6th February 2016

Town made the near 700-mile round trip to face Hartlepool United and returned home empty handed following a 2-1 defeat.

Second half goals from Billy Paynter and Adam Jackson before an injury time Francois Zoko header secured the three points for new Pools manager Craig Hignett. Town also had defender Nathan Smith dismissed for a tussle with Paynter.

Manager Darren Way made one change the starting eleven that drew with Luton Town ten days earlier. Ryan Bird replaced Harry Cornick following a spell on the sidelines with an illness. Captain Darren Ward returned to the bench after recovering from his knee injury and he was joined by fellow centre back Alex Lacey, who returned following a three game suspension after being sent off in the FA Cup replay against Carlisle United at Huish Park.

The home side, under new manager Craig Hignett came flying out the traps and almost opened the scoring after a matter of seconds. A cross from the left wing found its way to Luke James at the back post, but thankfully his effort skimmed the top of the cross bar and went out for a goal kick.

With Town growing more and more into the game they forced their first corner after 18 minutes, when Bird’s shot from distance was deflected over. From the resulting set piece, centre back Nathan Smith popped up at the back post to unleash a left-footed volley that left keeper rooted to the spot, only to see his effort come crashing back off the post.

Town were dealt a blow after 26 minutes when Jack Compton, who was returning to his former club was forced off with an injury, to be replaced by Cornick.

The Glovers nearly fell behind on 39 minutes when a free kick from the left was met at the back post by Paynter, but some how keeper Krysiak managed to tip his effort wide from point blank range.

At the start of the second half Town started the brighter of the two teams. A smart run on the left wing from Cornick saw Roberts find him with a neat pass, but the assistant raised his flag for offside.

Just moments later the home side forced a corner when Michael Woods’ shot was blocked, from the corner Town broke away quickly thanks to Cornick, just as the Bournemouth loanee looked to cross he was tackled, but the loose ball fell to Zoko, who curled the ball just wide of the upright.

Ten minutes into the second period the impressive Walsh nearly scored his second goal in green and white. A surging run from the centre circle saw space open up, but the midfielder’s shot went narrowly wide of the target.

The home side took the lead on 59 minutes when referee Wright pointed to the spot following a Sokolik foul on Thomas. The decision was a close call as the foul looked from the press box to have occurred outside the area. Paynter stepped up and despite Krysiak diving the right way made the score 1-0 to the hosts.

The home side doubled their lead with just under 20 minutes to go. A corner from the right was met at the back post by defrender Jackson, whose powerful header hit the underside of the bar and into the back of the net.

With just over ten minutes remaining Town were reduced to ten men when Smith was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident involving Paynter. Referee Mr Wright showed Smith a straight red and the Pools striker a yellow. Shortly after the incident the goal scorer was substituted to avoid him picking up another booking.

The fourth official signaled four minutes to be added on and with just two minutes of that remaining Town pulled a goal back. A great cross from the right wing from Cornick found Zoko at the back post, who headed home past Carson.