee Clark was forced into his first substitution after just 21 minutes when Peltier's earlier injury got the better of him - he was replaced by Tom Clarke at right-back.

Town were stroking the ball around nicely at this stage, with the midfield duo of Drinkwater and Kay carrying on where they left off at Carlisle earlier in the week.

Striker Behan hit a snapshot straight into the waiting arms of Smithies in the 25th minute after a long throw from Town old boy Sam Collins fell to him inside the area.

BOOKING - Dean Heffernan picked up his second yellow card of the season in the 32nd minute for a trip on winger Jones, but the booking was probably for an accumulation of small offences.

Roberts sent a looping deflected shot from 25 yards over the goalkeeper in the 36th minute after a poor pass from a Hartlepool player, but unfortunately for the travelling supporters the ball also dropped just over the crossbar.

A vital headed clearance from right-back Austin prevented Gary Roberts from heading in his second goal of the game at the back post in the 43rd minute after Rhodes had delivered a superb cross from the right flank.

BOOKING - Substitute Tom Clarke was booked in first half added time for a mistimed challenge on winger Monkhouse down the Town right.

There was still time for controversy late in the first half when referee Taylor denied Town was looked a certain second goal. Tom Clarke collided with Peter Hartley in the Town penalty area as the pair contested a corner delivered from the right and the Terriers immediately broke, flying up the pitch courtesy of strong running from Drinkwater and then Rhodes. The striker turned the ball across the area for Lee Novak to tap home, but just as the cross was delivered the official blew his whistle and summoned on the Pools physio as Hartley was flat out at the other end of the pitch. For the record, the home defender was soon on his feet again once the physio had seen to him.


The first shot of the second forty five minutes came from the lively Behan, but once again he sent a tame effort straight at Alex Smithies. Town were back in the ascendancy soon after, but Drinkwater spurned the opportunity to shoot at goal from a Roberts pull-back in the 49th minute and the Pools defence managed to clear to safety.

SUB - Hartlepool made their first change in the 54th minute, with Colin Larkin replacing Denis Behan in attack.

The Terriers were living up to their nickname, harassing their opponents whenever they were in possession and showing equal industry with the ball.

Antony Kay came to Town's rescue in the 59th minute with a superb goalline clearance. A right wing cross from midfielder Joe Gamble fell to striker Adam Boyd fifteen yards out and the striker wasted no time in sending a powerful volley towards goal; however, the Town midfielder showed great awareness to get back on the line and he headed the ball to safety.

For the first time in the game, the home side began to put Town under a sustained period of pressure around the hour mark. However, led by exemplary captain Peter Clarke the Town defence held firm.

A fantastic sliding block from centre back Liddle was the only thing that prevented Novak tapping home Roberts' low ball across the face of goal in the 65th minute.

GOAL - Town extended their lead in the 66th minute through Lee Novak's tenth goal of the campaign. The move started when Pilkington won a corner on the right side; although Roberts' initial delivery was cleared out of the area by a defender, the winger collected the loose ball and put in a perfect near post cross for the striker to cleverly flick a header over the goalkeeper's despairing dive and into the far corner. A defender tried to get back and clear, but either way big Neal Trotman was there to knock home the rebound!

SUB - Hartlepool made their second substation in the 70th minute, with striker Adam Boyd replaced by James Brown.

Novak fully deserved his goal - just like at Carlisle, the former Gateshead man had been one of Town's standout players thanks to his brilliant hold up play in the face of two robust centre halves.

Monkhouse's 72nd minute volley was easily gathered in by Smithies, prompting more chants of 'England's number one' from behind the goal!

Substitute Brown was immediately involved for the home side, latching onto a good pass around the corner of the Town defence by Jones; however, he blazed his shot well over the bar with the impressive Drinkwater tracking his run.

BOOKING - Hartlepool midfielder Joe Gamble was booked in the 75th minute for a late challenge on Gary Roberts as Town looked to attack.

Antony Kay went close to a third for Town two minutes later, picking up a good infield pass from Drinkwater before firing a low shot inches wide of the 'keeper's left-hand post.

SUB - Lee Clark introduced Nathan Eccleston to the game in the 78th minute - he replaced Gary Roberts on the wing.

Trotman was inches away from heading home Anthony Pilkington's brilliant right-sided free kick moments after the restart, but the ball narrowly evaded the big defender.

Home substitute Larkin wasted one of the home side's better opportunities on the afternoon with seven minutes left - he latched onto Brown's headed flick and stepped neatly inside Trotman, but blazed his shot from eighteen yards miles over the bar as he fell backwards.

SUB - Hartlepool made their final substitution in the 84th minute, bringing on Armann Bjornsson for Antony Sweeney.

Pilkington bent a free-kick just over Flinders' bar with three minutes of the game remaining after Rhodes had been felled by Liddle right on the edge of the Hartlepool box before Rhodes' pass that would have put Novak in on goal was well blocked by defender Collins.


Town's Team (4-4-2):

Alex Smithies; Dean Heffernan, Peter Clarke (c), Neal Trotman, Lee Peltier (Tom Clarke 21); Gary Roberts (Nathan Eccleston 78), Danny Drinkwater, Antony Kay, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes

Unused Subs: Simon Eastwood, Michael Collins, Nathan Clarke, Theo Robinson, Krystian Pearce

Town Bookings: Dean Heffernan (32), Tom Clarke (45)

Hartlepool Bookings: Gary Liddle (1), Andy Monkhouse (16), Joe Gamble (75)

Attendance: 4,452

Visitors: 964

    Data provided by Press Association


    Town was the first club to win three successive league titles in 1926. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have matched this feat.