A youthful Hartlepool United side earned a point against struggling Walsall this afternoon
With an injury hit squad, Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper was forced to hand a debut to youngster Lewis Hawkins at Walsall.
There was a further blow when captain Sam Collins was injured in the pre-match warm-up, his place was taken by Joshua Rowbotham, with Jack Baldwin filling in at centre back.
It was a game of few chances, with Pools unable to muster a shot on target until well into the second half. At the other end Pools’ defence looked strong with Jack Baldwin impressing in his first game at centre half.
A wide effort from Kevan Hurst and a couple of tame efforts from John Macken were the closest Walsall came to breaking the deadlock in the first period, with makeshift side looking comfortable against the Saddlers.
Into the second half and the home side continued to search for an opener, but it was the touchline that saw the most action with Neale Cooper and Micky Barron both arguing with the Walsall coaching staff.
Pools’ first chance of the game came when Antony Sweeney broke free but had his effort blocked, while at the other end a great ball from George Bowerman was unable to find a Walsall player in the area.
The home side looked most likely to grab the opener but Scott Flinders was in fine form to deny Will Grigg, with Pools holding on for a good away point.
FT: Walsall 0 Hartlepool 0
Hartlepool: Flinders, Austin, Baldwin, Hartley, Horwood, Rowbotham (Boyd 78), Murray, Hawkins (Brown 57), Monkhouse, Humphreys, Sweeney
Subs not used: Rafferty, Haslam, Richards
Walsall: Grof, Sdaler, Butler, Lancashire (Smith 23), Macken (Chambers 73), Hurst, Beevers, Nicholls, Bowerman (Grigg 65), Cuvelier, Mantom
Subs not used: Jones, Walker