Bristol Rovers 4 Hartlepool United 1

Last updated : 02 May 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Hartlepool United avoided relegation despite losing 4-1 at mid-table Bristol Rovers.

Pools were two goals behind after only five minutes. They pulled one back but then incredibly gave a repeat performance at the start of the second half conceding four goals in all for the third time this season.

Other results went their way though and they survive in League One.

For 20 minutes they had little idea where they were as Jo Kuffour destroyed their defence with his mazy runs.

He thumped in the first goal after Jan Budtz failed to hold a shot from Chris Lines.

From the restart Rovers opened Pools up down the right flank where 20-year old local boy Charlie Reece had a lively debut.

The second goal came when top-scorer Rickie Lambert knocked a pass down to Darryl Duffy and he had time to pick his spot as he fired an accurate shot past the keeper.

Budtz then had to go full stretch to keep Kuffour out while Rovers centre-back Byron Anthony, up for a corner, saw a shot blocked after defenders had again been slow to react.

It was 25 minutes before Pools got in their first shot with Antony Sweeney driving a ball from Andy Monkhouse wide of the far post.

But they began to play with more confidence and it was the home defence which now suffered as they allowed Daniel Nardiello three bites of the cherry to pull back a goal.

First he pounced on a loose ball in the box to hit the bar, then saw his rebound shot blocked before confidently hitting his third attempt past Steve Phillips.

Giving away two quick goals at the start of the second half killed off any hopes of a visitors' fightback.

Lambert struck a left-footed shot from ten yards bringing him his 29th goal of the season and then underlined Rovers' superiority by setting up a rare goal for defender Aaron Lescott.