Article by Johnnie Lowery
Despite largely dominating the game, particularly the first half, Sutton could only come away with a point against Hartlepool United.
Nevertheless the result broke a run of three straight defeats and the performance was encouraging, other results also helping U’s in their playoff quest. Paul Doswell’s men had the lead inside the first 10 minutes, an excellent Aswad Thomas freekick headed in by Ross Lafayette, who caused Hartlepool’s two centre halves nightmares all game. Plenty of further chances followed with Kenny Davis and Tommy Wright seeing shots saved while it looked for all the world that Byron Harrison would tap home from 2 yards before Pools keeper Scott Loach got there first. Wright will have felt he should have done better with a header from a Nicky Bailey cross that was put over the bar from 8 yards out. However on 26 minutes the visitors got a goal from their first real attack, a ball into the box not dealt with allowing Josh Hawkes the chance to hammer home an equaliser. Sutton stayed constantly on the attack, Lafayette unlucky not to score after somehow bundling his way through but not quite being able to beat Loach who came out quickly. Though there were further chances for Harry Beautyman and Craig Eastmond the two sides went into the break level at 1-1.
The second half started as the first had ended, Sutton pressuring with Eastmond seeing a shot saved by Loach. However as time went on U’s tired and Hartlepool managed to get a grip in the game, occasionally threatening to go on and win the game themselves. Substitute Ross Stearn did provide a spark for United and he managed to work himself into shooting positions twice, though unable to find the target on either occasion. Nicky Bailey volleyed wide from the edge of the box as the game approached injury time but the best chance was still to come, a defensive error allowing Lafayette in right at the death but the finish was wayward and Pools hung on for a vital point in their battle against the drop.