In a controversial afternoon for referee Carl Boyseon, Sheffield United beat Hartlepool at Victoria Park
Report from Victoria Park
Referee Carl Boyeson was the centre of attention as his dubious performance gifted promotion chasers Sheffield United a win at Hartlepool.
It was an even game from start to finish, with Pools matching their high-flying opponents in every department. While chances were at a premium during the first half, Andy Monkhouse’s came close with an effort which was blocked by former Hartlepool loanee Neill Collins.
The game was played at a good tempo and Pools started the second half in confident fashion. But the refereeing problems began when Peter Hartley was book for an admittedly cynical foul, even though referee Carl Boyeson had allowed an almost identical incident to go unpunished in the first half.
Richard Cresswell unleashed a wicked effort at the hour mark which went just wide of Scott Flinders’ post while a mistake from Flinders nearly cost Pools soon afterwards when his goal-kick went straight to substitute Michael O’Halloran, but the keeper recovered well to make a good save.
Ryan Noble had another lively game for Pools and was nearly rewarded with a goal when he smashed a long range effort towards goal, only a good save from Steve Simonsen denied the Sunderland loanee.
But the decisive moment in the game came when the visitors were awarded a penalty with ten minutes remaining. After waving away two separate calls for a penalty when Sheffield United players fell weakly in the box, O’Halloran fell down after a slight touch from Sam Collins in the area.
With the referee in a good position he initially ignored the incident, before changing his mind when the assistant flagged from his position some way from the tackle. After protests from the Hartlepool players, Ched Evans slotted home from the spot.
However, there was nothing wrong with Boyeson’s decision to dismiss Peter Hartley with five minutes remaining as the defender petulantly threw the ball away, leaving the referee no option but to dish out his second yellow card of the match.
Adam Boyd was introduced to the action and nearly grabbed an equaliser with his only contribution of game as a back-peddling Simonsen managed to tip his lob over the bar. Then at the death a great chance fell for Antony Sweeney, but the midfielder put his effort just wide of the goal.
FT: Hartlepool 0 Sheffield United 1
MOM: Evan Horwood
It was an excellent display from the Hartlepool-born defender, solid in the tackle against tough opposition, he also created several chances at the other end. A great performance.
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Sweeney, Murray (Boyd 81), Liddle, James (Brown 73), Noble, Monkhouse
Subs not used: Rafferty, Humphreys, Baldwin
Sheffield United: Simonsen, Lowton, Doyle, Evans, Williamson, Collins, Cresswell (O’Halloran 73), Maguire, McDonald, Quinn (Williams 90), Hill
Subs not used: Hoskins, Beattie, Howard