Bury 1 Hartlepool United 0

Colin Cooper’s Hartlepool United failed to meet the standards the manager has come to expect when they were beaten by Bury last night

Hartlepool United's manager Colin Cooper
Hartlepool United's manager Colin Cooper

Former Hartlepool United loan man Danny Nardiello struck to prevent his former club from closing the gap on the League Two play-off zone.

Nardiello, who scored three goals in eight starts for Pools during a five-month stint in 2009, stroked in the only goal of the game at Gigg Lane to give struggling Bury the points.

The Shakers had not claimed a win on home soil since August but they were deserving of the victory against Colin Cooper’s side, who looked short of the standard the manager has come to expect. Things may have been different had referee Mark Heywood awarded a penalty to Hartlepool in the first half when James Poole was brought down in the box by Shaun Beeley.

But Pools only had two shots on target all night, one a harmless flick from Jonathan Franks, and Bury had more of the ball even after Nardiello’s opener.

Bury had two excellent opportunities before Hartlepool had even threatened the experienced frame of Brian Jensen in the home goal.

Former Victoria Park favourite Tommy Miller went close with a header from Chris Sedgwick’s corner which was gathered in the top corner by Scott Flinders.

Then Flinders just had to stand his ground and hold an awful attempt at a lob from the much-travelled Nardiello when the front-man ran clean through on goal. But every time Hartlepool did look to break at pace, the Bury backline looked in danger. On one of those occasions, a free-kick was earned on the edge of the box and Simon Walton curled in to the arms of Jensen.

Hartlepool had a decent shout for a penalty waved away when Poole looked to have got the better of full-back Beeley as the visitors gradually gained a foothold on things.

And the away bench were even more incensed when referee Heywood failed to blow his whistle when Luke James was pulled down when his energy got the better of centre-back William Edjenguele.

Heywood was given a mouthful by the Hartlepool substitutes as they walked off the pitch and things got worse moments after half-time.

Bury’s first attack down the right after the restart led to a throw-in. The ball worked its way to Nardiello, who was allowed too much space to curl a left-foot shot through a crowded area and inside Flinders’ far post.

That should have spurred Hartlepool in to action. Instead it gave Bury the lift to take control and the majority of the second half was spent in the visitors half even if Flinders was rarely tested.

Despite almost grabbing an equaliser late on when James was denied by a goalline clearance from Dean Howell, Hartlepool suffered a second consecutive away day defeat.

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