Hartlepool United FC 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2

Goal - or no goal? While technology has been introduced to the Premier League to stop controversy when it comes to the ball crossing the line, it’s not there in the Football League

Colin Cooper with Craig Hignett
Colin Cooper with Craig Hignett

Goal - or no goal? While technology has been introduced to the Premier League to stop controversy when it comes to the ball crossing the line, it’s not there in the Football League.

And Hartlepool were left to rue the situation after being denied at the weekend. With the score goalless and Pool well on top against Wycombe. Nick Arnold turned the ball at goal from inside the six-yard box, and it was cleared.

But Steven Craig was stood behind the line when he knocked it away, referee Matt Heywood and his assistant reckoned it didn’t cross the line. TV footage appeared to show it did.

So Pool missed out on their big opportunity to get ahead. And then they started the second-half on the backfoot, conceded four minutes after the restart and, given their horrific run of results and form at home over the last few seasons, naturally fell to a familiar defeat.

Manager Colin Cooper, after a third successive Sky Bet League Two defeat at Victoria Park, said: “Is it unfair there’s no technology in place here and it’s frustrating if the referee has cost us the first goal because he hasn’t given a big decision in our favour then I’m not happy.

“He has to make split decisions, he has officials to help him and it’s in a flash. My players thought it was over, so did a couple of theirs. Again, I can sit here and be as disappointed as I want about that – I’m more disappointed in the way they scored.’’

Pool were on top in the opening half and, for them, getting first goal is so vital. They did it last week against Bradford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and rattled in four more on the back of it. Instead, when they concede confidence drains and they struggle to find a way back into the game. The Chairboys put Max Kretzschmar on at half-time and within four minutes he had fired his side in front.

By the time he made it two on 69 minutes, clipping past the advancing Scott Flinders from a swift counter-attack after Pool lost possession, it was already as good as game over.

“We have been down that scenario of going one-down. We still have to do the right things, start at a high tempo again and we didn’t do that,’’ said Cooper. “Second goal goes in and it’s here we go again.

“But then we increase the tempo, start putting chances in. After one goal it didn’t happen, after two goals you are up against it with 20 minutes to go but at least we had a go.’’

Pool did get one back – their first League goal this season – James Poole heading in, but there wasn’t enough time to chase another.

Cooper said: “You are very wary of stating you are happy at half-time, but there was only one team going to win it. But Wycombe got the kick-off and took the game to us from it.

“I wanted the tempo high but it was flat, the team, the ground. And then a punt upfield, knock down, shot and it goes in. Second goal, one bad pass, a bad decision to lunge at the ball – they didn’t do enough to win it, we helped them.”

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Duckworth, Burgess, Baldwin, Austin; Franks (Poole 64), Dolan, Walker (Walton 7), Compton (Howard 79); Monkhouse, James. Subs (not used): Rafferty (gk), Collins, Howard, Richards, Rodney. Goal: Poole 90 Booked: Baldwin, Poole, Dolan.

WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Ingram; McCoy, Doherty, Johnson, Hause; Arnold (Kretzschmar 46), Knott, Lewis, Wood; McClure (Kuffour 76), Craig (Stewart 86). Subs (not used): Harrison (gk), Spring, Fletcher. Goals: Kretzschmar 49, 69. Booked: Doherty, McClure

Referee: Matt Heywood (Leeds) Att: 3,640

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